Gravity is the force that keeps us literally grounded and also plays havoc with our skeleton. As I have stated in the past it is the vertical position that does us in. In my early years of Massage Therapy it was always easy to have someone feel better in the horizontal position but once we got them vertical, their problems seemed to reappear. Movement and gravity are the main culprits.
Since the human is bipedal there is a greater need for proper Tensegrity on the skeleton. Gravity places approximately 14.7 pounds per square inch on the skeleton, it becomes apparent that the body's "built in" shock absorbing system becomes over taxed. You might say "but I sit all day, why does my back and hips still hurt, I am not standing" . I have found over the last 25 years that sitting is one of the hardest movements we perform on a regular basis. As I sit here writing this blog and looking down at the computer screen, (it is Thursday morning and I am sitting on my patio), my head is forward, my back arched, and all the pressure is in my hip joints and low back. Every couple of minutes I need to sit up and take a sip of coffee to help relieve pressure. My feet are flat on the ground but they are almost none existent in reference to support; meaning my sitz bones are rolled forward and forcing my lower back to be the fulcrum in this position.
(This is what it was made to do, but not for a long duration).
During the last six months I have been conducting a private study on reoccurring neck pain; I have found in approximately 80% of my cases, the pain was because the 26 bones of the foot are not functioning optimally. I have noticed also that many of the shoulder problems are directly related to this dilemma. The foot has the ability to offset many of life's physical stressors and we have over the years abused them and wondered why we have the outbreak of arthritis and joint pain.
The skeleton's ability to move is based on a true Tensegrity model, which is an even push/pull. How does this model work? The bones in the body are held together by ligaments, which have four vital qualities. These four qualities are positioning of the bones so they the body is in a position to move; stabilizing the bones so they move in a proper manner; move the bones in an orderly fashion; and control the speed of movement so injury is prevented. The nerves that tie in to the ligaments on the pull side of the equation are sensory nerves and they relay the proper messages to the brain that allow the tendons to initiate the movement by pull on the bones. Once the brain has determined what it is going to generate the movement its conditioning will help determine how much force the muscle fiber needs to generate to complete the movement. When properly balanced we should be able to move against that 14.7 pounds per square inch of force. That is the premise of Tensegrity.
With movement there is a dynamic force generated where the brain has to accommodate the force of the push; this is where the body's shock absorbing system comes into play. There are discs strategically placed in the spine, pelvis, and knee regions, that will absorb the pressure on these areas. The principal shock absorber is the foot. These 26 bones are placed in a specific pattern that will undulate with every step, aide in both sitting down and standing up. There are three structural parts known as our arches that will direct the bones to move in a pattern that will reduce the impact on other joints throughout the body including our jaws. When these arches are compromised their capabilities are severely reduced and force the other areas to recieve more of the impact of compression.
The ankle joint is a primary component in movement and when the foot is incapable of absorbing the compressive forces will often place the ankle in a position of compensation. The ankle joint only moves approximately a half inch up and down. Most people think that there is a large movement in the ankle but normally engage their toes in the movement process. The problem with this is the ligaments of the ankle are what send the proper messages to the muscle that aide in flexing the hip joint (Psoas). As this information is impeded to the brain, the brain will begin the process of figuring out a workable, not always a favorable, pattern of movement. When this pattern is repeated, hip or knee pain ensues.
In Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh(R) this issued is addressed by the reconnection of the nerves between the ankle and the hip flexor. Once this connection is made the brain will release its hold on the ligaments it has repositioned throughout the body for the purpose of accommodating movement. This re-patterning of the Tensegrity is what allows the body's natural posture to be recreated.
Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh(R) is formulated to explore the unnatural tensions to the skeleton and by reducing those abnormal tensions with a more positive pattern so that the brain can take a break and let the brain, gland, and soft tissue systems relax.
What this balanced tension does to the foot is allow the 26 bones to move independently off one another, and to better cope with the environment that is encountered. We often enclose our feet in tight fitting, but fashionable shoes, and really never allow our feet to expand and contract like they are meant to. This brings me to the next component of the body, the Fascia or connective tissue system. Why is this important, because it is what holds everything together. The Fascia system starts on the underside of the skull (above the brain) and encapsulates all of the organs, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and bones of the body.
Next week we will continue this discussion of the body's ability to function under a more natural form of tension and be able to function in a natural way. Till next week, remember there is always a Reason to HOPE! for a more comfortable lifestyle.