John Wilson

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Connective Tissue
Your Face Will Freeze Like That!
 
Did your mother ever tell you this?  She was right! Have you ever seen an elderly person with a permanently mean scowl on their face?  What about "laugh lines"?  The way we habitually hold ourselves leave their mark.  Some schools of thought even claim that our postures effect our moods and general psychology.  One thing is for sure, our postures become habitual, and eventually feel "natural" to us, but they are not.  They are a result of our environment, our emotions, and our personality.
Connective tissue is a malleable substance that holds our muscles and organs in place.  That stringy, white, web-like stuff that makes it difficult to chop or separate meat- that is connective tissue, or fascia. It is regularly growing and changing shape, and covers most of your body.  When you get up in the morning and you are stiff, this is because fascia has been growing over your muscles all night.
Most of us live in an environment that our bodies are not designed for.  We perform tasks all day that are natural for us.   We develop repetitive stress injuries because of this.  Not only are the things we do all day to blame, but also the way we react to emotional stimulus and stress.  The way we sit when we are at a desk, as well as the way our body reacts when we are running late to work.  These lead to holding patterns that allow connective tissue to hold us in unnatural patterns.  These patterns become habitual and begin to feel like one's "natural" posture- but they are not natural!  Stress, repetitive actions, and emotional states have shaped us like this!
Trying to sit up straight and walk tall is very difficult if our holding patterns make this feel unnatural to us.  That's where deep tissue/ structural integration, stretching, and exercise come into play.  Connective tissue can be warmed up, stretched, and separated in order to allow it to regrow in healthier patterns.  Muscles that are shortened can be lengthened, and over lengthened muscles can worked on in a cross fiber fashion to alleviate pain without further stretching.  People throughout the ages have learned to perform maintenance on themselves to allow them to continue with their professions without injury.  Please understand that this is just as important today as it was in the past, if not more so!  It's best not to rely on just one method.  I focus on deep tissue and stretching, as well as some ayurvedic treatments.  I encourage you to make these things a regular activity in your life.  It makes a difference!  Please don't stop there though.  Yoga, sauna, acupuncture, meditation, martial arts and movement exercises are all very important and synergistic activities.  I encourage you to explore them.  And even though making faces can be a healthy way of exercising muscles and preventing wrinkles, just remember if you habitually make a face- it just may freeze like that!

 

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