The body – as miraculous as it is, continues to be our miracle and yet, our greatest enemy. It remains “the principle danger that threatens the mind”. In response to a series of events, the body can react in ways that is cruel and usual!
The same laws and elements that regulate our body can sicken and destroy it. Scary, right? The very cells and structures that comprise us can destroy us without any sympathy or compassion whatsoever. This is truly the dark side of our body. When there is discord, there is a complete sense of destruction.
Don’t go to war with your body. Make peace with it.
Bodywork in general is more of an educational influence that has the power to change how your body responds to various events in your life. It’s not just a temporary treatment of a symptom. Rather, through regular bodywork, we’re going to be able to re-educate the body in how to properly respond to fight or flight reactions.
Bodywork is often directly associated with muscle. It’s typically the first thing we think about! One associates a healthily fed and well-exercised body with muscle and healthy tissues. As massage therapists, this is one of the first things that we feel when we start working with the body. We prod, stretch, apply pressure, strokes and other movements including stretching into the bodywork that we do.
Muscle is obviously a large component of the body beneath the skin. It’s the local discomforts and range of motion limitations that causes a person to desire some massage therapy. Stiff, sore, achy muscles are massage gently, easing them into a state of relaxation perfect for the body to heal. There are also terms used to describe muscles such as “blocks”, armoring, tense, tire and overworked – even spasms of the muscle. Muscles have such a profound effect and impact on our bodies – they give us shape, and also help determine if we’re out of shape. They essentially make us “fit”.
Muscles that are pliable give us the look and feel of being relaxed.
Did you know that depending on your type of body, your muscles make up between 70-85% of your body weight? That’s pretty substantial when you think about it. The muscle, therefore, is by far the most metabolically active organ of the body. It can be abundant or scarce, depending on our build. It can become flaccid or tense, thereby defining the contours and lines of our physical appearance. Muscles, when you really think about it… determine our “feel”, and the quality and style of all of our other physical actions.
The way in which each of us deals with stress relates to how we have learned to react to potential problems. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I learned to minimize my losses and recuperate efficiently?
- Do I ignore unpleasant symptoms until the damage is so extensive that I’m forced to react?
- Have I learned to react to symptoms through creating other discomforts?
- Am I masking the original problem, but develop a vicious circle that create consequences that are far worse than the original issues?
We learn conditioned responses to stress. We ball up, naturally, as a defense mechanism. We roll the shoulders forward and tuck our legs at the hips. The way in which we respond to stress is often depicted as a stereotypical hedgehog formation.
There are both neurological changes and chemical shifts that impact our bodies as a response to stressful situations. Stress can be both good and bad for the body, depending on the degree of escalation and type. Evaluate how you respond to stress and what triggers it. Determine whether your responses to stress are a negative learned behavior. Your perceptions to stress and how you respond to them affect your actual physical condition!
Really, connective tissue is a large, complex, sophisticated system that is so important that it is sometimes regarded as a vital organ. In fact, very few vital organs fulfill as many necessary functions as the entire connective tissue system is. Connective tissue binds bone to bone, attaches bone to tendon, and ties tendon to muscle. Muscle is actually useless without it! It’s comprised of sheets, pulleys, hinges and cables that transfer muscle efforts to the levers of the skeleton.
Incredibly resilient, these connections factor into the possibilities as well as the limitations of movement. If strained, for example, the connective tissue will become limited in movement and you’ll find less range of motion as a result.
Connective tissue also synchronizes the motion between the muscles, nerves and vessels, and finally transfers muscle action to the bones. Everything has to be perfectly timed and in alignment in order for your body to completely function properly. But most importantly, connective tissue is a major repair mechanism of the body. The whole chemistry of the connective tissue responds to inflammation. So it’s essential that we take care of your connective tissue as it is an integral part of your function through movement.
What questions do YOU have about connective tissue that Nancy can answer?