This is a unique post perhaps in physical therapy- not because the subject has never been broached, albeit the new perspective or viewing lens provides an ever refreshing outlook. Why do problems recur and why is the human spirit kindled by the challenge to seek a solution?
The big question is why do pain or injury recur? And why does one seek well-being or in other words want to be pain free and fit or healthy beyond that, in these situations? Our body is an amazing “instrument” to realizing this.
Pain is both objective and subjective. It is a well-known fact among the medical community that the physical changes seen on various investigative procedures like x-rays, MRI’s, and body scans do not correspond with the subjective feeling the individual is undergoing. Hence history taking is an important art in understanding the depth of perception of the individual. However, it is also true that nerve endings in partially damaged tissues result in pain directly proportional to extent of damage. The individual mind interprets and perceives it differently, hence the subjectivity of pain. Another well-known fact in medical community is that when tissue damage is complete and the nociceptive nerve endings are destroyed, there is no pain or sensation associated with such an injury. This transcendence (“existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level.” ) or complete severance of association with pain is what yogis do best. And it takes tremendous practice to attain to this stage, though each one of us has access to this.
To quote from last weeks post:
“Yoga makes it possible to transcend the senses, mind, identity (or ego), and intellect. With anything in life, this should be the goal, not just a change in physical field. Truly, when approached from this perspective, movement patterns may be transcended, so that they are automatic at an intuitive or pure conscious level. Where one need not think and the movement/ action that takes place is nothing but the best and yet at a moments’ notice, the process of transcendence must be clearly available.”
Here I would like to point out the difference between sub consciousness and pure consciousness. When a thought is subconscious, it refers to mastery gained through evolution- that is a “process of formation” for survival purpose only. In other words, learning for which the knowledge of process is lost. This is devoid of true spirit or let’s just say has the spirit concealed, resulting in an inability to respond as needed. When learning is mingled with involution which is a sort of self-knowledge of reality of its being, it is pure consciousness. In other words the knowledge that a movement pattern good or bad will not last forever, so what is the fear for? This realization is freedom in utmost pinnacle or liberty to sense, perceive, and live per choice. This liberty to act comes with great responsibility and using the intellect wisely, knowing time is precious. This knowledge is retained intuitively and leads to transformation so that new movement pattern is not forgotten by the body itself through ideal alignment, biomechanics, and kinetics. Thus, the senses, mind, and body are aligned with the spirit.
Changing a movement pattern from subconscious and replacing with a new pattern in subconscious is a kind of “compensation”. One dysfunctional pattern for another. One is an iron chain, the other gold…. And to a yogi, there is no difference between the two, a chain is a chain!
Movement patterns which are dysfunctional become automatic and ingrained in the sub-conscious mind. These are habitual, hence necessity of “breaking a habit.” The role of physical therapy is to bring this into awareness so that it may be “un-learned” and to demonstrate the ideal movement pattern which one must re-learn consciously (pure conscious), and repeat till this in turn becomes automatic i.e. it can be brought into mind at will and the steps of transformation are known (sound familiar to postural muscles?). This is the process
(P.S: The image is modified on Paint 3D from
Ami Gandhi is a licensed physical therapist in the state of California. She is the owner of StableMovement Physical Therapy, a small boutique practice in San Jose that offers patient centered, one-on-one, hands-on physical therapy.