Functional movement is the new buzzword in fitness circles, but what is it actually? This is how I have seen it being used so far:
I've just done a course that has blown my mind in terms of what functional movement is.
Joanne Elphinston is an Australian-trained physiotherapist who has come up with a different way of how we construct movement by going all the way back to proprioception - simply put, does your brain know where your body is in space?
You may think this is too basic, but I tried this with my dodgy left ankle and realised, when I touch the outside of my foot, I feel it both on the outside and inside of my foot! Freak out moment! So, one reason I keep re-injuring my ankle is because my brain doesn't know which side of my foot is in contact with the floor.
Joanne showed us lots of cool ways we can re-engage this brain to body connection, as well as postural cues to help muscles, joints and ligaments work more efficiently together. It's dovetails nicely with a central tenet of osteopathy, that the body functions as one unit. While there still is a role for strengthening and stretching, it is more important to ask, "why is this structure overused and how can we get other structures to share the load?" Are there other ways to move but the brain is avoiding them out of fear or poor body awareness?
I will be practicing these techniques on myself, and am happy to keep everyone updated on my progress, but do get in touch if you are keen to give this a go for your niggles.
Here is one simple exercise you can try:
Go down on all 4s, the starting position for cat and camel. Often, we can hold too much tension in our neck and mid back. Now, imagine you are a kitten (or lion cub), being picked up gently by the scruff of your neck by the mama cat. Feel how you automatically relax through your chest and neck? Meow!