Friday, October 23, 2015

Not As Easy To Move As It Used To Be? Think About Structural Integration

I moved to Guilford, Connecticut from Brooklyn in the fall of 2013 to get closer to air, light and water. And a less expensive, more spacious apartment was a big plus. I especially like being near the ocean. Every morning I check out the tide chart that’s posted on the refrigerator and note when high tide will hit Guilford Harbor so I can run down to Jacobs Beach for a quick swim. I’ve enjoyed learning about the tides and like the feeling of moving through my day with a little deeper connection to natural rhythms than in my Brooklyn days. Walking back from a high tide swim recently I met Bob Mahoney, an old fellow I’d often seen walking slowly across the town green. Bob shared with me that he would be going sky-diving next week to celebrate his 80th birthday. I started to suspect that he was full of the Irish blarney when he told me he had finished the New York marathon when he was 76, then four years into his battle with Parkinson’s. Later I did an Internet search for Bob and sure enough, there he was, featured in the Shoreline Times edition of June 30, 2012. Yikes, and here I am, still patting myself on the back for completing my first 5K race in April and this old guy, a number of years my senior, has done the NY marathon while facing a serious neurological condition.

And more: From a recent NY Times article detailing research on athletes competing in the Senior Games I read, “…the results were impressive. While the athletes’ average chronological age was 68, their average fitness age was 43, a remarkable 25 years less…” One of the principal researchers comments, “A majority of the athletes didn’t begin serious training until quite late in life, middle aged or older…so you can start anytime. It’s never too late.”

I don’t think I’m going to start training for the Senior Olympics (I would qualify based on age) but I’m very aware that the more I move, the better I feel and the more I’m inclined to move some more. And I’ve learned that a couple of the most pervasive causes of the stiffness and tightness we associate with aging are gravity and lack of movement. We can’t do much about gravity but we can learn how to move more easily and efficiently in it’s field. A central aspect to my practice of KMI structural integration (a first cousin to rolfing) is to help my clients find and release those stuck spots (that we might not even be conscious of) that we move around, not through. Perhaps we’re compensating for an old injury or poor postural habits or whatever accumulation of traumas that bind tissues together in search of stability. It’s a natural bandaging process that in the short run serves to relieve pain but in the longer run can fix the body in less than healthy movement patterns that may ultimately cycle into chronic pain.

The KMI series is designed to systematically make conscious those impediments to movement and unwind deep holding patterns, always inviting length and breadth and balance. Most clients will experience a sense of “feeling taller” (sometimes they actually are!) and moving more easily. Normally experienced over 12 sessions, it is “project” oriented with each session focusing on a specific goal. Such as mobilizing a stuck ribcage that restricts free breathing patterns, realigning the feet and pelvis for better support, decreasing tension in the neck and back---all in service to gaining a better relationship to gravity and posture.

So if you’re experiencing stiffness or tightness and you like the idea of “a full body tune up” give me a call at 203-809-0036 to schedule a free consultation. I am in the Duffy and Bracken office on Fridays and occasional Thursday afternoons.
RD Hunting, CMT, CST