Thursday, April 29, 2010

Body Balance

(Click here to see correct balance of the head)

The following reply was sent to an individual who enquired about my success in loosening my stomach muscles ....

You have asked me a difficult question. I have delayed replying to you as I had to collect my thoughts on the subject.

If you go to my website, on the second page there is a section 7.4 on 'Balancing Posture'. Balance is an engineering concept, something that I have more than casual familiarity with, as I was involved in my engineering career in designing special purpose dynamic balancing machines.

I would not have had the courage to get involved in such an exotic subject (considering the sophistication of Medical Science) had it not been for my conviction that this whole subject can be understood in engineering terms. Unfortunately this conviction that the body can be manipulated to balance posture was also my undoing, as I failed to understand (for 25 years) how intimately the body and mind are integrated at the subconscious level.

I was able to make a breakthrough only after understanding the concept of 'Thought space and Present space', as explained in my website. In The Alexander Technique, as I understand it, an alternate concept of 'Inhibition' is used. I did not get on the inhibition band wagon, perhaps because the concept is not properly explained in Dr. Barlow's book 'The Alexander Principle'. (However either way, it goes without saying that some way to engage the subconscious is a prerequisite to dealing with posture).

... Getting back to the subject of balance, evidently there is more to it, if my two recent posts in my blogs are correct ??

Concept of 'Visual Space'

Use of Pillows

When I look at the dates on which these blogs were posted it turns out to be Oct 2009 for the first blog and Feb 2010 for the second one. I must admit that I am in an experimental phase although so far I don't find anything wrong with my assumptions.

Let me expand on my ideas on Balance:

A........................... O ............................B

A two pan balance is presented graphically in the above figure. At 'O' the system is fully balanced, at A it is grossly out of balance 'leaning forward', at B It is grossly out of balance 'leaning backwards'. 'x' is a hypothetical point which shows the state of unbalance of an adult. 'y' shows the likely point of balance of an individual who has learnt the Alexander Technique. My fear is that the Alexander Technique is making a compromise by trying to make it possible to deal effectively with both Type one and Type two visual spaces alluded to in my blog. The suggestion in my blog is that we redesign the environment to deal with Type one visual space. ('s', in case you are wondering, is where I would place a lot of modern sports. Most sports will help your cardiovascular performance, whether they will automatically help your postural balance is open to question).

When we talk of balance in a human being we are talking of a more complex subject than balance in a simple two pan balance. A simple interpretation would be the position of the center of gravity of the body in relation to the footprint. A more complex interpretation would be to split the body into say 10 sections and study the center of gravity of individual sections.

Since I posted my recent blogs, I am more upbeat about the idea of making a simple computer simulation to study the relative relaxation of muscles as the head position is altered. (I have been receiving a lot of messages from Dr. Joe Ventura, can his software be used?)

One among the many factors that may have helped to loosen my stomach muscle is my improved state of balance. I must caution however than I am in an experimental phase. If I am correct I expect to see major changes in the shape of the body and the way in which it gets used.

(For those who are new to the subject I can only caution that a lot of patience is required, and when force of any kind is applied it must be done carefully).



Posted on 03 Nov 2010

The gist of two of my posts in a discussion group touches on the subject of body balance:

1) The group was discussing the skeletal system ....

Dear all,

It is encouraging that the ____ movement is getting down to understanding fundamental issues. Indeed the skeletal model tells us that the body should have remarkable flexibility.

The next question that must be asked is, if the body has such a high potential flexibility, why does it go into gridlock?

And if we can answer the final question, why the system is so difficult to fix once it is distorted, we get a full picture, which can be of use to all posture correction techniques.

We should try to answer these questions after burying all preconceived notions, and independent of the particular ideology of x,y,z disciplines in posture correction.


2. This was in continuation of the earlier post .....

Since we are on the subject of the skeletal system, and the position of the head is considered to be the primary control in the ______ method, it is interesting to compare the head positions in these two images:

2) ( I have removed this reference, since it was personal in nature. The point I wanted to make was, the balance of the head shown by the tiny tot above is very different from that of probably 99% of adults. It once again highlights what I have tried to show in the graph in the first post; we are failing to figure out where the point of balance lies.... CAUTION: it will be risky to emulate the tiny tot unless we have very good flexibility - and strength - in the lower half of the body.)


P.S. The positioning of the head, demonstrated by Dr. Barlow in Fig 1, in my website may not be correct!