How to reduce pain and improve mobility with SomaticsHeidi Hadley
In today’s blog I have included a short 1 minute video to explain why we may develop a slumped posture causing our head to jut forward, resulting in neck pain, stiff shoulders and headaches. Watch the video below. Notice how I develop the subject further in my blog. Then allow me to guide you through a FREE Somatic movement AUDIO at the end of this blog to reduce muscle tension and tightness through the front, back and sides of your body.
I am sure you have heard people saying that their aches and pains are due to them getting old. They blame their age on having a stiff back and limited movement. However I and every other Clinical Somatics Practitioner around the world would disagree with you! Granted as we age we endure more ailments, but there are musculoskeletal complaints which can be reversed or the level of pain may be reduced. Why? As I mentioned in the video, if we do a certain activity or pose long enough, it becomes a habit. As we know from other habits, if we do something long enough, we are unaware we are doing it, it becomes automatic. It is the same with our posture and how we walk. If we develop a poor posture from an injury, stressful event or regular action, such as working for hours at a computer, the brain adapts and thinks this is “the new normal.” As a result, we subconsciously or unconsciously walk, sit and stand in an adapted way. Over time this will cause issues such as sciatica, plantar fasciitis, herniated disc, TMJ issues, hip pain, knee issues, neck and shoulder complaints. The list goes on!
I often use the analogy of a car to explain how poor habitual patterns of posture and movement can have a detrimental effect on our body.
Imagine you are driving around in your car with a flat tyre. If you continue to drive around with a flat tyre long enough, the suspension and wheels of your car will become badly affected. Liken this to walking around with your body weight off centre. Your posture could be loaded to one side, slumped forward or your lower back is over arched with your bottom sticking out. If you continue to walk around with this posture long enough, your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints will begin to suffer. It may increase inflammatory issues such as bursitis and tendinitis.
When we remind our brain where neutral truly is with Somatic movements, we can reverse the symptoms we have struggled with. We can reduce muscle tension, improve posture and increase mobility. Somatics is different to stretching. In Somatics we use a process called pandiculation to break the “autopilot” communication between your muscles and brain. The autopilot message is called the “neurofeedback loop” and can often be liken to a broken record. It keeps repeating the same action or message over and over again, in this instance holding a muscle constantly contracted. Stretching cannot break the neurofeedback loop because when we stretch the message from the muscle only travels to the spinal cord and back to the muscle. The belly of the muscle stays contracted with a stretch. The only parts of the muscle to lengthen are the fibres either side of the muscle belly, ligaments and tendons. That is why after stretching you may feel discomfort in your hips, knees, back and neck. Although you had good intentions with stretching, there is a good chance you have over exerted the attachments points such as the muscle insertions, ligaments and tendons.
Somatic movement involves pandiculation to release tight, tense muscles. When we pandiculate, we contract, slowly release and completely relax the muscle. We repeat this action several times. The action of pandiculation involves various portions of our brain. We are teaching our brain to learn how to move these muscles correctly again. Somatics focuses on movement integration, teaching you how to move freely and with reduced pain.
Allow me to introduce you to somatic movement with the following audio. When you follow this audio, please apply the following points to obtain the best results:
* Switch off all distracting stimuli such as TV and put your ring tone on silent (turn off the vibration alert too).
* Close your eyes to reduce external stimuli and allow your brain to focus fully on the movements.
* Move slowly and subtly. We must develop mindfulness and listen to where our natural movement range stops. We work within that range. With repeated pandiculation, our range will improve because the brain will soften the belly of the muscle.
* Don’t be tempted to stretch. Don’t think that if you go a little further, you will increase in progress. In actual fact it will have the opposite effect. Every muscle fibre has a stretch reflex. The stretch reflex has been designed to protect us from overstretching. So if you have a tight muscle and take the muscle out of its natural range into a stretch, the muscle will immediately contract, tighten and in some cases cramp or spasm. As a result, the muscle becomes shorter, pulls on the ligaments and tendons, creating further discomfort.
* Breathe deeply. If you run out of breathe whilst moving in and out of a sequence, don’t hold your breath. Just breathe naturally. Breaking the neurofeedback loop is your top priority. When we break the neurofeedback loop you have voluntary or conscious control over your muscles and can move freely again.
The Total Somatics Approach to Health & Wellness Online program is a 24 week self paced course. I teach you Somatic movements and how to develop mindfulness. I teach you how important mindset is in the area of Somatics and provide skills to enhance this area of your health. I have created movement videos and audios for you to really embrace and understand Somatics. You will find Health and Wellness podcasts with me and Dr Sarah Wilson plus down loadable support materialto help you over the 6 months. I am available for further questions and support during the 6 months at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the online program, go to www.TotalSomatics.com.
Heidi Hadley xx