In last month’s blog I introduced you to my new blog topic, “The Owner’s Manual to Your Body.” When we are born we don’t come with an owner’s manual for our bodies. Which is strange, because when we buy a new car or refrigerator they come with owner’s manuals on how to take care of them!
I have done over 30,000 treatments with patients over the years as a manual therapist. One of the biggest takeaways is that most people don’t pay attention to their body or understand how it works. They wait until something is broken and are having major issues before they take notice. But, by then, it may be too late and the damage is already done.
So early on in my career I developed a philosophy of helping people through education, manual therapy, and self-responsibility. I’m a big believer that if you understand how your body works, you can take better responsibility for its maintenance and care.
When I see new patients in my office who are suffering from pain, they usually fall into two categories:
- The pain is caused by a trauma or injury
- It’s an insidious onset, meaning they don’t know what started it or how it happened.
Let’s talk about this second group. It will give you an insight into the Mind Body Spirit connection.
Western medicine tends to use a Cartesian model in treating the human body. This means that they break the body down into individual pieces, parts, or systems and don’t always look at the interconnections between the different systems. An orthopedic doctor only looks at the bones as being an issue with the person’s pain. There have been many times when patients come in to see me after getting an X-ray and the doctor says there’s nothing wrong with them, because nothing showed up on the X-ray. My nearly three decades of having a manual therapy practice has taught me that you can’t look at a single system of the body in isolation.
The body is more complex than its’ individual pieces and must be understood from a holistic model. The body is a dynamic unit of function. Everything is interconnected. That means we need to consider the body from a mind, body, and spirit perspective.
I want to use a few examples so you understand my point about the mind- Body Connection. Have you ever heard someone say…
- You carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
- I get so nervous I get butterflies in my stomach.
- He’s a pain in my butt.
What these common sayings tell us is that how we think has a direct effect on our physical body. It’s a way of saying that our mind and body are connected. There is a physiological response to our psychological State of Mind.
For example, muscles represent our ability to move in life. So, if you’re having problems with the muscles in your legs, ask yourself, “What resistance do you have to moving forward or being open to new experiences?
Cramping can represent holding on too tight, gripping, tension, or fear. So if cramping is an issue for you, ask yourself, “What are you holding onto too tightly psychologically?” That may be having a physiological effect on your legs.
From a physiological standpoint try stretching your calves to minimize the tension. Watch this video https://www.soarpointmassage.com/blog-and-videos for a simple and effective ways of loosening up the muscles in your calf without stretching.