Whole Body Integration
When rehabbing from an injury or surgery, the primary focus is typically placed on the surgical area or the part of the body that is experiencing pain. However, consider the movements we make in our everyday activities, recreation and sports. It doesn’t really make sense to only focus on one part of the body. Even as you sit (or stand) reading this paragraph, all of your body is working to hold your head up, direct your eyes, and support the movement of your hands and fingers.
All of the body works all of the time, and all parts of the body are equally important for healthy movement and function. We may not be fully aware of the small automatic whole body adjustments we make throughout the day. But these whole body responses enable us to move with ease and vitality. The continuous and often undetectable fine tuning that occurs in all of our activities is often lost or disrupted when we experience pain, injury or surgery. A critical component of successfully restoring full function is to engage a whole body integration approach to movement health.
For many, a healthy body may simply be the absence of pain, disease or physical ailments. We see it as a state of optimal health and well-being that goes beyond just the lack of something. To be well implies qualities such as vitality, vibrancy, confidence, high mental and emotional capacity, and physical resilience and power.
Our bodies are complex frameworks. No part functions by itself. No part is more important than another. Our body parts do not work independently. Understanding and experiencing these connections is an essential component of whole body integration and feeling the benefits of vibrant health.
The Cost of Convenience
We no longer have to move to survive. Modern culture teaches us to think of technology as convenient and time-saving and because of this, we lose access to fully integrated, whole body movements that our ancestors engaged in on a daily basis. It is now possible to find shelter, eat, shop and connect from the comfort of our couch. But this convenience comes at a high price.
According to the World Health Organization, “sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety”.