The wonder of connective tissue – every move you make can either heal or harm

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The wonder of connective tissue – every move you make can either heal or harm

In over 30 years working with people and their bodies in physiotherapy, my appreciation of the body, its own innate intelligence and the way it heals itself, grows and grows.

When training in physiotherapy you learn to observe the way people move, which is a big part of analysing a physical problem, so you can treat it to restore balance and pain free movement in an affected part of the body.

That approach can be very mechanical – ‘there is a problem so this is how you fix it’. This approach does not support the person to reconnect to their body and its deep quality of gentleness, which helps the body come back to a natural vitality and wellbeing.

Over the last 15 years I have been studying and working with the body’s connective tissue also known as fascia) and learning how important it is for our body’s vitality, organ health and balance, and our fluid pain free movement. The connective tissue is the fundamental tissue of the body; it is in our organs, our brain, nervous system as well as our muscles, bones, ligaments and fat.

Did you know your blood is fluid connective tissue?

In its ideal nature our connective tissue is fluid and flexible, allowing important nutrients and substances to go to specific parts of the body to maintain all our body systems. This tissue is incredibly sensitive and responsive and it communicates what is going on in our bodies from our cells to our fingertips. When we move in a hard, driven way, e.g we push ourselves to finish a task even though our body is tired and has had enough or we have sustained emotional stress, the connective tissue hardens and is less fluid. This loss of fluidity causes compression on the affected area that can lead to pain and dysfunction in the body. Moving gently and rhythmically supports the connective tissue to stay fluid and flexible. In other words, we can heal ourselves or harm ourselves by the way we move – it really is as simple as that.

There are many, many people not moving in a gentle, fluid, pain free way; they have stiff painful joints, muscles or degenerated spines, with many suffering from arthritis.

You only have to go to the supermarket and even the gyms to see how people move, pick up objects, push and pull weights with their bodies hard and out of balance. People are walking around with grey listless skin, sunken chests and often leaning over to one side limping. Many people are walking like cardboard cut-outs, completely devoid of their natural flow. What happened to that vital flowing body we were all born with? It does not matter how old you are, you can still have a flow in your movements and a spring in your step.

Over the years, while treating hundreds of people in chronic pain with stiff and out-of-whack bodies, I have learned much from them as to what moving and breathing gently does for the body.

One of the beautiful things about the body is that it is very responsive when you do treat it more gently and you do move more gently. The fascia/connective tissue softens and becomes more fluid, which decreases any compression in the body part affected. Moving gently from sitting to standing, in and out of bed, in and out of your car, walking from room to room, are all ways you can give your body a ‘grease and oil change’.

You can even do a whole gym workout moving gently. The typical way of exercising is to push hard in every session and feel tense in the body, often straining soft tissue resulting in injuries that can take a long time to heal. Bringing awareness to how you move supports the connective tissue to be more flowing, creating ease in movements and revitalizing your body.


DISCLAIMER

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    By Kate Greenaway, BAppSc (Physiotherapy), Post.Grad.Dip.Occ.H (Physiotherapy)

    I am a 53 year old woman passionate about supporting people to understand the natural intelligence and healing abilities of the body and how they can support this, return to natural vitality and well-being and enjoy their body again.