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The Power of Listening to your Body for Better Recovery and Mobility

Probably the most important thing you can do towards improving your health and well being overall is to learn the art of listening to your body – it is the boss after all! This is the one main overriding factor that I notice makes all the difference to recovery and maintaining mobility alongside treatment, particularly with long term and less easy issues.

People with long term issues, even some that can look pretty serious on MRI, often start to make the best use of their treatment and gain more freedom in their bodies when they learn this simple lesson. I have seen people start to do things that I didn’t even think they were ready to do…yet.

This is no airy-fairy thing, nor is it second nature to many people. It is simple, though often less than easy!

So how do we learn to do this?

Alongside treatment, including related exercises there is always an element of learning and coaching and increasing self-awareness and self-discovery. We all hold beliefs about ourselves, who we are and how we behave that makes us…us! Sometimes these beliefs can interfere with our recovery. Experience is an essential part of learning and when we experience something for ourselves, we are more able to own it and embody it.

For example: If you are ‘the kind of person’ who ‘mucks in and helps to get things done’ this can be an admirable quality, though is less helpful if you have a back problem and your ‘mucking in’ involves heavy lifting or something else that causes you strain. You may have always done this and been mostly fine, or perhaps not even realised the impact it has on you, though when you realise and experience that this repeatedly puts your recovery backwards and your pain levels and incapacity higher then you can start to make some different choices. Perhaps ‘mucking in’ can become a different way of helping and organising and still maintain a sense of ‘the kind of person’ you are. Usually, the people you are helping would not like to think that this help is the cause of any added pain and incapacity for you.

For example: If you believe that you can ‘push through’ any pain or issues you are also at risk of exacerbating your problems. This ‘push through’ attitude can be useful in endurance sports and achievements when you are not injured; with injury this belief becomes counter-productive. If I were to ask you to put your hand up in front of you with your palm facing forwards and I pushed my palm against yours, the natural response of your body would be to push back. If we push the body, it pushes back – this is a natural response! In stretching or aiming to increase mobility in a joint, pushing will creating a resistance in the body. Learning to go to the point where the body is still comfortable, breathe and ‘listen’ with an awareness of the body and gently invite the body to go further, this awareness and ‘listening’ will take you into more movement, more comfortably without causing resistance, when the body is ready and able.

Making changes: Alerting someone to the fact that their belief and behaviour could be holding them back is only a starting point. Our behaviours and beliefs are usually well established over a long period of time. More evidence, often in the way of repeated suffering is usually necessary to help us recognise that we could be exacerbating our problems. Whenever we push ourselves too far, we know it. The trick is in learning to recognise before we go too far, push too far, do too much. This is an ongoing process as we are constantly changing.

The body is truly amazing and is always doing its best with what it’s got. When we learn to listen to what it tells us and respect this and act accordingly, we become its ally in recovery and health.

The ability to learn to listen BEFORE the body says NO has the potential of giving you so much added mobility and capability that it is worth every attention you give it. It is helpful to have someone guide and support you through this process – if it were easy and obvious – you would have done it already! I help many patients through this process in their own way, empowering them in to increase awareness and make choices that support their health and well being in the longer term. It is a working together – you, your body and me. I am always delighted to see people regaining their lives through better health and movement.

We are happy to advise you on your health matters.


Registered Osteopath & Kinesiologist & Senior Yoga Teacher

Master Hypnosis and NLP Practitioner

Aether Bios Clinic, Saltdean

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