The musculoskeletal structure is the backbone of our body and plays a decisive role in the shape of our bodies, the way it functions and the way it moves. Its deformation is at the cost of a valuable daily energy, some of which we can reclaim to invest in what we want to see birthed.
Lengthen the muscles
We have 2 types of muscle fibers: dynamic fibers and static fibers. Depending on its function, each muscle contains a certain percentage of each type of fibers. The coordination between these 2 types of fibers is permanent for the execution of our daily gestures. The dynamic fibers, which are used for movements of great amplitude, are not very tonic and practically not fibrous; they have a tendency to relax due to a lack of solicitation (as observed at the abdominal level). Static fibers constitute 2/3 of our musculature; they are very tonic and strongly fibrous. It is thanks to them that we stand upright and that our skeleton does not dislocate (they remain in a state of minimum contraction when we sleep). Because of this permanent state of contraction, these fibers often evolve towards shortening and retraction, bringing their 2 ends together, slowing down and compressing the joint, deviating it from its axis. There is only one step between muscle stiffness and joint pathology.
The answer to muscle shortening is not eccentric muscular training as practiced by most athletes, nor is it muscle strengthening, but muscle lengthening beyond the point of stiffness. Contrary to what is commonly accepted as true, a short and voluminous muscle is not stronger than a normal muscle: what it is gaining in power, it is losing in amplitude and in force restitution. A muscle is a living rubber band: it is only able to shorten a lot if it has been previously lengthened, like the rubber band of a catapult. In response to muscular activation, a stretching restitution guarantees the balance of the system and of what has been drawn from it.
The main advantage of working on rehabilitating the posture in its globality is that it focuses on the static function of the muscular system in addition to the dynamic one. While classical physiotherapy focuses on strengthening and mobilizing, and osteopathy reharmonizes the joint in a relaxed position through rapid manipulation, this kind of approach rebalances the joint by lifting the muscular brakes. In the muscular field, being global consists in stretching all the muscles of the same neuromuscular coordination chain at the same time. Here we want to act on both the correction of large deformations (macro-behaviors) and joint pain (joint micro-injuries). This is assisting in remodeling the body, helping it to regain its perfect morphology, releasing stiffness and blocked joints and encouraging better general and muscular performance of the body: elasticity, posture, joint amplitude, sports performance. It is applicable to any morphological, articular, respiratory, visceral problem, post-traumatic sequelae or any problem resulting from repetitive work or sport activities.
An instant parasympathetic response
Instantly, during my first session, there was a movement of liberation of the stomach. Everything is very bio-mechanical: with a painful neck, the stomach cannot be free because of connections at the level of the diaphragm and the first cervicals. The muscles work together and become unbalanced together. When a muscle shortens, it loses its full stroke. The tennis player shortens at the level of the elbow and progressively loses the strength when he is returning the ball. He loses the ability to go far to make it stronger. He becomes a prisoner of his strength, like the bodybuilder imprisoned in his stiff musculature. The pain comes when the body can no longer compensate. Functioning from our compensations all the time is like driving a car without releasing the handbrake, it is costing the body unnecessary energy and the car is constantly overheating. In men practicing sport at high level, the muscle groups are stiffened by repetitive practice, compensations are inevitable and the joints are threatened. The tennis player, at the moment of his service, is bending at the lumbar level. Since the force of his stroke cannot come from the contraction of the muscles of his arm alone, he goes beyond the natural extension of his shoulder to give amplitude to his movement. However, this digging in encourages the retraction of the spinal muscles in this area. It is therefore important to ensure that this compensation does not become permanent.
Global Active Stretching is a stretching approach following the muscle chains. It is the active side of a repair approach that will practiced at home or during individual sessions with a practicioner. It is not focused on healing but rather on allowing to stretch properly in order to counterbalance the inevitable shortening of static muscle fibers. This work of maintenance allows to prevent the harm of muscles and joints and to maintain their good state,. It is carried out outside of intensive training sessions, when muscles are cold so that they can recover real lengthening. Indeed, on a warmed-up muscle, the muscle is easily softened thanks to the artificially increased elasticity coefficient, but it will re-adopt its original length once cooled down. During normal stretching, the muscle is taken in isolation. However, isolated stretching seems rather ineffective. Global stretching prohibits any compensation and stretches the entire muscle chain at both ends. For example, to stretch the posterior chain (lower part of the body), we stretch all the muscles at the same time. An example is when we perform the dorsal flexion of the foot (talus), the extension of the knee and the flexion of the thigh while insisting on the external rotation of the knees and on the expiration and correcting the vertebral curvature. The muscle is first placed in a stretched state, put under light tension, before small contractions fix the stretch. A stretched but stiff muscle will seek the lengthening at another point in the chain. With the globality, the stiff zone has no other choice than to stretch. We may keep in mind one of the best teachers in muscular matters, the feline, an example of the perfect alliance between strength, speed, amplitude and beauty of movement.
The importance of sitting well
Working in rehabilitation is one thing, correcting our posture on a daily basis and being aware of it is another. It is important to be aware of the way we hold ourselves at all times. In the many hours we spend sitting each day, how can we change our sitting habits? Sitting should not cause tension in our body or an abnormal curvature in relation to the body’s natural physiology. When we sit incorrectly, the pelvis rolls backwards. When we are well positioned, the pressure of our intervertebral discs, which are like shock absorbers, is applied harmoniously to the intervertebral discs. Adopting good habits concerns us all. How do children and teenagers sit? They often adopt a position that is contrary to the natural physiological shape of the body. Is the furniture suitable? Sofas are often too deep, much longer than the length of our legs. Where is the computer screen located? Is it well positioned in front of us? Do we have to bend our head to work on it? Is the head straight? When we work for hours on a screen, even if the pelvis is correctly positioned, we are forced to lower our head and put our cervicals in the opposite position to their natural position. Every day, we can stop dozens of times to become aware of the position we adopt.
Fascia exercises at home
Doing faschia exercises at home, for the neck and shoulder area for example, is a very good option to release stored tension and trauma in this area of the body. Finding the strength and creating the space to untie knots at home is extremely powerful and probably the safest course of action, given the energy discrepancies found in most practitioners’ offices, not to mention all the hidden agendas of what goes on there. There are videos online to learn how to do and manifest pressure in one direction and movement in the opposite one, thus working on creating space within the tissues. There are also electric small tools called tension guns to relieve tense areas in the body. We can also use a roller to loosen up the spinal area and practice reflexology self-massages for our feet.
Bone, a living tissue
The shocks we encounter every day leave traces and crystallize in our bones, which also contain a part of our traumas. Bone is alive, elastic and vibrates. Composed of 40% water, the bone is malleable and can freeze during a shock. In what condition does the body vibrate if it is not in its optimal position? How is the body on its base? How are the bones in space? The body speaks to us, but what does it tell us? We are often too quick to get down to strengthening when we would need more information about the state of our structure. At the crossroads of all the muscle chains, the pelvis supports the spine: ideally we want it in its original shape. By entering the bone, we can free the bone points that carry a traumatic memory. After balancing the pelvis, the other areas of the body can be worked on. When it receives the right information, the body is able to find its ideal position, to correct itself and to put into place its self-healing mechanisms. In the bone, there are different density zones, some harder, some more malleable. By deprogramming the traumatic memory within the bone, it is invited to regain its suppleness and to resume its balanced position: the body has memory and knowledge of its ideal shape. We often carry our heavy bags on the same side, which creates a twisting movement that, by dint of repetition, is inscribed in our columns. Nodes of tension become lodged in our ischiums, areas of retraction and contraction.
In an appointment with a practitioner, the pelvic balance assessment is done standing and then sitting by observing the degree of imbalance on 2 points at the back of the pelvis, the iliac spines. By aligning the thumbs on either side of the iliac spines, we can observe that my pelvis is out of alignment. Iridology also mentions a congestion and accumulation of lymphatic residues in the spine. Because of the shape of the vertebrae, there is an ideal positioning of the spine: cervical lordosis (slight hollow), dorsal kyphosis (slight rounding) and lumbar lordosis (slight hollow), with the pelvis moving a little bit forward. When firm pressure is exerted in my pelvic bones, I hear gurgling in the viscera. I feel strange, as if I was dizzy.
Caution with the rebalancing of the cervical atlas
Two months before working on the bones and the muscles, something was done to, it was said, rebalance my cervical atlas. Following this rebalancing, I had pain in the pelvic region for 3 to 4 days. However, I am now wondering what really happened when I made this correction a few years ago and if something was not implanted in my head. I think back to the discernment I had at the time and I don’t think it was enough to prevent me from serious reprogramming. Looking at the signature of these images, including the practitioner I went to on the right, is not very reassuring (there is something very reptilian about the look and the energy that come out of both of the photos). I would certainly not go there again in this day and age; I would not make the same choices.
If in doubt, I believe it is better to abstain. I am in favor of doing as much as possible at home, from the “base” of our homes. This wise approach comes from experience and finding myself in many traps and reprogramming centers linked to mind control.
It is an approach of somatic education that aims at the development of self-awareness through movement and, if necessary, re-education through movement. What are the limits that hinder our potential, engrammed in our nervous system? Through organic awareness, brakes can be lifted, so that new patterns of thought, movement and feeling can emerge. Feldenkrais encourages people to recognize themselves as a unified whole, maintaining a healthy relationship with their environment. How do we operate by default? The way we move is our own personal signature. Our heritage and our history make us develop behavior patterns, both emotionally and physically. The discomforts of everyday life eventually settle in the body. Feldenkrais invites to regain the ability to feel our own body and to be present to our bodily sensations. In fact, we do live with anesthetized parts in our body. These regions are no longer part of our consciousness and, therefore, they are no longer fulfilling their original function. By perceiving these anesthetized parts again, we can slowly return to an optimization of our possibilities, while expanding the repertoire of movements that our habits have limited over time. New data is recorded by the nervous system which establishes new circuits. New possibilities are invited to be felt. By becoming aware of how our thoughts affect our actions and vice versa, it is our entire inner and outer multiverse that is being redefined. When our consciousness expands, the psycho-physical system sharpens too. Neuroplasticity is expanded and awakened through these new perceptions. Thoughts, sensations, perceptions and actions can be integrated in a more unified way.
The approach tends towards a strong relaxation. It is a search, an exploration of new possibilities. Which parts of the back are in contact with the floor? Which parts are not? For each of us, the representation of the body or the understanding of the movement is different and is translated in the body in a different way. The exploration is unique to each of us. Following the body, without forcing it, adopting postures without aiming at performance. The instructions invite to explore the movement in sequences executed with slowness. Contrary to more traditional soft gymnastics, where movements can become mechanical or whose goal is to sculpt the body, the aim is to enlarge awareness and reduce any unnecessary muscular effort. Do we do something to feel? Is feeling a reaction? How do we feel the contact of the heel with the ground? What about the weight distribution of the heels on the ground or the weight distribution on both sides? We are invited to observe the micro-reactions that take place within ourselves. We can certainly explore our own methods and models especially, and go into unknown lands.