Movement Therapy – Going With The Flow By Ric Chamberlin, LMT
According to Socrates "The universe is motion and nothing else." Modern physics tells us everything is in a constant state of motion. A dictionary listing for the word movement shows references to science, transportation, the arts, biology, social studies, politics, and more.
In the world of healing movement has been used since perhaps the beginning of time. Today there exists many forms of therapy that involve movement in some way. The list is too long to even present here let alone describe each. Instead let’s look at some aspects of how movement can impact your well- being and to present a few simple techniques you can use.
In some cases of injury or illness the medical advice we receive is to limit our movement, at least of the effected area. However more times than not, for the sake of wellness, we are told to 'get out and get moving'. The benefits are many. Most of us understand that moving can improve our strength and flexibility as well providing cardiovascular benefits.
Consider these other factors:
Blood Circulation Our blood carries vital nutrients to all of our tissues. Inactivity can cause blood flow to stagnate. Moving our bodies facilitates blood circulation.
Energy Circulation We are energetic beings. We need our energy to flow freely through our bodies for us to feel vital. As with blood our energy can become stagnant when we are inactive. A common complaint I hear from clients in my office is often that it feels like something is stuck in a certain part of their body. This can be due to many factors such as physical stress, emotional issues, or even feeling disconnected. Movement, both gentle and flowing or vigorous and spontaneous, can help facilitate freeing blocked energy and allow it to flow freely through the body.
Lymphatic Circulation Our lymph contains the waste products from our cells. They flow, in their own circulatory system, back to the heart where they can be mixed with our blood and then processed by our organs. Our lymphatic system does not have it's own pump like the heart which pumps our blood. Lymph can only move in three ways: a) Muscle contraction b) Movement c) Massage By moving we facilitate the flow of lymph and help keep fluids from building up.
Meditation / Self Awareness / Self Expression Many of us find it difficult to clear our mind of the chaos of the day and focus on a simple thought. It's easy to get distracted. Movement, especially when gentle and flowing, gives us something to "do" that is easy to become one with, allowing us to shift into a "being" state. In shifting our focus to our whole being we also gain awareness of ourselves. When moving spontaneously we tap into our creative side, allowing our deeper thoughts and feelings to express themselves.
So what kind of movement is appropriate for you? Here are just a few simple techniques that can incorporate any or all of the benefits listed above.
Walking One of the simplest forms of exercise is still one of the best. Movement of the legs and arms facilitates lymph flow as well as blood and energy circulation. It also provides cardiovascular benefits. Walking outside gives us an opportunity to enjoy nature. Walking can also be meditative. When we walk slowly without a sense of urgency, not concerned with getting from point A to point B, it frees us from "doing" and allows us to "be". It becomes easier to recognize our place in the universe.
Dancing Dancing comes in many forms. Sometimes it requires specific steps in a certain order. For me it simply involves moving my body to music I enjoy. It can be vigorous movement to vigorous music or gentle, flowing movement to soft music or even to the music of nature (birds, insects, wind, etc.). Either way we are allowed to let go of external concerns and tap into a deeper part of ourselves, allowing the deeper part to express itself. Vigorous dance helps burn off excess or nervous energy and taps into a primal force. Gentle, flowing dance helps us slow down and feel more balanced in our whole being.
Qigong Qigong is the Chinese art of energy enhancement. Most forms of Qigong involve simple, gentle movement often times done in conjunction with visualization. There are too many forms to discuss here but the example below can provide a starting point. For more information on beginning Qigong see the book The Healer Within or visit The Healer Within website.
Qigong Stand with your feet hips width apart, arms hanging at your sides. As you slowly inhale raise your arms, palms down, to shoulder height. Exhale as you allow your arms to sink back down. As you lower your arms allow your knees to bend slightly. Repeat this at least three times or as many times as you wish. The benefits include improved energy flow and a calming of the mind.
Walking Take a walk outdoors. This could be at a beautiful park or in your neighborhood. As you walk take slower steps than you normally would. Let go of any sense of having to do anything. Just allow yourself to move while you recognize your oneness with your surroundings.
Spontaneous Movement This is similar to dance. Put on some gentle music, something that is more flowing and less rhythmic. Start moving your arms slowly in a random, flowing manner. The goal is to allow your body to flow where it wants to rather than where you think it should. Just nudge your arms in a certain direction and ask if that's where the want to go. If it feels like they do than let them go that way. If not try a different direction. Let you legs and body follow. If you get really good at this you may feel guided to move each part of your body a different way. Even if you don't feel guided to flow a certain direction don't be concerned. Just keep moving gently and go with the flow.
There is no right or wrong to these exercises. Simply tune into to the patterns of movement that are inside you and in the universe around you and go with the flow.
Ric Chamberlin Registered Practitioner - Society of Ortho-Bionomy International ® Licensed Massage Therapist - State of Nebraska The Healing Connection 900 S 74th Plaza, Suite 116, Omaha, NE 68114 402 850 0752