Body Sense

SPRING | 2018

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8 Body Sense 2 STEP TWO: Ask your massage therapist to help you touch and engage the area you are learning about while holding the image of it in your mind. SEE IT, TOUCH IT, MOVE IT Now that you have a big picture in mind, touch the muscles you are seeing on your own body. For example, if you touch your pectoralis minor muscle with a picture of it in mind, the brain will direct a signal down the neural pathway to the pectoralis minor. Just this simple amount of attention can begin altering how it functions and promote the healing process. Next, have your massage therapist assist you in moving within the range of motion of the joint that the muscles are acting upon. Or, you could simply contract and relax a specific muscle, or group of muscles, that work together with your massage therapist's guidance. Seeing, feeling, and now moving the area will create profound effects. Commonly, pain resides in an area that is otherwise ignored, thus the reason for pain. Pain is the body's SOS signal. Yet, far too often the call for help is ignored. Giving attention and directing the senses to an area of pain causes a near-immediate reduction in its intensity. I asked the doctor to show me the MRI and explain how the disk bulged, how the nerves came off the spine, and how the muscles stiffened around the injured area. My entire plan was to use this information to envision how my body currently was, and then imagine the area changing and returning back to a healthy state. Even if you aren't seeing a doctor for your pain, your massage therapist can help you learn about what is going on inside your body. Below are three steps for using images and visual meditation to support the unwinding of dysfunctional patterns in your body. 1 STEP ONE: Ask your massage therapist to show you pictures of the bones and muscles in your area of concern and explain how they work. REQUEST A LESSON IN "BIG PICTURE" ANATOMY You can easily tell your therapist where it hurts, but you don't necessarily understand why it hurts, or the domino effect one area can have on nearby and distant structures. When you see an image of the muscles that are present at your reported area of pain and are offered context for how the area functions with nearby muscles, you can tune in and support healthy function. Your massage therapist might use online programs such as Primal Pictures, textbooks with clear and colored pictures, muscle charts, and trigger-point charts to educate you. They might even have skeleton, spine, or joint models you can touch and feel.

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