Bodymind Re-viewed

This was going to be titled: The body reflects your subconscious mind.

After a recorded interview with Candace Pert, Titled: Your body is your subconscious mind. Out of respect and to avoid confusion, I decided to go with a different title altogether.

When working with people, I often give examples of the feedback loops in the bodymind, or if you prefer, the embodied mind. Body language points directly to the relationship, A change in facial expression, limb position, shielding of the torso, each may indicate the turbulence of the conscious or subconscious mind.

I tend to think in terms of posturing, rather than posture, emphasizing the dynamic. Typically we have our favorite postures, they get repeated more often than others. Deepening patterns and limiting options.

One way to think about it is that we have our typical range of emotional experience, we’re not talking about every emotional experience. But our particular pattern of emotional experience. These may be likened to our own emotional weather pattern, our subjective microclimate. As with weather patterns, some are more severe, and each creates particular challenges to the infrastructure.

Thoughts and emotions are affecting neurotransmitter activity and this activity is reflected back to the thoughts and emotions to ensure our comfort level is maintained. There is an interplay between the emotions, neurotransmitters and hormonal activity, these affect gene activation and regulation. Ensuring these softer, relatively abstract parts, are solidified in the whole.

In one sense, a hierarchy of sorts can’t be denied. Though, as a rule, top-down, myopic perspectives tend to fall short. Peering in the 2nd-floor bedroom window may make one a peeper, or the painter. But it doesn’t make one an expert at interior design.

The various connections in the bodymind are two-way streets. How we move and feel in our bodies has a significant effect on both our mental and emotional states.  

In modern life, it’s easy to underutilize our movement potential. Sit, stand, lie, walk, maybe jog or bike. Aside from getting into or out of the lying position, all of the other movements emphasize one plane of motion.

Moving in underutilized patterns, side to side, rotation, backward, and movements where the limbs cross the midline add to your movement repertoire, as well as your neural feedback, adding a dimension to one’s mental and emotional perspectives.

Some of the postural patterns may remain virtually unscathed, as they don’t originate from weak muscles or poor alignment. These holdouts are likely protective in nature. The question will be.  Is it protection in the anatomic body, or it’s mental and emotional characteristics?        

Said another way. Is it the body, or the elements of embodiment that are being protected?

Posted in Uncategorized

Holism by any other name

zhang-kaiyv-440381Systems theory, biosocial model, gestalt. Different names for the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Nice words, but seeing connections, followed by the ability to do something with them, is a skill.

Generally, therapeutic concepts should be related to, across fields. Delineations are useful for learning. But, the assumption that connections will be made when enough parts are selected. Often falls short.

Concepts of self-protection, pain, discomfort, body language, posture, and movement. Maybe related to, from physical, emotional or mental perspectives. Seeing and working with these relationships will amplify the results your clients attain.

Elevating communication; how and what the therapist says in important. As is how the client speaks. Of course, listening is important. In the beginning, more so from the practitioner. The client often desires to be heard first. Whether or not they feel heard, influences, how much they’ll accept and from what perspective they’ll listen.

We’re modeling, problem-solving, setting a high standard for therapeutic interaction and beyond. Coaching what’s possible, helping them envision where they’re trying to go, and the progressions that will enable them to get there.

When we protect ourselves, we set up defense mechanisms in the related realm of operation. For example, mental arguments, emotional reactions, physical posturing, or compensatory movement patterns. A strong emotional reaction is seen in the body language if the person is currently stuck in their emotional experience. Elements of their body language/posturing become habituated. These will likely how they feel and how they move.

With thoughtful intervention, we help them move beyond these restrictions. Unresolved issues may impede optimal expression in the related realm of operation. Using skillful language, touch, and movement, often helps people move through barriers more quickly than they’d imagined possible.

Effective treatment will involve pattern recognition, negotiating with the protective mechanism, and developing a better strategy. Followed by movements, thinking, and imagery that will continue to empower the person

What do all of these have in common? The information that they generate is processed in the nervous system.

Except for the mental elements, the majority of these self-knitted safety nets, are constructed subconsciously. And for most, when one feels the need to protect oneself, thinking too, will resort to the tried and true. Their reactive nature is part of what makes them effective as defense mechanisms.

So, there is a two-way flow of information. This is why touch and movement are incredibly effective therapeutic strategies. Touch relays to areas of the brain that process emotion. Movement signals the kinesthetic, proprioceptive and interoceptive aspects of being. Validating the change experientially.









Posted in Uncategorized

The importance of touch

Posted in Uncategorized

Manual Therapy and Trauma

The treatment of an injury of traumatic origin has some characteristics that are important to remember. The whole being experiences the trauma. The body goes through the motions as a reaction to the forces that are exerted on it.

The senses are tracking the occurrence as well, locking the reaction in the primal aspects of the nervous system. Emotional reactions trigger the limbic system, creating a knot of sorts. The knot is the feeling, (often a sense of helplessness) that is enmeshed with physical trauma. And much like a knot, pushing, prodding or pulling tends to do little to untie the knot.

A story is then constructed, in order to live with, understand, and or explain what happened. Here the intellect gets involved, and through itʼs own belief, aids in the deepening and hardening of the traumatic pattern.

The hands-on aspect of manual therapy offers access to these systems, in a way that is different than dialogue alone.

Additionally, there is often a somatic pattern that follows a traumatic event. These patterns may manifest as limited and or painful movement. Or loss of other physical capacities. Such as endurance, strength, fatigue, and others.

It is useful to gently physically engage these patterns, as a way of working through them.



Posted in Uncategorized

A perspective on low back pain

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, Iʼd spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.

Abraham Lincoln

Exercise is an important part of the rehabilitation and so-called maintenance program. As a practice, itʼs analogous to practicing a musical instrument. A broken E string on a violin will effect ones ability to play their music.

Good manual therapy is akin to tuning the instrument. The stretch and strengthen approach is limited in that one can only condition the existing movement capacity, i.e. one may play all the notes except E. This is where stretching is applied.

However, if a protective mechanism is causing the lack of flexibility or decreased range of motion, then any gains will be nominal and hard-won (effortful). Additionally, it is likely that one becomes accustomed to a fairly low plateau, and or the benefits will be transient.

Protective mechanisms are at the root of many pain and limited movement patterns.

Some properties of protective mechanisms are

• Contraction

• Binding

• Easily irritated, or sensitive to particular stimuli

• Frequently generates a cascade of influence, referred pain, postural compensation

• Posture reflects a dynamic process, as well as body position.

• Posture reflects our adaptive responses

Manual therapy seeks the origin of these postures or those things that the person is

posturing around.

Treatment of these dysfunctional patterns usually alleviates pain and restores mobility that is readily maintained. In the case of low back pain, it is often found that sacral movement is compromised.

This may be from abdominal surgery, faulty ankle or knee mechanics; or stored trauma from a fall, whiplash, or old concussion, etc.

The quality of interaction during treatment is important, with a good interface, the therapist is granted deeper access to the body, this improves the depth and scope of the treatment exponentially.

Posted in Uncategorized