Monday, July 22, 2013

Out of Whack.

I would like to to explore a question I tend to get during or after most Rolfing sessions.

That question is, "How did my body get out of whack like this?"

This question comes up often after a client's body begins to feel better after one or a couple of sessions.  Once they begin to feel better, I think it is quite natural to did my body get out of sorts in the first place?

Let's look at some possible reasons why . . .

1.  Injury.  That seems pretty obvious, huh?  I mean, you fall or bump your head on something, stub your toe etc., and you are going to feel quite a bit of pain.  Sometimes though, an injury or blunt trauma to your body will reverberate throughout your body in ways you can't consciously track.   

Imagine throwing a stone into a pond.  There is the point of impact, and then there are the waves that follow.  Let's say you fall on your hip.  That is the point of impact, yet many waves follow and ripple throughout your entire body.  Your hip might heal quick enough, but you might begin to feel pain elsewhere, sometimes weeks and months later.  Again, in my previous blog post, "It's a Symphony" I explore this phenomena further.

2.  Sedentary Lifestyle.  Our bodies are complex.  And, in many ways, we are meant to move in complex ways.  Sitting in front of a computer, as I am doing now, is not really a pattern that millions of years of evolution prepared us for.  For many of us, this is something we do for work often.  Neurologically and physiologically your body begins to prepare you for the long haul if this is the pattern you repeat over and over again.  If you are hunched over your computer 24/7, your body will begin to lay out collagen fibers to help keep you in this position.  Consequently your posture will be affected and held in this pattern.  Various aches and pains will follow.  And, if you simply go from sitting in front of your desk to then crashing on your couch at home, you are tempting fate.  Don't forget to get up and MOVE!  Honor our hunter and gatherer roots! 

3.  Stress/Anxiety.  Stress in of itself is not a bad thing.  The stress response in our body helps keep us alive.  Yet, stress is not meant to rule our nervous system all day and all night.  Chronic stress can have an adverse affect on our bodies over the long haul.  Our hearts become strained from continued and increased contraction.  Adrenal glands become exhausted from producing too many stress hormones.  Our liver, kidneys, and digestive organs all bear the brunt of prolonged anxiety.  Our posture and structural integrity begins to suffer as a consequence of prolonged stress.

4.  Nutrition.  What we eat has a profound affect on our bodies.  Unfortunately, most food now has little if any nutritional value.  When we do not eat enough, we obviously starve our bodies of the nutrition it needs to thrive.  When we eat poorly, we trigger what is called and Inflammation Response in our bodies.  The inflammation response is meant to deal with and eliminate foreign substances that invade our bodies such as bacteria.  Food is meant to have nutritional value, not be seen as a threat.  Yup, that diet coke you drank?  Your body reacted in a way that saw it as poison.  One very common symptom of the inflammation response is joint pain.  So, when you eat, make sure it is nutritious.  Avoid foods that might trigger inflammation.  Next time you are shopping, truly read the ingredients.  If there is an ingredient you cannot pronounce, put that puppy back on the shelf!

On a personal note, I have been trying to eat even more organic foods.  I used to eat organic here and there.  These days, more frequently.  I have noticed that I am less anxious and sleep better.  Oh, and I am experiencing less aches in my body as well!

5.  Layers.  None of the aforementioned items should be seen in isolation. Unfortunately many of these are intertwined with one another.  Eating poorly can lead to stress, and visa versa.  You might be living a sedentary lifestyle and then are injured, which might compound the healing process.  It is tempting to point to one thing and say, "aha that's it."  Alas, it is usually a cluster of many complex factors.

6.  Life.  These are some possible reasons of why your body might, "get out of whack like this."  Alas, life is full of surprises. We are amazingly complex and beautiful beings, as well as being flawed.  Sometimes we forget this very mortal fact.  Our bodies are brilliant things, yet sometimes they need a little help.  What to do? 

I have mentioned this before in previous newsletters.  Come in for Rolfing on a pro-active basis.  This can work wonders for your body.  Self care is so very important.  Also, what can you do on your own?  I have the secret for you.  Ready?  Ok, here it is:

Exercise, eat well, and get plenty of rest.  :)

I mean this sincerely.  At the end of a session client's will ask if there is anything they can do to help keep the positive changes that have taken place in their body.  I do have movement exercises that I may give you from time to time.  Yet, check out some of the factors we explored above.  What, if any, of them speak to you the most?  Which one(s) should be addressed first and foremost?  In this way, perhaps chronic pain will become an aberration and not the norm.

Take care...