This month we address stress and how to assist our clients and patients when they present in this state.
In 2015, anxiety symptoms were the highest they have been in an Australian survey, with 35% reporting having a significant level of distress in their lives. (Australian Psychological Society 5 year study)
The volume of stress that we constantly live under has reflected on how the body responds to continuous fight, flight or fright and what hormones are permeating through our bloodstream in this sympathetic state.
We develop postural anomalies where we have low oxygen to the type I postural muscles which are dependent upon it.
A cycle of hormone imbalance, muscle misuse, lymphatic congestion and nervous system shut-down occurs.
Our phasic muscles take on dual roles and the musculoskeletal system suffers from the imbalance, most of these muscles are natural flexors. This is evident in upper and lower cross syndromes but the dysfunctions can be seen throughout the body.
When the body is in this stress state it will often present in defensive positions, which are most commonly the return to the fetal position.
Stressful postural positions modify the phasic muscles to lengthen and weaken or “locked long” and the postural muscles to shorten and strengthen or “locked short”. This strength is a misnomer, as true strength should be throughout the entire range of the muscle and these muscles will be positive for stretch weakness.
This shortening and defending of the postural muscles effects joints of the –
• hip and knee
• cervical region (poke chin)
• thorax and diaphragm
• shoulder girdle and arms
• lumbar and sacral regions.
Initiating diaphragmatic breathing technique offers a rapid way to engage the parasympathetic response. This leads to the production of dopamine, serotonin, and the primary neurotransmitter acetylcholine. These hormones are responsible for ongoing, mellow, steady-state activity.
In the videos link we address stimulating the neurolymphatic points aka Chapmans Reflexes for the diaphragm, but also for the thoracic area which locks short in defensive mode. We then look at specific exercises and stretches for both regions to allow the upper body to be better aligned and less likely to form into that common upper cross pose.
Diaphragm strength and core stability!!
This video shows how to assess whether your client can recruit their diaphragm. As this is a muscle that is very difficult to test for strength, we use the Applied Kinesiology model and test their Central Meridian for integrity. Though there is no exact evidence to say how this works, I believe that touching the sternum (even lightly) can distract the neural pathway effectively enough to reduce the power of the supraspinatus, medial deltoid chain. Asking someone to maintain static contraction of this line is maintained with moderate pressure to the forearm but contact with the skin and sensory end-plates of the sternum is sufficient to alter the capacity for the chain to hold strength. Facilitation of the Neurolymphatic Points of the lungs by vigorous light rubbing is enough to promote lymph mobility. This returns the Chapman’s Reflexes to balance and maintaining muscle strength is the result.
Make sure that the diaphragm is activated by 10 diaphragmatic breaths to relax and contract the affected muscle.
Want more information as to how this can fit into your clinical treatment? Jump onto this link to find out more.