The Mézières Method is a revolutionary orthopaedic method, discovered in 1947 by Françoise Mézières. She is the one that saw everything, understood everything and, with patience,polished up her method to make it a marvellous and so effective tool which has transformed our life as Therapist and the lives of innumerable patients cured...
It can be said that the Mézières Method is designed to find out in the general imbalance of our whole musculature the contracted or shrunken muscles, to work those muscles in their pathological expressions with a view to relaxing their tensions and restoring their initial lengths so that the body regains its harmonious form.
Actually, the application of this method goes far beyond its orthopaedic indications and physiotherapy. It can be said that the Mézières Method , however different from all the other methods, is structural osteopathy - There is an "absolute" complementarity between the Mézières Method and Osteopathy.
Same approach to Patient (bones, viscera, fasciae, muscles)
(1) Motion is life, all the anatomical structures are in motion, the ones in connection with the others
(2) Structure determines Function
(3) Homeostasis which is the capability of the system to find equlibrium and repair itself
The principles of the method are simple and logical. The implementation of a Mézières treatment is much harder to achieve!
A Mézières treatment demands great precision and requires from the therapist a rigorous and minute observation of the whole body in its most different adaptive behaviours.
To function correctly, the body must be harmonious, balanced, symetrical like it was initially designed by nature. Each anatomical element must be free from its own movements and in the movements linked to the general dynamics. Any lesion, at whatever level, will affect the whole body. The latter must meet the canons of beauty conceptualized by the the ancient Greeks as being the Golden Number and embodied by Apollo who is its most perfect materialisation. In a harmoniously built body, everything is necessarily bound to function well!
It is a harmonious form that determines a harmonious function. Function is regained thanks to the form and not the other way round!!
How can one imagine correct breathing with a distorted thorax ?
Our dyscrasia disrupt our functions and are the cause of more than a disease. A diaphragm blocked during inspiration will for example have a disruptive influence at heart level(angina pectoris) . How many false but later turned true heart-sufferers have fallen victim to a thorax distorted and blocked during inspiration?
Those dyscrasia, those adaption asymmetries are the consequence of muscular tensions or shrinkages which will break the functional balance between the different muscles as regards dynamics and statics … and determine disrupted links between the bones, the articular surfaces, disrupt arterial, venous circulation, compress nervous roots etc. Looking at a patient is sometimes enough to know about the lesions and the tricks he/she uses automatically and unconsciously to avoid pain by taking an antalgic position,being itself at the base of many an illnesses …
At knee level for example, excessive influence of femur in inward rotation accompanied by an excessive influence of tibia in outward rotation, plus adaption of fibula pulled and displaced upwards caused, for example, by a problem of pelvis(ilia - sacrum), cervical vertebrae, shoulder, ankle bone, etc…
In restoring the balance of all the tensions, with a Mézières work, the problems at knee level disappear (patellar syndromes, meniscus problems, lesions of upper end of fibula fixing a tibio-tarsian instability, etc …
b) Adaption mechanism of the musculature
Muscles are mono/polyarticulars arching over one or more articulations. The polyarticulars having many physiologies can adapt easily in case of disruptions, in a physiology by using the other remaining physiologies more intensively, by appealing to help and cooperation of other mono or polyarticular muscles in a mechanism of muscular chains, the ones functioning with the others synergetically .
For example : the semi-membraneous and semi-tendinous, which, if too short, will increase among other things their adduction movements, of internal rotation and flexion, causing even in case of extreme shrinkage a knee recurvature, which is not a laxity, as many people may think … Mono-articular muscles , on the contrary, having no physiology to sustain a situation will be painful more quickly than the polyarticulars.
In addition to that limitation of physiology, the mono-articulars are often situated at junctions called chagrin (e.g.some occipital muscles, some pelvi-trochanterian muscles , the popliteal muscle, etc…) They will have to sustain directly, in their only physiology, the wrong positions of segments strained by important imbalances. They will be easily painful.
The pain is often very far from the place it originates, The cause of the pain and its symptoms shouldn't be confused !! (Problems of cervical pains attributable for example to'an astragalo-calcanean instability)
Hence the absolute obligation of a global treatment and its segmentation. The whole body must be treated in all its components at the same time !
c) Origine of those adaption mechanisms
Our body is organised in such a way that it is not built to sustain the pain. To that purpose, it organises very different adaptive behaviours, either physiologically or statistically. It must retain important dominance such as the standing position and the horizontality of the sight (internal ear balance)
Antalgic reflex à posteriori - Conscious, after trauma, such as a fall or a blow. Our body adopts a less painful position and then "adapts" to the new situation.
Antalgic reflex à priori - Without the knowledge of our conscience, even before pain appears, which the body wants to avoid by adopting a new painless static position.
Visceral origin - Relation between skin (dermatome), viscera (viscerotomes) and muscles (myotomes). For example, cardiac, renal, ovarian problems, etc. will always result in tensions, and with the help of chronicity, shrinkages of the corresponding musculature (see chart of correspondance between viscera and myotomes), the whole accompanied by different multiple pains.
"Psy" Problem : The body posture is always closely linked to "psy" problems . Replacing that body posture by a new static posture will definitely act positively or negatively on the mental behaviour of the Patient.
Sensory problems : Someone with a poor sight, someone with poor hearing will always have a disrupted body pattern and static , imbalanced muscular tensions , important muscular shrinkages.
The list is not exhaustive...
On top of the pathological mechanisms of our distortions another non pathological mechanism of distortions must be added-characteristic adaptations to the'"Homo Erectus" which is THE STANDING POSITION.
The standing position makes us shrink owing to gravity, but mainly to the shrinking action of our musculature, which, having a lower fixed point, drags us continuouly downwards. In addition to this, the adaption of masses (head, thorax, pelvis, knee, etc…) to get a more comfortable, less tiring and more economical balance in which the musculature only intervenes to restore the balance when the centre of gravity tends to come out of the sustentation polygon . Consequently our muscles contract continuously in shrinking position. The length advantage will never return. We keep shrinking and twisting more and more.
The Mézières Method is the only method capable of fighting those mechanisms efficiently and make them disappear for ever !
The difficulty will be, starting from the multiple dyscrasia and pains of the patient, to go back along the different adaptations in reverse, and correct them bit by bit, towards the primary lesion which is the origin of the patient's condition.
In most cases, the primary lesions vanish while the different secondary adaptations set in with even more serious consequences than those caused by the initial lesions.
Consequences which, in their turn, can turn into new primary lesions and so on… The Mézièriste actually becomes a detective therapist !
Process of a Mézières treatment.
- Relaxing the muscular tensions
- Retrieve their initial length from the shrunken muscles.
- By placing the patient in global stretching postures , by exerting a continuous and simultaneous traction at the ends of the muscular chains and by preventing as much as possible the compensations - adaptations also called tricks.
These global postures must be maintained with great rigour and for quite a long time (unlike stretching!) and associated with a work of expiration which fights lordosis and stretches the diaphragm, which is also an important muscle of the static.
This work of expiration is also an additional and powerful means to intensify the stretching of the different shrunken muscular chains.
Prescribed by a doctor (g.p. or specialist)
- From 45' to 60', the duration of a session is irrespective of the age of the Patient.
- This session will depend actually on the Patient's condition at the time of treatment.
- Each session is totally "tailored" to the Patient.
- Once a week, without home exercises with the exception of rather infrequent cases.
- Over 60' would even be ideal.
SEE the Patient's dyscrasia and imbalances
LISTEN TO the Patient's experience (his/her conscious and unconscious experiences )
PALPATE the tissues to feel the regions of great tensions, uncover the hidden pains , known or unknown to the Patient, sometimes situated far from the symptoms.
The Mézières treatment.
Only means to uncover the causes of pain , only means to treat them efficiently and durably.
A Mézières treatment will be multi-purpose, it will be :
(a) Therapeutic It is the Patient that comes to the surgery when the pain appears, the therapeutic aim is obvious.
(b) Maintenance a few occasional sessions are currently enough to retain and consolidate the results already achieved previously, thus preventing "relapses".
(c) or Preventive Act before the predictable symptoms break out. A few sessions taken in time are sometimes enough to avoid the appearance of a problem.
INDICATIONS : All the indications of Physiotherapy - linked to the painful disorders of orthopaedic , traumatic muscular, rheumatic, neurological or neuralgic origin… The imbalances of the autonomic functions such as some cardiac, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, gynecological disorders etc…
CONTRAINDICATIONS : The lack of cooperation from the Patient. Severe, inflammatory or infectious states. Psyche disorders (depression for example).
Pleasant - general well-being - feeling of lightness and self growth -Sometimes a relief even after the base session.
Unpleasant - hunger - cold - fatigue -tingling sensation at the ends of the limbs - tremors - round the clock stiffness. Laughters - tears that will dry up gradually and quickly.
All those tensions are a good signal and express liberations of muscular and psychic tensions with reflex effects on the autonomic system and consequently also on the circulatory system. These reflex effects are of the same nature as those triggered by the reflex massage of the conjunctival membrane(segment-therapy).
Anyone who is looking for a quality treatment for themselves.
It is not about treating a disease in general but it goes about treating the "personal " and unique case of every patient.
Young patients between 7 and 8 years of age if their understanding is fair.
Old age patients (even the over 80's) with exceptional results regarding rheumatic pains, neuralgia, back aches, articulary stiffness, osteoarthritis, etc.
Eventually, those who have taken numerous therapies without having been really relieved and who have lost all hope to be eventually relieved. They will often be the best ambassadors of the Mézières Method.
The Mézières Method is in total opposition with the way to approach and treat the patient in the so-called classical physiotherapy.
Some therapies are complementary to the method and have an identical holistic approach of the patient, i.e. global and individualised like for example: homeopathy, osteopathy, manual therapies, acupuncture, reflex techniques , relaxation, bioenergy, psychotherapy, massage, etc ...
The refunds of treatments by the Health System in the different states of the European Union are at present still inadequate with the types of treatment required by the Mézières session with, as a consequence, the difficulty for the physiotherapist to practice in the present legal and financial context .
A Mézières session takes twice as much time as a normal session! Charging 2 sessions instead of one is forbidden. Our patients are also penalised by that situation. The present nomenclature depends arbitrarily and strictly on the different parts of the body.
Claims of the Mézièristes physiotherapists
Modify the present nomenclature by a more suitable one, which will soon be the case in Switzerland...! a small country which often gives us the example to be followed ! Creation of a sector of free fees.