In the bodywork and exercises that we use in our work, I often feel we are simply undoing what people have done to themselves. Most of our clients didn’t have an accident. Rather, they developed a painful condition gradually, often times without a known reason. Postural pain, as well as joint and muscle pain, are often the result of unknowingly tensing or activating muscles that don’t need to be working or are working too much for the demand. Herniated discs, sciatica, arthritis pain, and rotator cuff problems are all just examples that are influenced by this issue. To a large degree, our work in helping people to restore pain-free movement involves freeing up stiff tissues in joints. But then we need to teach people how to “relax” their muscles. “Release” may be a better term, as we want our clients to release the excessive tension and muscle activation—not have muscles go totally soft.
“Good posture” is not a held position; it is free of excessive tension. You can see this kind of freedom in action in a master glassblower. They move smoothly and effortlessly, free of excessive tension as they work with the glass. We are often involved in teaching people to “release” their excessive muscle tension and “get out of their own way.” It can be learned. To that end, we have added a Qigong movement class on the weekends taught by Peter Payne, who is a master at teaching people how to “get out of their own way.” Check out the videos at Cioffredi.com/Qigong.
Billy Cioffredi, PT