I took a wonderful course this weekend which focused on the fluidity of the spine, evoking our aquatic days. Undulation, a technique for spinal bodywork, is based in structural integration modalities, like Hellerwork and Continuum.
"Undulation, a fluid movement through multiple joints that include waves, bends, and curves, can be used as a tool..." to get through dense myofascial restrictions (stiffness) and revitalize lost range of motion due to our postural habits and repetitive-use injuries. (Anita Boser, LMP, CHP).
There are some common misconceptions when it comes to our bodies, that through idiomatic phrases, our bodies (and minds) believe is true. This class helped to unmask these words, and redefine, or rather, return to the definition via the evolution of our connective tissues and the past uses of the spine. The Spinal Column, evokes a solid, upright, rigid support. However, our spines (and our boney structures, in general) can do incredible things!
video: Emilie Conrad speaking about the fluid connective tissue that is the spine, as a Continuum teacher demonstrate the beautiful and free movement that our bodies, in health, hold.
Another broader cultural habit is to assume that once our bodies are in a state of injury or decreased motion, that we must adjust to or work around this new habit, greatly decreasing our body's entire range of motion. Bodywork and manual therapy (massage) restores our bodies to their highly functioning state, through the movement of fluid (lymph, blood) to the connective tissues (muscle, bone) and, by the breaking up of adhesions (places where the fluid surfaces of the body are no longer simply gliding, but stuck in fricative, decreased motion). If we continue to encourage limits of our range of motion, we impress into our muscular memory, solidifying our dis-ease, a reduced range of motion that eventually can effect our entire body. With self-care practices and hands-on bodywork encouraging stretching and movement, we could hope that we could create patterns of a little more movement, instead of a little less movement.
So get up, stretch, and let your spine dance. Free your structure with fluid motion!