Any movement to the body will either help of hinder us. This will depend on the condition of the tissue, the health of the person plus the environment (in other words the allostatic load). As Hippocrates said: “Food is either your medicine or your poison”. The same goes for movement. There is no such thing as a bad exercise, only a badly prescribed exercise or movement. Pilates is always sold in national newspapers as the best thing for bad backs. The thing is everyone is different. I would say a large majority of people who I have taught over the years have definitely maintained a healthier body, mindset and spine by doing the low load moves that I have given them. There are always a percentage that have chronic pain that need to look at the body holistically in order to heal. For these people the Pilates repertoire has been a hindrance. They are not suitable for group programming and need to work one to one on diet, lifestyle and stress responses.
The body is like a bathtub, everything falls into it. If there is no drainage system, it gets full till injury or dis-ease occur. When we go into a period of stress, the body moves from homeostasis to allostasis. So, if we are lifting heavy weights, doing a circuit, sitting in traffic, and late for the school run, the pressure in the body reaches boiling point. Every system in the body talks to the other systems. Hence the image above:
We must take into consideration the other aspects of the body. This is known as the allostatic load. The image below is from ‘Ghost in the machine’ research paper and clearly shows all the consideration that must be considered with anybody with any condition. We cannot afford to have a linear approach anymore. We are physical, emotional and spiritual beings. A cookie cut approach is always what we crave but is like putting a plaster on a rubber dingy. You never solve the problem long term.
When clients enquire to the studio, they are always taken through a phone consult. They are never thrown into sessions. The best way to enter the studio is through a four-hour chek consult. This means that we assess rather than guess. We subjectively and objectively look at everything in and around the body, from movement, specific measurements to sleep.
Top take away tip- Decompress your spine
Decompression can not only enhance performance but help you maintain a healthy spine. Sitting down increase spinal load and compression by 40%. Lying down supine decrease load by 25-35%. Most of us will have a faulty breath pattern disorder, incorrect curvatures of the spine and poor core stability due to a number of allostatic factors. As we naturally inhale, we build more length in the spine reducing cervical and lumbar curves. As we exhale the spine goes back to its orientation. Remember there is no direct blood supply to the discs and your discs get nourished through pumping and breathing.
The average person breathes 25,900 thousand times a day. If you have a healthy spine with normal curves you will optimal pumping of body fluids. To decompress your spine, simply lie on your back, preferable on a foam roller and take a chin tuck.
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Paul Chek blogs