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C A R TA A O E D I T O R

MÉZIÈRES ’ METHOD AND MUSCULAR CHAINS’


THEORY: F R O M P O S T U R A L R E - E D U C AT I O N ’ S
PHYSIOTHERAPY TO ANTI-FITNESS CONCEPT

Luís Coelho*

Dear Editor, – the Mézières’ method – concentrated in the “glo-


I will try to resume, using a few words, the theo- bal stretching postures of the contracted muscular
retical data of a complete method, with so many chains”, using a treatment tripe: deslordosis, des-
importance, from those icon of “medical gymnas- rotation and diaphragmatic liberation.
tique”, called Françoise Mézières (1909-1991). I So, the Mézières’ concept defines postural defor-
consider the “Letter to the Editor” as a mean of ex- mities as “muscular excess” of tonic musculature –
posing the basis of a method that is not scientifi- principally posterior musculature – describing lor-
cally granted (and that means that it has to be con- dosis as the primary cause of all deformities 6.
sidered as a theoretical paradigm, like was formu- Mézières defined an amount of laws in her book
lated by the Thomas Kuhn and Michel Foucault “Originalité de la méthode Mézières”7 (1st: “Les
epistemological models). nombreux muscles postérieurs se comportent
The comprehension of the Mézières’ method in comme un seul et même muscle”; 2nd: “Les muscles
its truly theoretical and methodological amplitude, des chaînes sont trop toniques et trop courts”; 3rd:
implies the comprehension of some rheumatolo- “Toute action localisée, aussi bien élongation que
gical pathologies as a result of postural deformi- raccourcissement, provoque instantanément le
ties. Specially, degenerative pathologies, like osteo- raccourcissement de l’ensemble du système”;
arthritis, are related with postural structure. 4th: “Toute opposition à ce raccourcissement pro-
This same “postural structure” has been “worked voque instantanément des latérofléxions et des
out” using antiques gymnastique methods that are rotations du rachis et des membres”; 5th: “La rota-
based in a “strengthening” model. Françoise Méziè- tion des membres due à l’hypertonie des chaînes
res resumed that kind of gymnastique, like Yoga or s’effectue toujours en dedans”; 6th: “Toute élonga-
Pilates, in her book called “La gymnastique sta- tion, détorsion, douleur, tout effort implique ins-
tique”1. In the same year (1947), Mézières has rea- tantanément le blocage respiratoire en inspira-
lized the “observation” that caused a revolution in tion”) that were important to define revolutionary
the manner of dealing with some rheumatological methodologies of treatment and a novel concept
diseases. That “observation” resulted in this conclu- with implications to the physical therapy’s world
sion: the body, in a miofascial sense, compounds a and sports’ world, which was understood by Ber-
global behaviour – called “muscular compensa- therat8 and remembered by «Postural Reconstruc-
tions” – mediated by the existence of global mus- tion»’s Nisand9.
cular groups of tonic nature, the “muscular chains”. In a physical therapy’s and sports’ world that is
These “chains”, that were reinvented by a lot of so obsessively stuck to treatment’s methodologies
others authors (like Godelieve Denys-Struyf2, Leo- based in the “strengthening model” of the “weak
pold Busquet3 or Souchard4 from the Global Postu- muscles”, the Mézières’ concept implies a radical
ral Re-education), would explain the body design, modification in the therapies’ methods. These
in a “statical posture” conception5, based in the should give value to the relaxation, the tonic inhi-
scientifical division of the muscular system be- bition and the global and progressive stretching of
tween dynamic and static/tonic muscles, and it the muscular regions with imbalance. Moreover,
would create a morphoanalysis’ model of treatment such methodological implications oblige to a serio-
us revision of the System’s operation. A new model
of Fitness and “Workout” is needed. In this con-
*Licenciado em Fisioterapia, Consultório e Clínica de cept, it is considered the creation of the anti-fit-
Reabilitação, Lda. – Lisboa ness concept10.

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LUÍS COELHO

Correspondence to 5. Bienfait M. Os desequilíbrios estáticos: fisiologia, pa-


Luís Coelho tologia e tratamento fisioterápico. São Paulo: Sum-
Rua Actor Vale 10, r/c Esq. mus editora, 1995.
1900-025 Lisboa 6. Mézières F. La révolution en gymnastique orthopédi-
E-mail: coelholewis@hotmail.com que. Paris: Vuibert, 1949.
7. Mézières F. Originalité de la méthode Mézières. Paris:
References Maloine, 1984.
1. Mézières F. La gymnastique statique. Paris: Vuibert, 8. Bertherat T. Le corps a ses raisons. Paris: Éditions du
1947. Seuil, 1976.
2. Denys-Struyf G. Les chaînes musculaires et articulai- 9. Nisand M. La méthode Mézières: un concept révolu-
res. SBO & RTM, 1978. tionnaire. Paris: Éditions Josette Lyon, 2006.
3. Busquet L. Les chaînes musculaires. Kine Plus 10. Coelho L. O anti-fitness ou o manifesto anti-despor-
1996;57:19-25. tivo. Introdução ao conceito de reeducação postural.
4. Souchard Ph-E. Le champs clos. Paris: Maloine, 1981. Quinta do Conde: Editora Contra Margem, 2008.

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