When we take the approach to tighten, tighten, tighten the belly muscles in order to counterbalance a tight back, we end up with a co-contraction and a braced liked situation that layers on more problems than it does solutions. Instead of adding a brace to the situation, we teach our clients to release back muscles through a process of re-education. Everyone should know how to pandiculate and Nicole and I want to you to help us get the word out to the world.
To further explain why bracing is NOT a good idea, let’s use the simple analogy of a knot.
How does one untie a knot?
Is it through excessive force and pulling and tugging? Not likely.
If we pull one end of the knot harder does it release at the other end? Nope.
The only way to untie a knot is to delicately tease out the fibers so that they are no longer “stuck” together.
The process, just like pandiculation requires mindful deliberate action to create the desired release.
Thomas Hanna, the founder of Hanna Somatics and the technique which he called PANDICULATION, discovered the only lasting technique to address chronically held knots in the body, resulting in.
We teach our clients how to release the chronically contracted back muscles by training our brains to take control over them again.
How to release back muscles through a process of re-education
Re-establishing cortical control over these muscles means that we start my contracting them a little more, to create a release response. Yes that is right, instead of pulling away from them, we actually contract them a little more and then, invite them to lengthen and release a little. We contract a little, then create a release response. – You can see how the teasing out, to create a lengthening, releasing and letting go of the muscles is very much like untying a knot.
Why tightening the core does not resolve chronic back pain
If the solution is to strengthen and work the abdominal muscles to make them “JUST AS TIGHT” as the back muscles then the result is a rigid co-contraction braced, locked down scenario.
It is important that we never take advice on first glance. Instead we should objectively try it on to see if it works for us.
What you should be asking yourself is:
How does doing something to the front body actually change what is going on in the back body?
How is the addition of strength in the front body muscles creating change in the back body muscles? Surely not by osmosis?
What we see is that this approach actually inhibits proper functional movement from the center of the body. This will exhibit in a variety of ways. Some examples are: a) difficulty lifting your arms up alongside the ears with straight elbows, b) knee or foot pain, c) poor bowel function and d) restricted breath. In addition, clients experience weak core muscles, overly tight hip flexors and weak gluteal muscles. A stunning combination of symptoms that lead to instability and chronic pain.
“If you want to untie a knot, you must look at the cord carefully then gently undo the tangle. Yanking on the cord will only make the knot tighter.” — Thomas Hanna.
The easiest way to release back muscles is through a process of re-education. Start by adopting a daily practice of Arch and Flatten. You can find a short video of this simple exercise on our YouTube Channel.
We recommend that you practise the Arch and Flatten daily.
How to’s: Move slowly into the contraction of your back muscle as you arch and then slowly “tease out” some release in your lower back muscles as you lengthen. Then feel your belly muscles contraction as your lower back flattens into the floor. Slowly release out of the flatten as your feel your belly muscles lengthening to come to rest. Repeat this each morning with easy breath and pay attention to what you notice.
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Stick with us and learn easy ways to replace old habituated patterns that are causing you pain.