‘Movement’ – one of the pillars of human function and therefore health.
As humans, we are made for movement. Each and every aspect of our physiological, physical, anatomical and psychological function is related to our capacity to move.
The body is a system of systems and our anatomy in its entirety is designed to operate perfectly when we are moving well. Whether it’s circulatory health, bowel movements, reproductive health or breathing – optimal results require fantastic movement, posture and structure.
On a particle, cellular, tissue, organ, gland, system level, there is no function that does not require movement for life. Our vitality is proportionally related to our capacity to move well!
There are no coincidences in the design of the human body and the link between all of our body’s functions and movement on some level.
Our most vital function is the fundamental movement pattern of ‘Breathing‘.
And in turn – the movement of the breath enhances many other things, like the digestion and transit of food in the gut.
Circulating blood round the body requires a pumping action.
The maintenance of blood pressure requires an elasticity and contractility movement in the blood vessels.
Bowel movements require muscular contractions for gut motility.
The Vestibular apparatus require vibration to transmit the sound waves to the brain.
Cell membrane channels are constantly opening and closing.
It’s clear that the way we move and the fundamental human movement patterns of breathing, bending, squatting, walking, pushing, pulling, flexion and extension, rotating – all relate to complementing the many functions throughout the systems of our body.
Move better before you move more.
When embracing this quality over quantity principle, striking the balance between activity/recovery, yin/yang, anabolic/catabolic, energy in/energy out – becomes a simple equation and a new skill to take control over your health goals.
A Balanced Approach to Movement
Maybe and hopefully this is all quite obvious! That movement is important.
Yet – what we often observe through the clients we work with, enquiries we receive and challenges people are facing is that there are many extreme and ineffective approaches to how Movement could be applied to support the process.
That’s where a Balanced approach comes in.
There are a few key factors to consider initially when embracing a more balanced approach:
1 – Check whether you have a skewed approach to how you are applying movement. Too much or too little. All or nothing. What type of exercise/activity are you doing? Are you only aware of limited ways to apply movement as you medicine? Are you relying on something that used to work for you but no longer does? Are you infatuated/attached to a particular modality?
2 – Are you guessing or Assessing? Assessment will create insight and clarity regarding your needs.
3 – Are you exercises congruent with your individual needs and your goals?
4 – Is your starting point appropriate? Will it truly create a baseline on which you can build and progress?
5 – Do you haver a plan? It’s rarely about the first exercises that you have in your first program. That’s simply a start point. A plan and program must involve a process. A way to progress you from the baseline and to continually evolve as your needs and your functional capacity does.
Address these areas and you’ll be creating an approach that is more balanced and robust. And successful.
Is it really that Simple?
Well, yes! There are many ways you can keep it very simple and use movement to enhance your vitality and progress towards your goals.
If you can prioritise and apply some safe and effective steps to empower ‘movement’ in your life then that will be very valuable. With regards to chronic health challenges this can be anything from pivotal to your success, to simply a great piece of the puzzle.
So – do embrace your capacity to create your own baseline of exercises, get feedback from your body and progress from there. Even if that is in the simplest form of starting some basic breathing exercises and finding comfortable positions.
Beyond that – of course there are scenarios and situations that are more complex and require more input, assessment, considerations, strategies and coaching.
This is what we do day in, day out in clinic.
And even then, as complex as we can be, we have a high value on keeping it simple, safe and effective.
The Functional Health Clinic – Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Assessing or Guessing?
Assessing and Utilising movement can be simple and it can be complex. Used wisely, it will empower two things in particular:
1 – Understanding why you feel the way you feel. Or in other words, the causes of what you are experiencing.
2 – Clarifying what you can do about it. Or in other words, what strategies and solutions you can put in place.
For example – you might assess your movement patterns and quickly identify a cause of your discomfort or aggravation.
You could assess your structural alignment and identify a reason for pain, headaches, congestion, fatigue or digestive dysfunction.
You could then focus on solutions within your approach to movement. Why not build a therapeutic approach to Movement in your day that alleviates pain, rather than aggravating more pain. One that strengthens you rather than weakens. Energises instead of Fatigues. Supports sleep. Enhances mood. Modulates the immune system. Balances the Autonomic Nervous System……. and so on.
Nobody/thing ‘owns’ Movement
Have you spent a great deal of effort, time, and resources following various movement programs so far, with little progress?
Something that sounds like it should work, has all the answers, is better than all the rest and others have thrived on it. Yet, for you, it just didn’t yield the results you wanted.
It’s tricky and challenging isn’t it?
Well – there ultimately is no magic program or simple solution for all.
But there are some important ways to avoid this pitfall over and over and over again.
It’s essential that we create more freedom around movement. Of course physical freedom, but philosophical freedom too. There just isn’t a one-size-fits-all. A type of exercise that works for everyone. The imperative language of ‘should’ or shouldn’t’ really have no place in our ability to create an approach that achieves our individual goals.
There is absolutely no should or shouldn’t about it at all!
There are some absolutely wonderful and brilliant movement programs and modalities out there. I have trained in some of these, researched and learned about many others and utilised even more. I think the quality of the ideas, principles, delivery and training is getting better and better all the time.
Yet, that does not mean that any single one of these programs or modalities, actually ‘owns’ human movement.
We’ve seen this cause as many challenges as it solves. It’s too rigid. Leaving too many ‘tools in the toolbox’.
We have to be free from just following one way of applying movement to achieve your goals.
What about integrating the ideas. Embracing the different principles. Pulling together the exercises. Assessing and then creating a purely individualised approached towards enhancing your ability to Move?
Don’t follow. Create.
That’s what we value and that’s what we do. With you.
Integrating the Modalities
We’ve long since moved away from working in the conventional way. The classic clinic model.
There are advantages to it and for some practitioners and people it works extremely well. And let’s face it – there is ample choice out there if you need and desire it. Superb institutions, practitioners, techniques and modalities.
But……. it’s simply not for us.
It’s limitations mean that we had to change the way we work.
So that’s exactly what we did. We designed a completely new model and system in order to deliver our service in an inspiring, pioneering, safe and effective way. We simply couldn’t get the results we get without this in place.
So – Why talk about this on a page about ‘Movement’?
Well, that’s because we don’t want a ‘this for that’ approach. We don’t want to get caught in the model of making it about the modality rather than the person and their actual goal.
Otherwise it ends up being about:
- “use exercises and movement therapy if you have back pain”
- “change your diet if you want to lose weight”
- “take these supplements to heal your gut”
- “see a manual therapist if you have joint pain”
- “meditate if you feel stressed”
- “do these vagus nerve exercises, because they are trending”
For us – this is far too one-dimensional. It may work in some cases, but it’s simply setting the bar too low. The ceiling of potential is set in stone (and other analogies). The opportunities are missed left, right and centre.
We prefer to Integrate our modalities and build them in with the focus being how they will enhance the person’s individual function.
We’ll be using Movement alongside Bodywork/Manual Therapy, Functional Medicine, Nutrition, Environment, Circadian Rhythm strategies and more.
The common denominator? The Human body!
The focus again is how each step we take will optimise the function of the human system of systems.
Let’s say the person’s health goal is to solve some digestive system dysfunction like pain, constipation, bloating etc. Well, once we have performed some comprehensive assessments, we could apply some exercises to help this. We can also build the nutritional steps in to help solve this challenge too. The Functional Medicine will give great insight and strategies to heal the gut further and even the structural focus with the manual therapy will play a huge role.
And as another example, if the main health challenge was Fatigue? Well, all of these modalities can help here too. We could be assessing for structural imbalances that affect the nervous system, nutrient deficiencies, energy pathways and cellular (mitochondrial) dysfunction, toxicity, sleep patterns, exercise choice and much more.
So – really, why would we want to limit ourselves to only one of these modalities and opportunities.
We prefer to work with you through a process, guiding you and educating you on everything we know about how to achieve and surpass your optimal health goals.
Work with us. Applying the R-Phases to Movement.
If you are experiencing Chronic Health Challenges – Join us as we teach you the R-Phases of Functional Health.
We’ll include all elements and topics of health through this process. But just imagine even doing this with ‘Movement’ at the very least!
Squeeze the potential from your approach to movement in each phase of Reflection, Reveal, Rewire, Rebalance, Restore and Reintegrate.
Leave no stone unturned.
Movement Case Study
- Martin Integrated Movement in to solve his Chronic Fatigue
- Breathwork for Fatigue challenges.
- Lengthen what is tight, Strengthen what is weak.
- Enhancing symmetry, alignment and posture.
- Improving movement patterns.
- Exercises selected for cultivating, not draining.
- Infant Movement Development Patterns.
- Read all about Martin’s approach to Movement as Medicine
Is movement a missing piece of the puzzle and do you know how your exercise program can:
- improve your digestion and gut health.
- cultivate energy when you are chronically fatigued.
- improve posture and structural alignment.
- alleviate pain and discomfort.
- reset the central nervous system, which controls the functions in your body.
- support quality sleep.
- create better movement patterns.
- reduce inflammation in the body.
- strengthen the stress response.
- achieve safe and effective changes in body composition.
- ramp up detoxification capacity.
- dramatically improve vision.
- enhance athletic performance for strength, power and speed.
- speed up recovery rates from training and competition.
- remove your present ceiling of athletic potential.