Shouldn’t All Ribs Float?

10462353_750075925030260_2527428782841193006_nEach rib has toward its “head”” a triangle of synovial joints – with attachments to the bodies of the vertebrae above, below and to the transverse process of the one below.

The triangle is one of the most stable as well as most flexible structures in nature. It is no accident that nature chose the triangle for both the stability and movement that ribs need to manifest. I think of these triangular attachments like little elbows that can flex, extend and gracefully rotate this way and that.

Ribs 11 and 12 are called floating because their anterior ends don’t have skeletal attachments. And their floating seems particularly relevant and poetic because their inner margins are a site for attachment of the ever-floating diaphragm moving on the wings of breath. As it comes more to the front, the diaphragm also attaches to the 10th through 6th ribs and the xiphoid process.

But truly all ribs are floating. We are mostly water and so the ribs float around all the internal organs, perpetually moving to the rhythms of breath and heartbeat

Most therapists don’t spend enough time with the ribs and their connections. The floating of the ribs is intimately connected with the sense of internal buoyancy that we need for vitality in our lives.

So please give more kindly attention in your work to the floating ribs, knowing that’s a capacity they all have and need!

~ art from