Every day I wonder at how much people put up with pain, tightness and other symptoms. It seems that the human race has developed the ability to prioritise virtually anything else in their lives to avoid having to take responsibility for their own health.
Of course, if you are already practising yoga, you are way ahead of many other people in this respect and I am probably preaching to the converted. But I would still like to tell you a bit about your body and how you can help it.
Each one of the 37.2 trillion cells in your body is connected and held in place by a continuous web of connective tissue fibres – the myofascia. This 3D network gives you strength, flexibility and stability meaning that no part of the body exists in isolation. The myofascia solidifies and shortens in response to any kind of trauma, repetition of movement or ongoing poor posture. It will slowly tighten, spreading tension throughout your whole body.
As we are so good at compensating, most people don’t notice their bodies gradually getting tighter. We accept that aches and pains develop and don’t seek treatment for them. A lot of the time we carry on tying ourselves in knots without any major problems.
As your myofascia tightens, it puts increasing pressure on nerve endings (up to 2000 lb/sq.inch), which then cause pain and other symptoms such as numbness and tingling. It can also upset your autonomic nervous system which regulates the function of our internal organs and affects things such as our heart rate, blood pressure and digestion.
It has been shown that by sustaining a slow gentle stretch at the point of resistance, the fascia is able to open, releasing the tissue and reducing pressure on the cells and nerve endings. This approach will allow you to work with your body rather than against it and you will get much more out of your yoga practice.
Some things to think about when you are next in a yoga class:
- Feel your way in – your body won’t necessarily be capable of moving the same way as last time
- Hold at your barrier – if you force past your body’s resistance, it will tighten up to protect itself
- Wait for the release – give your tissues time to change and open up
- Follow your body – this is harder in a class setting, but if you are able to, try focussing your next pose on wherever you feel tightness.
Have you ever thought about your pelvic alignment? Your pelvis is made up of 2 bones. They meet at the sacrum at the back and the pubis at the front. All the muscles attaching into these bones are big and strong. If you have any injury or scar tissue anywhere in your body, it can cause your muscles to tighten. They then pull on the pelvic bones causing them to rotate.
This normally happens over a period of time, so you probably wouldn’t notice it. It can even be caused by your own birth if it was traumatic. Once your pelvis has rotated it fixes in that position; every cell in your body then has to compensate for the fact that the core part of your body is in the wrong position.
This can lead to a lot of common symptoms that tend to gradually creep up. These include:
- Tennis elbow
- Carpel Tunnel syndrome
- Back & neck problems
- Pelvic pain
If you think that your pelvis may be rotated, then it is worth getting it checked and corrected to prevent problems in the future.
Many conditions can be very difficult to treat because most approaches only address the symptoms. Myofascial Release is a gentle hands-on treatment that was developed by American Physiotherapist John Barnes. It enables the therapist to find and treat the cause of the problem (often elsewhere in the body), leading to long-lasting results. In the majority of cases, the cause is linked to pelvic rotation as well as old areas of restriction.
Holisticare is an award-winning, world-class therapy practice, specialising in Myofascial Release. All of Holisticare’s therapists are experts in the technique, making them one of the few specialist centres in Europe.
Obviously Myofascial Release can’t cure everything but there is a good chance that it can make a difference to most symptoms that people present with. Many of Holisticare’s patients have tried lots of different therapies with limited success before they come to us. By working with their bodies, we are able to help conditions that are often hard to treat.
The Holisticare Treatment Centre was purpose built and is wheelchair accessible with free parking next to the building. It is located in Hatfield Broad Oak, near Bishop’s Stortford.