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 July 2001

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The Second in a short series of articles by Phil Young and Morag Campbell


Physical: Injury/Trauma/Posture

Common physical problems in the shoulders come about as a result of  bad lifting practices, over exercising/sporting injuries and poor posture.

Check alignment of the head in relation to the shoulder. Ears should be in line with shoulders when viewed from the side. If the head is carried too far forward then strain is imposed on the trapezius muscle as it ‘shoulders’ the entire weight of the head. This posture leads to a chronic imbalance between the anterior and posterior muscles of the neck and torso. Consider also if the shoulders are rounded forward in a heart protecting posture or held up as if the person has a coat hanger beneath his/her clothing. This built-in startle reflex can get structured into the body in individuals who grow up in a threatening or loud environment where they are frightened most the time or where they were waiting for a blow to the head to occur for instance ( a good clip around the ear never hurt anyone – did it?). This posture leads to a chronic shortening of the trapezius muscle. The shoulders may also be un-naturally held back in the classic military posture lifting the ribcage into a chronically held state of inhalation.

Consider arthritic conditions (acid/alkali balance in the diet, bodyweight, wear and tear)

Archetypal (simple) energetic:

Air astrological triad v, air chakra, and disturbances in air oval 

v(look for air energy blocks – breathing patterns and general mobility of the rib cage, Kidney problems or back pain and lack of flexibility in the ankles). 

Is it at a Chronic – Acute stage.


The emotion associated with the air element, of which the shoulders are the positive pole of the astrological triad, is greed. A person with a mobile, open, relaxed ribcage is able to be in touch with their heart feelings and is able to relate to others with compassion. Often the chest is collapsed, conveying a personality that never got its wants met, the shoulders clamp down in a posture of defeat and the breathing is severely impeded so that general vitality suffers as a consequence. The shoulders held in this posture also add to feelings of inadequacy and defeat. Dr Stone referred to the scapulae as the “wings of life” so keeping them clamped to the ribcage ensures that life is never lived to the full and in deed is perceived as a struggle.  

Shoulders pulled back form a protective function for the ribs and heart. This posture also conveys a mistrust of life as the person is always waiting for the “knife in the back”.  Closing the back off in this way however over exposes the front of the chest and the person still has feelings of vulnerability. 

Feeling over- burdened or ‘shouldering responsibility’ can start with tension and pain in the shoulder area but living in a state of continual anxiety and stress can eventually affect the kidneys, the neutral pole of the astrological triad for air, and can lead to eventual adrenal failure when taken to extreme. 

Complex energetic:

Consider the relationship between air and water elements as both are negatively charged and have a profound influence on each other. Both elements are present in the chest or air oval, Air as respiration and movement (pumping of heart and breathing) and water as emotion and mucus. 

The Pentamirus Combinations of Air 

Physical tissues

Air – Earth    -          Contraction
Air – Air        -          Speed
Air – Water    -         Slow movement
Air – Fire       -         Shaking
Air – Ether     -         Lengthening 

Look for any disturbance in the shoulders governed by these elemental interactions to see which of the other four elements are perhaps disturbing or unbalancing the air element. Particularly the earth and ether combinations. 


Trusting that God will supply our needs and that we live only by his/her grace. 


  • Balancing the energy in the air chakra
  • Polarizing the air oval
  • Working the three poles of the astrological triad of air – shoulders, kidneys, ankles

Other elemental work -

Ether – Consider expression of wants and needs and free the shoulder girdle to create more space between scapula and rib cage. Brachial plexus release. 

Air – work with the breath to increase respiration and mobilize the shoulder girdle with brachial plexus work and trapezius release. Release the diaphragm as contraction here will pull down on the shoulder girdle. Also work on the thoracic inlet to ease off the trapezius muscle. 

Fire – Pain in the shoulder girdle is often as a result of poor digestion. Digestive reflexes from the liver and stomach are often carried up into the shoulders through the five pointed star. Work the five pointed star and fire of digestion treatment. Free sore points on the scapula and balance with the buttocks (sympathetic nervous system reflexes). 

Water – Five pointed star work will bring up emotions for expression and emotional clearing.  
Try perineal work to free shoulders and trapezius in unresponsive cases.

Earth – Consider structural work on the pelvis and spine to give support to the shoulders. Often feelings of being over burdened come as a result of poor support from the lower body and the burden is carried on the shoulders alone. The body no longer works as a team. 
Feet and hand reflexes to the shoulders. Often shoulder condition result in a contraction of the arm and hand muscles – grasping. 

  • Purifying diet – especially if arthritic condition is suspected.  Change acid/alkali balance .
  • Breathing exercises.
  • The Cliffhanger.
  • Pierre’s Ha breath.


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