How to stretch into your healing zone.
22 years ago, at the age of 18, my physical body fell in a twisted heap. I had been living out of home and earning some money laboring in country NSW. Two days after a particularly tough job I woke up and my lower back was in a tight and excruciating gridlock.
At the time I was studying massage at night college so I had access to as much massage as I was willing to endure… it would help for several hours but after driving, sitting or just getting through the day of being a builder’s hand I was again feeling in a world of broken.
That’s when my reliance on stretching started. It worked like magic. I would do just the one stretch and then I could walk properly…
Add ten years however and the effects of a decade of racing bicycles, 4 significant accidents requiring hospitals, 2 of which were via ambulance, one was being hit side on at 60kmph had taken their toll. Being a chiropractic student at the time I had access to as much straight chiropractic as you could ever imagine, but, when my back was at its worst, none of it helped a great deal. This when I developed a wider variety of stretches to unwind my twisted and locked up spine. I would stretch before races and after long training rides. By doing this I could manage well enough. In the end my twisted back issues would effect my capacity to recover from tough weeks on the bike and (in hindsight thankfully) dampened my optimism of taking cycling further.
Add another ten years and I am very grateful for the holistic practitioners who I have worked with. They have been able to bring my body back into the healing zone and I am both stronger and more flexible than I even was in my teens and twenties and, for the last 4 years, pain free. Stretching still plays a very active part in my day and the routine has gone from the ‘magic one’ to the well-balanced selection of many.
I have put together my favorite routine for you. Why? Because I know how important it is and the degree of return a flexible body gives you.
It represents the 4th key step of 5 key steps in keeping your body in the healing zone.
Let me share my 5 key steps to helping clients to heal and get their lives back.
The first key step is switch back on the nervous system. When the body is injured from stress (physical, chemical, mental/emotional) often aspects of the nervous system are affected leaving them weak, inhibited and dysfunctional. For this I use a brilliant kinesiology-based neurological rehabilitation technique called Quantum Neurology. In my opinion it’s like a 22nd century version of chiropractic!
The second key step is to free up the stuck joints in the spine, pelvis and limbs. These joints can become stuck from the same reasons the nervous system switches off, which includes falls, accidents, poor posture, bad bio-mechanics at work and play, plus biochemical reasons such as food intolerances and a poor quality diet plus the great toll that mental and emotional stress takes. In my practice I use a joint mobilising device called an Arthrostim which is like an tiny electric jack hammer, we can address any joint issue without forceful manipulating or using techniques that create the “crack”.
The third key step is to strengthen the weak parts of the body that have either deconditioned due to a weakened nervous system or were never developed enough from the beginning. For this I like using a wide variety of exercises, but for the spine and pelvis I recommend and teach basic Foundation Training which was designed specifically for this goal.
The fourth step is a regular and whole body flexibility program, it’s like maintenance for the physical body. The benefits include feeling younger, greater capacity to recover, reduce injury, looking healthier and, by paying attention to where tension is being accumulated, it can be used as feedback on how the body is coping with daily life. My routine is shared with you in the below video. It is a good routine. While there are most likely better routines out there including all that yoga has to offer, anything is better than nothing, by a mile.
The fifth key step in keeping the body in the healing zone is to avoid the activities that cause injury for you. Examples of physical activities are our habitual postures, how we sit/stand/move at work and how we play. Biochemical examples refer to how hard we push our body’s capacity to tolerate food that is far from what is desired by our body. I recommend food intolerance testing for more specific knowledge. Often common sense in relation to food is not always specific enough to the personal differences we may have to certain foods. Last but not least is the role that our mind plays in how well our body can hope to be. I believe our minds need ‘gardening’ to grow the right kind of ‘fruit’ (a healthy and happy body). The weeds of life and lack of nutritious growth can break a body down, limit healing capacity and cloud all else. The gardening tools in my practice include Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) and many others…
So, here is the 4th key step to keeping your body in the healing zone – a daily stretching routine.
You will need to follow the video multiple times to learn the routine. Then you can just roll through almost half asleep but inwardly very aware.
My personal preference is first thing in the morning before the demands of the demand start. I suggest drinking a glass of water before stretching but leaving food till after.
I am very confident that this routine can help people who are in a bad way and are willing to try it. Please share it with them and they will thank you.