The balance point – Relax and Heal with Gary

In all things there is a center, a balance point if you will. It is a neutral position where you operate from. It is a “still point” even within motion. Each individual muscle, groups of muscles,and even movement has a balance point. This balance point is homeostatic; and both static and also dynamic at the same time.

In the practice of tai chi there is a position called the wuji position. It is a beginning Posture where you line up the body in a neutral position that takes as little energy to maintain as possible. It is a still point and full of potential. Finding the posture takes work, practice and it can feel very unnatural at first. The irony is that the further “off” the posture feels the further off your “normal” balance point is and the more likely you are to fall prey to illness, and injury.
The Wuji posture teaches you the “static” still point. From there, you learn to move. Slowly paying close attention to how your body’s still point changes. Thus, learning how to maintain the still point in movement. But also how to feel its “dynamic presence” ie the balance point in movement.

When we walk, sit,graph run, climb, fall we are in a balance point. That balance point can operate “out of optimal balance” and most often IS in almost everyone, with very few exceptions. We alter our balance point with every movement. The more practiced or trained you are in creating a proper posture, the closer you keep it to a functioning, non problem causing position. When you  repeatedly utilize a balance point that is outside of your normal unrestrained movement, you set the potential for injury and/or illness. Every person has a different range of a dynamic safe zone. This has mostly to do with activity level. A yoga practitioner is going to have a different safe zone than a couch potato. Musculature operating out of its safe zone will “recruit” connected musculature to reinforce it. Often times in much of the back pain i see, the original “injury” was in the foot or ankle. It then continues to recruit the leg, the thigh, the hips and ultimately the back. The body is so far out of balance and burning so much energy to maintain this bad postural position that pain ensues. Subsequently, therapy to help this body requires relief and realignment of the muscular balance point, in both groups and individual musculature. This usually translates as working everywhere but where the client says the pain is.

I believe MTrP (Myofascial Trigger Points) are an example of the body’s attempt to maintain a balance point more conducive to “ideal” operation. They “lock” the central units of the muscle while still allowing a certain amount of dynamic flexibility for limited function. But that is an article for another time.

Suffice it to say that it is conducive for Bodyworkers to recognize balance points in the body to help it regain its own intrinsic and well functioning operation.

Categories: Massage Therapy and Bodywork and Tai Chi.

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