Motion is Life!
Dane Roubos, D.C. http://www.BodyMindPeace.com
Appropriate movement is essential for healthy tissues and organs. Everyone is familiar with the need for exercise. It helps to lubricate our joints, strengthen our muscles, and improve circulation of our blood and lymph. Exercise causes release of endorphins, our own natural “feel-good” hormones. It is great for depression, lethargy and that general “stagnant swamp” feeling.
What I want to tell you about here is the need for motion, not only of our tissues, but between them. In order to function normally, our muscles, organs, nerves and vessels must all be able to glide freely alongside each other as we move.
“Nature abhors a vacuum, but fears immobility even more. Motion is a sign of life itself. . . From the infinitely large to the infinitesimally small, life is always in motion. . . Everything in the universe is in motion, whether of large or small amplitude, of high or low velocity.Jean-Pierre Barral, D.O., Visceral Manipulation
What Holds Us All Together
All our tissues are enveloped and held together by the transparent connective tissue called fascia. If you’ve ever prepared a chicken for cooking, you’ve probably seen this thin, transparent tissue enveloping each group of muscle.
If you haven’t seen fascia, you could envision it as a complex sheet of plastic food wrap that enfolds and connects every tissue in our bodies. Through the fascia, everything in our bodies is interconnected and interrelated.
Injury Causes Scar Tissue
When these tissues are damaged, they usually lose their capacity for normal movement. Damage occurs in many different ways, including surgery, tears due to injuries, repetitive stress (small tears repeated over time), breaks (ruptured ligaments, tendons & fractured bones), and damage from infection or other causes of inflammation.
All tissue injuries result in the formation of scar tissue. Auto accidents are notorious for causing this type of damage. The body creates scar tissue to knit itself back together, which is part of the normal healing process.
But there’s often a side-effect from scar tissue. Since its purpose is to glue torn things back together, it commonly binds tissues that weren’t meant to be attached to each other. This can happen any time there’s inflammation, which affects all the tissues surrounding an injury. The fascia, which I mentioned earlier is very susceptible to scar tissue adhesions.
Infections in the chest, abdomen or pelvis, and conditions such as endometriosis commonly leave behind significant scar tissue. Physical injuries and surgery are also frequent causes. Whenever scar tissue glues things together that nature intended to be freely movable, there’s likely to be trouble!
Try this Self-Demonstration!
This will give you a “first-hand” experience of the problem:
- Look at the palm side of your hand (with fingers together) and notice where the tips of your fingers are in relationship to each other. The middle one’s the longest, right?
- Now, keeping your fingers straight, bend them as a unit where they join your hand to make a 90 degree angle with your palm. Compare your finger tips again – looks different, doesn’t it?
- Now bend them back and forth and notice how they slide alongside each other, especially the middle, ring and pinkie fingers. Your tissues must be able to glide freely like this in order to function normally.
- Here’s the clincher. Grasp your four fingers with your other hand, squeezing them together with a couple pounds of pressure. Now, using your finger muscles, try to bend them like you did before, allowing the squeezing hand to follow along. Do you feel the resistance?
- Alternate squeezing and releasing your fingers to appreciate the difference it makes. Without the ability to slide freely past each other, movement is difficult and they can’t make it through their normal range of motion!
Adhesions Mess with Your Mojo
This is what happens in your body when scar tissue binds up the fascia between two organs, around an injured joint, or within a muscle. Adhesions change the mechanics of how your body, or an organ, moves. Like they say, it’s a drag!
Because everything is interconnected, if a muscle, nerve or organ is glued down, it will likely cause problems someplace else in addition to locally. Pain and inflammation are a common result of adhesions and abnormal mechanics. To learn more about pain and it’s many causes click here: all about pain.
In our example, there is not only a problem locally in your hand, but eventually there would be problems in your forearm, when the muscles eventually become strained from trying to move your fingers. Resulting strain in your forearm could then cause a shoulder problem, and so on, like a domino effect that began with a little scar tissue between your fingers.
Spine & Joint Health
The same principle holds true in your spine, and all the joints in your body. Your spinal cord must be able to glide freely up and down as you bend and move. Your spine needs elastic ligaments around its joints to maintain healthy function.
If joints become restricted anywhere in your body, it creates abnormal motion, causes wear, and irritates the nerves and surrounding tissues. A Chiropractic technique called Motion Palpation is very good at identifying these joint fixations.
Since everything in your body is interconnected through the fascia, scar tissue or restrictions in one area will eventually affect other parts of your body as well. Visceral Mobilization and CranioSacral Therapy are particularly effective in locating and releasing areas of restriction in the body’s soft tissues.
Your Organs Move, Too!
All our visceral organs (lungs, liver, kidneys, etc) naturally dance a slow-motion rock ‘n roll, back and forth. It’s a subtle remnant of their embryonic journey, and an expression of their life and vitality. If an organ is stressed or restricted in some way, its motion will be dampened, altered or absent altogether.
This change is detectable to those trained in Visceral Mobilization. In most cases, it’s relatively easy to restore the lost motion with gentle techniques. This correction is important for two reasons. First, the organs function best when their visceral motion is full and complete. They’re just happier that way!
Secondly, the organs are suspended from ligaments which attach to the spine. If an organ like the liver is restricted or otherwise stressed, the resulting tension is often transmitted to the spine, and will often cause fixation and irritation there as well.
When I was first learning Visceral Mobilization, I saw a client who was unable to lift her legs off the table because of pain and weakness in her lower back. We were able to clear 50% of it, trying all my tricks that usually worked for such things. Then, restoring a single lost motion of her liver immediately cleared the remaining pain. Her strength returned and she was able to lift both legs off the table with ease. All this occurred in the same visit. We were both surprised!
Your Body Has a Memory
Do you remember the times you fell down the stairs, wiped out skiing, sprained your ankle, hit your head on the bottom of the pool, or got in a car accident? Your body does! Not only is there some scar tissue left behind, but your tissues actually have a memory of traumatic events. As with the rest of the body, the organs can also carry old energies or emotions. The fact that each organ maintains its embryonic movement pattern suggests that the tissues do indeed have a memory.
Deepak Chopra, the well-known medical doctor and author, teaches that we live in a “holographic universe,” wherein every part reflects the whole. He states that every cell in our bodies remembers everything that’s ever happened to us. Visceral Mobilization and CranioSacral Therapy are two techniques that can help you release the energy held in your tissues from old traumas.
Your Natural Ability to Heal
Your body has a natural ability to heal itself when restrictions are released and balance restored. Just as your body carries memories of old trauma, it also has a memory of normal, balanced function. Living things have an innate ability to heal themselves when they are given a chance. All natural methods of health care and healing depend on this natural ability.
Visceral Mobilization gives us the ability to address hidden problems like scar tissue restrictions between visceral organs, ligaments or membranes, and old tissue memories. As we have seen, these “hidden” factors have a powerful influence on the way our bodies function. Visceral Mobilization and CranioSacral Therapy can help locate and remove many of these hidden influences, thus supporting our innate healing ability and giving our bodies a chance to heal.