I was recently asked why I was seeing an Osteopath for treatment for a niggling thing in my leg that I’ve been having for 3 months. The question wasn’t about my choice of therapist, it was that I had already been consulting with an outstanding Physiotherapist and an exceptional Massage Therapist. So why was I choosing a new modality for the same issue?
Simply put – I wasn’t seeing the results I was hoping for, in the timeframe I was wanting, using my current strategy. I knew there was more to be discovered, perhaps from a biomechanical point of view, not simply muscular. Did that mean that the others weren’t the right modalities? Absolutely not the case.
You see, I believe in creating a network of people to help you and your body through things. Every person that has looked at me, given an opinion, tested range of movement, laid hands on me, lovingly stuck needles in me, opened up areas of tension (maybe with a bit of bruising), or offered advice, have ALL been contributors to me getting better. And these practitioners are not only my body support crew, they are also the same team I draw upon for my clients. We communicate our findings and progress, we talk through opinions, we support and encourage each other’s points of view and we celebrate the wins of the client at hand.
Being a holistic movement specialist, I look at bodies all day long. I analyse, strategize, consult with others, turn it around, change the contact surface, provide a different perspective. It’s so easy to see it through my eyes, but when I’m faced with my own limitations in particular movements that I’ve been able to do all my life, suddenly my mind goes blank. I think of worst-case scenarios, I strip it back to try figure it out, I doubt my knowledge, I get confused by what I’m feeling or when it began.
Truth is, you can’t treat yourself. It takes another set of eyes (or multiple sets) on you to do the questioning, seeing, exploring, uncovering and unravelling.
The body is complex. It is linked and intertwined and woven through myriads of connections. Ever had to loosen fairy lights that are in a jumble, or a ball of wool that’s been tangled up? There is no clear path. You start somewhere and work your way through until you hit an area that doesn’t give anymore, and then you move to the next thread and see where that takes you.
Due to the complexity of our bodies, we aren’t even aware of all the knots and twists that have been working their way into the convoluted mess that is now presenting as your symptomatic concern.
I used to work alongside an Osteopath who would describe each treatment as a releasing of patterns, but a few hours/days post treatment, your tissues start to recoil into their familiar arrangement. With every subsequent treatment, you unravel more and recoil again but each time your structure starts to adapt to a new tissue integrity. This means you never go back to your original shape or misalignment. However, it is a process. And it takes consistent effort and for you to do your bit.
And THAT right there is when you see things change. The moment YOU become an active participant to healing, to changing your pattern, to reaching the point where the niggle is no longer welcome, when you know that it doesn’t always have to be this way, that YOU can help your patterns shift. We can’t rely solely on the therapist to do the work. I try to let my clients know that I’m a facilitator of movement, and the true magician is them. They’re the one DOING the movement, changing the habit, remodelling their structure.
Joseph Pilates said: “In 10 sessions, you’ll feel a difference, in 20 sessions, you’ll see a difference and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”.
His policy was to only accept clients who paid for 3 months in advance and committed to attending sessions 3 times per week. He knew the power of transformation that was ahead of these individuals. As do we, the Pilates teachers that are now showing up for you.
I honestly believe in moving every day. Does that mean you need to be in the studio EVERY day? No of course not. Does it mean you have to work out for an hour every day? Absolutely not. Some days I do a 2 min release series, other days I will do 2-4hrs of Pilates, walking and yoga. No matter what timeframe or activity you choose, it is vital that you are CONSCIOUSLY giving yourself the gift of moving that is best for you. Be FULLY present during that time. Take the time to connect to your breathing, pay attention to how you position yourself during the movement, create a positive attitude to being able TO move (even if you are rehabilitating from a niggle) and remember that you were designed to move.
And if you need help in figuring your niggles out, consult with your team of supporters. They are the experts that are there to coach you into moving better and feeling better.
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