Resolutions, habits and the body

So much of what we do is habit, unconscious action.  And thank goodness, because otherwise so much effort would be needed, so much remembered, to go about our simple yet complex daily activities.  The new year is a time of resolutions.  A time when we consciously try and change our habits.  I have seen over the years that our posture, our way of moving in the world is a place where people can often flex the habit changing muscle.  Pain can be an effective motivator and bodywork can be a way to gain insight.

An example.  I worked recently with a woman who had a bad case of tendonitis in her elbow.  We did some soft tissue work on the inflamed tendons but also during the session noticed that her palm was tight on that hand.  She reported a limitation in sensation in that hand- like things were further away when she touched them.  During the session I coached her in opening up the sensory channels of her palm. As she did the tension in her forearms relaxed.  We had small_367363319found a habit.  A habit of clenching and not feeling as much with that hand.  After the session she went away with the homework of paying attention to her palm and to keep it soft even when grasping the bucket handle or lifting the firewood.  Over the next couple sessions the inflammation reduced and the pain went away.  But more importantly she changed a habit.  She learned how to keep the center of her palm soft while working and in doing that felt more and used less effort.  This simple change supported the specific soft tissue work so she can go on with her life and work with a much smaller chance of reinjury.

With this new year I think we can learn from the example of the soft palm.  A small change, committed to and achieved, can over time make big changes in our lives.

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