What is Movement Therapy?
Movement is part of the human experience. Whether running a marathon or just trying to make it up the bedroom steps without knee pain, it is through our body that we’re interacting with the world. True health, strength, and vitality comes from exploring our full movement potential. To achieve our peak physical potential, we have to be able to move like a natural human–balancing, jumping, running, throwing, carrying, climbing, crawling…
Through Movement Therapy, I work with clients in a personal training and coaching session to change their relationship with pain, build functional strength for everyday life, and achieve greater freedom from the cycles of pain and injury. I move beyond typical personal training by utilizing a more holistic approach to overall movement, working in elements of massage, pilates, yoga, natural movement (movnat), and much more.
It’s important to study anatomy with movement in mind–much of what we know about the body comes from studying and mapping dead bodies, and dead people don’t move very well. When we add movement into our 2D knowledge of anatomy, we achieve a 3-dimensional perspective on what it means to truly function well in the world. We cannot fully function or heal without actually moving. With this holistic approach in mind, we can work together to reduce pain, improve form, and keep you active and moving well into your nineties.
A Lifetime of Movement
How do you want to move when you’re 90? Do you want to be able to get up off the floor with ease? Pick up your grandkids? Balance easily without fear of falling? Can you do these things now?
All of these are movement skills. If you don’t have this skillset now, you definitely won’t have them later. One big secret of movement is that when you don’t use it, you’ll literally lose it.
It’s important to explore the full potential of movement throughout your lifetime so that you can move well and age well. This is especially true now in the age of sitting for long hours in front of our technological achievements.
Unfortunately, most people lose their movement as they get older. They become more cautious and conservative, and over time, their range of motion shrinks. This is not the way it is meant to be.
You are a natural human mover. The time is now to re-engage with what that means. Move like a human.
Are you feeling unsteady and fearful around movement? I begin with small safe movements and teaching you how to open into fuller ranges of the human experience. I focus on movement quality, efficiency, competency, skill, and safety. I’m less concerned with whether you can do it, but more concerned with what you can do it well.
Freedom from Pain
Pain is often a manifestation of choice. Once we identify the “why you hurt”, we can begin to change the choices you are making around movement. It’s incredibly important to move well with good form. Receiving support and feedback from a coach can make a world of difference. The bottom line is, if you learn to move well, you’re going to experience less pain. If you move poorly (poor form), eventually, over 10, 20, 30 or more years, it is going to hurt to move.
Clients often tell me that they’d like to be more fit or active, but previous injuries, painful workout experiences, or fear of pain and injury holds them back. If pain, is affecting how you move, it’s important to identify the root cause and that you can keep moving. I assess my client’s movement to find the “why” they experience pain, and teach them how to restore the missing movement pieces to improve movement quality and bringing back full pain-free function.
Contrary to popular belief, It’s rarely the movements we do too much of that causes pain. In my experience, it is the movements we don’t do enough. During our sessions, I look at how you move and observe where your body isn’t moving well, and then together we use specific exercises to bring those movements back into your body. If you can’t drop into a deep resting squat, an incredibly important human skill for example, we can break that movement down into its smallest fundamental progressions in order to rebuild and restore the skill of squatting. Once you’ve got the skill, we can continue to build on that and eventually add in strength and conditioning elements.
Be Strong To Be Helpful
I believe that the skill of healthy natural movement enables us to be strong and helpful in the world. To be of service to others. This is a mindset that flips the current fitness culture on it’s head. Too many “fitness” programs revolve around vanity rather than function. If our fitness is primarily designed around selfies and looking fit and strong, chances are, it will lack depth and function. It is possible to have the outside look of being strong and fit, but beneath the surface lack competent function.
Looking good is great, but being strong to be helpful has more impact (and is more sustainable). Fitness in our culture has become too contained, too artificial–we want to be fit so that we can feel good in the gym environment. But the true fitness necessary in the real world doesn’t exist in a gym. If my neighbors or family need me to be there for safety or support, I want to be able and capable to really serve them. Pushing a car, getting someone to safety who has fallen on the trail, saving someone from a fire, running to catch a child who is in danger–these are the real moments that our fitness is truly tested.
Our current fitness culture focuses on conditioning–high intensity workouts to burn calories and promote weight loss, with very little focus on quality movement or skill. That approach may lead to a quick fix, but it will also most likely lead to injury that will sabotage the hard work you’ve done. Movement Therapy, on the other hand, focuses on movement restoration and exploration. We start with good, intentional form, then add in skill and quality, and finally move on to conditioning only when we’ve established solid skill and good form.