An Elemental Approach to Movement Health & Fitness
An Elemental Approach
In Physical Therapy, rehab, exercise, and all movement development, attributes and qualities can help us better assess imbalance while clarifying how to concretely improve the 'healthiness' of our movement and exercise. A qualitative structure adds mental focus, clear intention, and achievable goals.
Pain, Injury, stress, aging, and poor movement habits impair the precision of our senses and quality of our movement patterns. This can compromise health, healing and recovery or diminish fitness and performance.
On the other hand, improving the communication and connectivity of our different systems builds harmony, health, and the base layer of true wellness.
Relaxation, stability, rhythm, rotation, and balance are constitutional elements that interweave in all our movement, and function. Their relationship with each other greatly influences the ‘healthiness’ of our motion. Improve them and you will move, live, and feel better.
5 Element Concept
While the ancient Greeks were developing the Hippocratic Oath and other medical practices, the Chinese codified their understanding of medicine and longevity in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. The Wu Xing, or Five Element theory, is explained in this foundational text of holistic medicine.
This concept describes the relationship between the different natural elements and the life force, or “qi,” within them. 5 Element Theory illuminates how our physical and mental health depend on elemental balance.
The Five Elements or 'energies' are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. In Chinese Medicine they help explain different cycles of balance. Each element has specific characteristics and are associated with season, weather, color, personality type, and symptoms/disease states.
Muscle tension prevents effective use of gravity, causes overwork, and wastes oxygen supply. Certain areas become overloaded. Relaxation is supple and alive, not a flaccid quality. It conserves energy, underpins endurance, and develops efficiency
Full body connection depends on the proper timing and communication of all tissues and joints. The musicality of our structure deeply enhances efficiency and increases effortless power. Coordination and body mapping practice is crucial to its development.
The head, chest, and pelvis weight centers should align well around the central axis. A balanced position in any joint depends on how these mass centers interact. Training awareness, segmental spinal movement, proper diaphragm breathing, and stabilization are essential to it.
The entire body should connect to store and release energy through spirals and rotation. Our springs sequence to transfer energy for ease of movement and locomotion. This opening and closing is critical for lymph movement, pressure regulation, and tissue health. It distributes the work of moving evenly across the structure.
The body feels and moves well from its center when relaxation and stability work together. When all the qualities play together in rhythm and harmony, we can organize and reorganize effectively to deal with unpredictability and change.