• Restorative Exercise

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Why Align?

The first time I see a new client, I assess their standing position, and try to bring their attention to the habits they currently have standing, sitting and walking. In some cases, that is enough information for that client to make changes to those habits that result in relief of symptoms.

Although I am not a Doctor or a Physiotherapist, and cannot (and do not) claim to treat disease, the fact remains that a lot of people are seeking Restorative Exercise Specialists™ because there is generally a mechanical component to many forms of damage or disease. Oftentimes they have exhausted all other avenues, from orthotics to prescription drugs to a course of physiotherapy that may not have resolved the issue, and are facing interventions such as surgery. Not all medical practitioners are trained in biomechanics, and as such, we can be a helpful part of the alternative rehabilitative process.

But it takes a long time to create damage, and although changing your mechanics may result in instant relief (in some lucky cases), the damage is still there – you just aren’t exacerbating it by incorrect loading. The damage itself will take much longer to correct, and includes such other natural interventions such as rest, diet, the correct amount and type of movement, not to mention probable lifestyle changes (standing work station, shoe choices for example). Tissues can heal, but it takes time.

If tissues are so tight and unyielding that certain joint ranges are unavailable to you, it’s time to change that before it results in friction damage to that joint. (Actually, it’s likely the damage is there, but it might not be symptomatic – why wait until you are in pain to fix your joints?) In order to raise your arms above your head without compensation from the spine or improper and potentially damaging shoulder mechanics, or to bend over at the hips without sacrificing your vertebral discs, you will need to know how to increase that range safely. How long will it take before you can achieve this goal? It depends. It depends on how diligent you are in your muscle restorative program, and if you can limit or negate entirely the habits that are contributing to your issue.

Whether your goal is to alleviate painful symptoms, to increase your strength to weight ratio, or to learn how to move correctly, alignment can serve you to:

Preserve and Protect the Spine
Optimize Circulation
Minimize Joint Damage

Our body will prioritize protection of the Central Nervous System housed within the spine. A muscle spasm is nature’s way of telling you that you were about to endanger this structure, whether through a disc herniation, or a shearing of one vertebra relative to another for example. Building the strength in the posterior leg musculature and learning how to analyze your movement abilities at the hip are part of the process for restoring the stability to the spine. Inability to access the full range of motion at the hip will sacrifice your spine for the simplest of tasks, such as putting on your shoes.

Circulation of oxygen rich blood to the tissues is essential for tissue health and regeneration of tissue cells. The circulation is optimized when the muscle is innervated. A muscle that is not used (or not used often) does not waste valuable resources – the oxygen delivery to that muscle will be decreased (through lack of capillary development). As well, the acidic waste of the cell will build up as the lymphatic drainage of this waste also depends on regular muscle activity. This is a recipe for unhealthy tissues! This is why I stress the importance of getting those tight muscles in your hands and feet to open up. Finger and toe stretching can be done almost anywhere, anytime. All 600+ of your muscles require the correct amount of use in order to generate the circulation of oxygen, nerve stimulus and lymphatic drainage. If we lived in such a way that all of our muscles were optimized in their circulation, we would enjoy a level of health unknown to even the most elite of athletes, or ablest yogis.

Alignment is something that I will practice every day for the rest of my life. I would like to know that the alignment I practice will have benefits and not detriments. That is essentially why I do what I do. Please join me!


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