Image credit 1
Hands On Healing in Montgomery, Alabama provides training for corrective movement patterns for those needing to relearn proper muscle movement.
Let’s take you through a really simple movement awareness exercise that you can do right where you’re sitting (or if you’re standing, take a seat).
Let your arms lie next to your body in a relaxed state, and close your eyes.
Now, lift your right arm above your head. Can you feel that your right arm is above your head and your left arm is down next to your body without having to see it with your eyes?
This is called proprioception, the ability to feel your body’s position in space.
However, this simple test only just scratches the surface of what proprioception is and how important it can be to our day-to-day health.
When you raised your arm above your head, did you notice what direction the arm traveled?
Did it go out to the side, or straight up in front of you? How aligned was your arm with your ear when it was fully raised? Did the movement cause you to shorten your breath?
All of this information, alongside so much more, is processed by your brain every second of every day.
Yet how much of this information are you really aware of?
It’s likely that the movement you did happened without your giving it much thought.
This is normal, since if you had to think about every little movement you made, you would be far too preoccupied to accomplish much else during your day.
So how do we process all this movement information?
We form movement patterns and habits!
These patterns and habits are very common movements we do each day using the same muscle firing sequence to complete a task.
The brain relies on a special network of nerves and muscle tissue known as muscle spindle fibers (Figure 1, click to enlarge).
This “network” tells your brain how long or short your muscles are at any given time.
The benefit of this is that our brains are free to process tons of other information without having to worry about how we move.
What might happen if you learn a pattern that is not ideal for a particular joint?
With a little imagination we’re sure you’ve concluded that your joint might get a little upset with the daily abuse of being used incorrectly.
Luckily for us, the body is designed to adapt, and in many cases proprioception can be reset, and new habits can be formed through the use of corrective movement patterns.
We therapists often see the best results for our clients when we combine the bodywork we use in the studio with movement homework we give them to do on their own time.
The soft tissue release methods we use in the studio allow the body to naturally reset the resting length of muscles that have become restricted, adhered, or “tight.”
This tissue release also allows muscle spindle fibers to reset their length, meaning they will communicate differently with the brain.
When clients do their movement correctives at home, they actually begin to reset the nerve signal to the brain through their muscle spindle fibers.
Each movement pattern is designed to draw a person’s awareness to the movement and help create the most ideal muscle firing sequence.
This ensures that the body’s joints stay aligned, and each muscle does its job, thus preventing poor movement habits.