Many of us are well aware that the more we move and the more ways we move the better we feel.
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But I don't think many are aware just how deep and intricate this very notion is. You see, amongst my own studies and research in recent times, it has become apparent that there is a great big domino effect that exists in our body – where movement, or rather lack of, equals great levels of not just pain but disease too.
But let me explain the processes at work here because they aren't well known – in fact, I had to piece this together myself because I've never seen it taught anywhere in the way that I'm about to explain it.
Firstly, in modern day, we cannot escape the blanket of inflammation that smothers most of us. From infections or toxins in our past, unresolved emotional trauma that is historical or current, and all the very many inflammatory agents of today, systemic and wide-spread inflammation is within us all.
How it presents itself is different amongst us all. Some can have migraines or body pain, others might have menstrual issues, some might have auto-immune disease or recurrent infections, whilst others might have the debilitation of chronic fatigue. It all stems from the same source – inflammation.
We also know that all inflammation leads to a phenomenon we call fibrosis. Fibrosis is what we see in wound healing; scars are fibrotic tissue. But what happens under system inflammation conditions is fibrotic tissue appearing where there isn't wound as such. In our world this is what we call fascial adhesion, but is otherwise known and felt as knotty areas, or stiffened, restricted muscles.
When we feel those knotty, sticky areas we are actually feeling layers of connective tissue that have glued themselves together, and thus their actions can't execute the normal sliding and gliding activity that happens when we move. Thus, we feel stiff and our range of motion feels restricted and limited.
The next domino along in this inflammation chain is our sensory nerve endings (mechanoreceptor) are affected or inhibited. When we move our joints and muscles in their full range of motion thousands of mechanoreceptors are fired off to the brain telling it about our body's position in space.
However, when we have restricted ranges of motion, less of these mechanoreceptors are fired off. And here comes one stunning fact that you might just want to read a few times; for every one mechanoreceptor not fired to the brain, there are 30 motor neurons not fired.
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Corinne Austin: Happy bodies equal happy beings
What are motor neurons? They are the amazing signals from our brain that tell different parts of our body to complete different actions.
What is the significance of this? Well, when we have less power going to our muscles, glands, organs and other vital parts of our body, then they can't operate optimally, cannot complete all the necessary functions they're in charge of, and therefore they become inhibited or they diminish.
When organs and glands don't do their jobs properly we start to see the emergence of symptoms, which grow or intensify over time, leading to unexplained pain, and the many disease states which are increasing in number every day.
Phew! How was that for a mind explosion? Systemic inflammation in our bodies, means restricted movement, which transfers to less mechanoreceptors firing, the other end of which is less motor neuron activity, and this significantly reduces the operation and function of our glands and organs which will eventuate in pain and disease. Boom!
And here is the very reason that we need to start understanding the inflammation happening in our own bodies, how it presents and where it comes from. Aren't our bodies just fascinating how they work?
Why is this not a more commonly known and talked about concept? This is where my own detective brain gets a little excited. Because I love to solve problems. And I love to help people have happier bodies.
And the understanding of concepts like this is necessary as we strive to take more responsibility over our own health and wellness, and thus our longevity on this planet.
• Corinne Austin is a health coach and movement motivator (firstname.lastname@example.org ).