Awareness Through Movement ®
The use of Awareness Through Movement for the reduction of pain.
As mentioned throughout this website chronic tension, protective guarding and habituated holding patterns can cause debilitating pain. If it were possible to say "relax" and you were better things would be wonderful. But it's not. It takes exploring our bodies and nervous systems similarly to how we did it as small infants. As infants we mapped out our bodies as we rolled, moved, pushed, pulled and learned how and who we were. As adults with trauma and pain the old map does not fit the new territory. In other words, we have to map out the new territory so we can move about according to the changes we've experienced.
Following is a list of explorations referred to as Awareness Through Movement in the
They are designed to help re-map our mind/body accuracy as well as to reduce pain. However, a few guidelines need to be emphasized first. For this mapping to take place we must first approach it as we did as infants. That is, we are to constantly monitor every little aspect of ourselves. If anything causes pain, slow it down, make it smaller or use less effort. You may have to adjust some of the positions depending on your specific situation.
These movement explorations are not about strength or force. They are about listening and moving in areas that are comfortable and safe. So, always listen to you body, trust your innate common sense. Remember, small infants never hurt themselves by aggressive stretching or force. Instead, they move where it is comfortable and easy.
Most importantly, infants REST frequently. It is in the state of rest that our nervous system organizes around new and novel information. Without resting we become overwhelmed and much new information is lost in the bombardment of conflicting signals. So, you will be instructed to rest frequently during the explorations. During that time, even if it is only for a minute or two, just notice any different or new sensations you feel. Also, luxuriate in the inactivity of a gentle rest. Regular breaks can cue our whole system to calm down and allow unnecessary stress to slide away.
- If anything hurts, make it smaller or even just visualize the movement until you can approximate it without stress.
- Move in ways of least resistance. Use as little effort as possible.
- Relax and breathe as you move. If you notice you've stopped breathing it usually suggests that you are straining.
- Rest as instructed. The rest is as important as the movement.
- Begin and end with a body scan (which will be explained). By taking a moment to notice how you feel before and after each exploration you will be able to sense any changes that may have occurred. This awareness is a powerful way for the nervous system to learn.
- If possible either read the instructions in to a recorder to play back or have someone read them for you as you follow along.
Movement 1: Feel and release the tension in your low back.
Movement 2: Feel and release the tension in your back.
Movement 3: Feel and release the tension in you neck.
Movement 4: Feel and release the tension in you
Exploration 3: Rolling to release tension in the shoulders, spine, hips and neck.
Finished with Awareness Through Movement, return to Home Page.