In our clinic, we see people most commonly due to urgent pain issues, excessive stress and tension built up in the body. Almost all massage requests arise from a desire for the client’s need to “relax,” but what are the deeper issues that cause tension and pain to exist and remain in the body?
Our bodies are miracles in motion, designed to be adaptable to the constant changes of our environment. One of the body’s successful adaptations is in the form of patterning, or habits. When our nervous system experiences repeated stimuli, it will begin to create a consistent channel, or pattern, so it doesn’t need to expend as much energy the next time it experiences the same or very similar stimulation.
This is an extraordinarily useful tool of our nervous system which allows us to learn and automate all kind of behaviors, like driving a car, reading language, and walking. Once learned, we no longer fumble through all the brand-new muscle-adaptations that we need to develop when first learning these skills.
Problems arises when these patterns are embedded along with the minor adjustments the body makes for our unique experience in the moment, which the nervous system then applies every time that same or similar pattern is experienced. A great example is when a fighter is learning how to execute a kick. If that person has a tight hamstring in their left leg, their body will automatically adjust their weight distribution so the kick can be executed as close as possible to perfect, without further straining the tight hamstring.
The same invisible and unconscious process happens every single time we take a step!
In one of our recent Instagram posts, Bryan breaks down the proper alignment for the leg in a walking gait. The second toe should align directly below the patella ligament, which extends from the base of the patella, all the way up to the insertion of the hip flexor into the hip crease. A skillful technician like Bryan can easily spot this imbalance by observing someone walking. To an average person, these adjustments can be imperceptible. We may not realize at all that our gait is imbalanced! We know that when we need to walk, our body goes, and that’s enough! It gets the job done.
The danger is that over time, the body will continue to create compensations and micro-adjustments which can cause pain elsewhere in the body, such as in the low back. With the low back in pain, the nervous system will again create an adjustment, which throws the upper back and shoulder out of healthy alignment. In 2018, around 73% of American adults took oral painkillers to cope with their back and neck pain. Has it ever occurred to you that your back pain may be related to the alignment of your lower body while walking?
Regular bodywork, including Asian Bodywork, relaxation massage and cupping, combined with healthful movement activities such as the Oiling the Tinman series which Bryan teaches to his clients, can set to right these imbalances. Whether your stress is mild, moderate or severe, you deserve to have a free and healthy movement in your walking stride, and in your life! Come see us at Big Sun Massage and Bodywork to put your best foot forward toward improving your balance, your stride and your overall well-being. We look forward to seeing you in clinic!