Who does not want to live a pain free life?
I would love to be able to get under the 220 kg deadlift that I did in my 20’s and 30’s and grind out a 1 rep max with slightly dubious form and still get away with it. I would love to take to the judo mat, knowing that a tough fight would not leave my sacroiliac joints screaming as my body cooled down on the cycle ride home.
Some where along the journey from being a bouncing resiliant baby that could fall on its bottom and rebound like a rubber ball we all start to loose the wiggle room that allows us to compensate and adapt to the stresses and strains that our teenage frames would have shaken off effortlessly. What happened along the way? Is stiffness and pain an inevitable outcome of getting older? Is the role of therapy in all it’s guises to patch up the holes as our ship slowly starts to let in water?
While studying osteopathy I was introduced to the idea of the optimal health continuum. I want you to imagine a horizontal line with death at one end and optimal health at the other (I promise this post will get cheerier). One end we know is inevitable and I guess the other one could be infinite in length, however humour me and lets give them both a marker. To the left is where the body finally ceases to function, while on the right is a picture of you with boundless energy, glowing with light, free from emotional and physical pain and full of endless possibilities (sounds good eh?)
If we go to the middle I want you to place another marker. This is the pivot on the see-saw. This is the place between pain and pleasure, where the body is no longer able to compensate and pain makes its cameo appearance. I see people in my practice who have been teetering on the tight rope of their body’s natural healing capabilities until a gust of wind sends them off balance and their normal adaptability gets disrupted. People see me when they have ‘dis-ease’ and they are asking for help.
The role of the therapist
So what is the role of the therapist? Is it to nudge back the pivot point that enables the tight rope walker to regain their balance or is it to facilitate a pathway that is wider, less precarious and with more options? Is it actually their job to intervene and take the wheel of the patient’s vehicle, or is it to be the voice on the sat nav that helps them stay firmly in the driving seat and navigate the twists and turns of their own journey?
My journey into osteopathy and a desire to understand this wonderful vehicle of ours was sparked by a therapist who guided me on my journey and prompted me to ask questions about myself. She taught me to observe my pain with curiosity, instead of living it. She gave me the tools to become empowered and not dependant on her treatment.
As a personal trainer I used to see people 2-3 times a week, week in week out, and in that time people would change both aesthetically as well as from a health perspective. Clients woud emerge from their shells and become more confident, movement patterns would be forged and aching niggles would start to drop away. There was a distinct correlation between time spent training and results achieved as we pushed them further along the continuum to optimal health. As I have ventured down the road of osteopathy and therapy, I have become increasingly aware that most of my patients are more transient. Once pain has left the building so do my patients. In other words we have a short window of oppertunity to nudge them past the fulcrum and back onto the tight rope. I give all my patients exercise and home work which they video on their phones with the intention of 5 minutes of movement medicine a day, but we are all guilty of life getting the better of us and before we know it the habit is broken before it ever began.
Fusing the two
With this in mind I and my good friend Ulric created Movement Geeks. We wanted to throw our full skill set into helping people move with less pain, more efficiency and greater skill. We wanted to bridge the gap between balancing on a tight rope to the boundless energy side of the spectrum. We wanted to ignite a passion within people to regain their youthful bounce and to forge pathways via which they could express their creativity and energy. We wanted to inspire people to not just settle for surviving in a place of ‘dis-ease’ but rather to flourish and be the best that they could. We wanted to create an environment where therapy did not finish after a couple of weeks and where reducing symptoms was not the ultimate goal but merely a stepping stone on the journey to optimal health.
There are plenty of exciting plans in the pipeline over the next few months so we will keep you all posted as they occur. In the mean time we have just created our new spine exploration workshop which is going to be an incredible 3 hours of movement and interactive anatomy, that reintroduces you with your body and gives you the tools to take control.
We would love to see you there to share our passion and to join us on our journey.