USING YOUR NEUROMUSCULAR SYSTEM TO CHANGE BRAIN CHEMISTRYCategory: Newsworthy Notes
Because all your movement patterns were put into the computer of your brain when you were a baby, the neuromuscular system is entirely unconscious. What this means is, when you have an intention such as reaching for something or bending down to pick something up from the floor, you don’t think about or ponder the best way to do it. You just do it. Then after many years of easily being able to bend and reach, suddenly you’re too stiff or you’re in pain when you try to do these same actions. You write it off to age and/or just another Parkinson’s symptom. The reality is that it could be either of those, but most often, at least part of the equation, is the fact that your body, over time, has been subtly, unconsciously compensating and adjusting to bad postural habits, repetitive movement, injuries, surgeries and, last but not least, internal stress.
Our muscles get tight when we get “uptight”. Bottom line, over time we embody our psyche. Think about how many times a day you feel a little disappointed, resentful, frustrated, annoyed or angry. All of that is and has been creating PATTERNS of constriction or compression in your neuromuscular system your whole life. And long-held attitudes and emotions can turn your genes on or off, profoundly affecting your brain chemistry. We are all doing it to one degree or another. If you’re interested in a deeper look into this subject I highly recommend reading The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton. I also recommend reading Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement by Katy Bowman, M.S.
“So, how do we change what we don’t even know we’re doing?” I’m so glad you asked. The Feldenkrais Method is one way. It literally is neuromuscular re-education. How it works is that the technique uses the same “language” as your neuromuscular system which is pressure or gravity. From the time you were in your mother’s womb building your body to the moment you pass from this life, gravity or pressure going through your tissues and systems is the information base that tells your brain where you are in space. You have what’s called nerve receptors in your ankles, feet and elsewhere that are wired all over your brain. That’s HOW your body knows what to lengthen and contract to allow you to bend and reach, etc.
Moshe Feldenkrais was a physicist and engineer living in Israel when he discovered how to heal his knee injury from a soccer accident in his youth. He went on his own journey of discovery when doctors told him surgery may or may not heal his knee and for the last 40 years of his life he did this work. I was in the last training he did before he passed. The individual sessions are called Functional Integration which is a very gentle process of applying subtle pressure into your tissues to stimulate your brain to course-correct and release long-held tension in muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. There are also group classes called Awareness Through Movement. More about this in future Newsletters.