casting off.. who's with me?
Yesterday was the "Big Day"... liberation from the cast since breaking my wrist on March 11th.
It's been interesting, as I got to experience first-hand (haha... a pun!) what enforced immobilization is like, never having broken a significant bone before.
If you've ever had a broken, sprained or similarly injured part, you're pretty keen to the dramatic changes: going from activity one minute to sudden non-activity for several weeks or months, as the injury has to be kept still in order to heal.
But, necessary as this is, there's a price.
During that period, and disturbingly, quite quickly - like within a week or so - you'll see dwindling muscle tone, pale and limp skin, swelling, deformations - all as a result of diminished muscular movement. (I was fortunate in this area, as well, as I could take the brace off on occasion, massage my arm a bit and wiggle my fingers around to keep the blood moving.)
You would also discover more peripheral effects - like for me, my upper arm getting flabbier with the lack of weight-bearing movement, and my right arm getting a little too enthusiastic about taking over for my left.
Then, when the support is taken off, there's some very specific work to be done to regain functionality again.
We understand this process, and we expect it.
What is less obvious (and this idea is not original with me - it's yet another Katy Bowman-ism), is that we are all living in some form of cast. Or many.
In other words, it doesn't take an external device to 'cast' parts of our bodies to bring about the same changes we experience in the more obvious condition. Sure, some factors are similar - we could say shoes, especially ill-fitting ones - can very much act like a cast.
Less obvious would be chairs, flat walking surfaces - anything that either disallows or at least doesn't offer the opportunity for full range of motion. And even LESS obvious than that is all the self-imposed casts - activities we simply don't do anymore that recruit our full joint mobility.
But, is that really the same thing?
Immobility is immobility is immobility.
It's harder to see the parallels, as these kinds of changes generally happen over a long period of one's life. And unlike with a sudden injury to an oft-used body part where we have a pretty clear memory of what we want to get back to doing, with the more long-term, passive 'casting', we lose function so gradually, almost imperceptibly, until more serious or pain-inducing conditions develop.
The results on the cell level are the same, no matter the cause. If cells aren't being nourished by movement then they're dying.
I'm not a physical therapist, but the approach in which I just received my training is all about bringing those 'casted-by-modern-life' parts back into participation with the rest of the body. (And, of course, bodywork helps, too!)
For my own healing (not just my wrist, because, hey, I live in this world, too!), I've been keeping up my qigong practice, doing what correctives I can manage, self-massage, stretching, and keeping as mobile as I can.
Ready to cast off your casts?
If you're in my area, check out my upcoming free "Introduction to Dynamic Posture" - this is the foundational entry class into Restorative Movement, and one I highly recommend before other RM work together.
If you're not in my area, you can still partake of Restorative Exercises through online classes, or find a certified teacher near you through the Nutritious Movement website.