As discussed in “The Medicine Behind How We Occupy Ourselves In Space” and in “The Silent Epidemic That Nobody Wants To Talk About,“ we are allowing our bodies to adapt to the demands of the electronic revolution. Not to beat a dead horse, but how we are adapting is causing us pain, disease and dis-ease including our organs for circulation, digestion, assimilation, elimination and reproduction.
Much like a computer, if one wire has been cut the whole system is down. We may not even know which system is down as some disease pathologies are silent, (i.e., cancer, hypertension, diabetes…), until they are NOT silent. The whole idea of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution suggests that all species of organisms, through natural selection… compete, survive, and reproduce. I truly believe our posturing has a huge impact on our dis-ease and disease states including fertility. We are propagating as a species, but if Darwin’s Theory is correct we should not be proliferating. Fortunately, modern day medical advancements allow treatment for not only those who suffer from unexplained infertility but also those afflicted with chronic diseases, genetic disorders and cancers. I am fortunate to be a part of this miracle as I have been helping men and women have babies for the last 17 years practicing obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive endocrinology at Fertility & Surgical Associates of California in Santa Monica, CA. I truly believe our posturing has a huge impact on our dis-ease and disease states including our fertility.
For all the geeks out there like me, here is really cool video on how we put sperm inside an egg…
Getting back on point…
Throughout time, we have evolved from quadrupeds to bipedal man. We have successfully adapted to environmental conditions to survive and thrive. Our muscular strength, flexibility, mobility, proprioceptors in our all our fascia, muscles, and joints and our proprioception have accommodated to perform the changes required for our existence.
Pete Egoscue, in his book Pain Free, discusses Michelangelo’s sculpture of David explaining how this God-like sculpture of a human man depicting the “embodiment of thousand of years in motion.” He goes on to say “If the shape of the sculpted stone bears any resemblance to the real-life muscles that Michelangelo saw around him, it reveals what conditions were like in the vast expanse of time preceding the fifteenth century. David’s harsh environment, and that of his ancestors, have fashioned his body into a machine capable of killing the giant Goliath… Just as David’s biceps are a reflection of the mechanism of adaptation to an environment that demanded a shepard boy have the physical ability to hurl a stone with deadly force and accuracy to see his flock destroyed by predators, musculoskeletal dysfunctions are also a consequence of human adaptability in our own life circumstance.”
We think of adaptability to our environment as a positive effect on civilization, but in fact, adaptability can have detrimental consequences. While we have intellectually adapted to the electronic revolution, our bodies are not adapting so healthfully. With regards to the musculoskeletal system, pathologic conditions are ensuing and normal function of our organs, muscles, bones and joints are being compromised to the point of disease and dysfunction. Coming back to this very simple concept, Use It or Lose It… If the body is no longer using an organ and/or muscle it atrophies much like a women who has gone through menopause. Her ovaries and uterus atrophy because she is no longer needs them. It would be a waste to send resources to keep those organs functional. The same goes for our musculoskeletal system. If you are not using a muscle, the body does not want to drain its resources so these muscles atrophy until they are needed again. The difference between menopause and atrophy of the muscles if quite significant. A women no longer physically needs her reproductive organs but every muscle of body is needed for healthy proper alignment and activities of daily living. This leaves you susceptible to dis-ease and disease.
Majority of the population lives in a body with atrophied muscles and majority of the population can still partake in exercise and activities required for daily living. This is a valid point, but to perform these tasks the body has no choice but to recruit the larger “fight or flight” muscles to act. Movement of the body is part of our survival response, so the body recruits the “flight or fight” muscles to engage, doing a job they were not meant to do, leaving the atrophied muscles behind. Remember, the body must adapt to in order to survive.
There are situations like injury, illness, surgery or confinement where important muscles atrophy to save resources. The body is responding in accordance with its own logic. However, these situations are supposed to be temporary. Once the pathologic condition has healed, we must change our compensatory movements with healthy ones. This requires us to be cognizant of our body’s design as we go about our activities of daily living. So often we get lazy and prefer to rely on western medical treatments that only treat the symptom but not the cause placing only a bandaid on the dysfunction robbing ourselves of healing the root cause. For some reason our egos think we make the rules when it comes to our musculoskeletal system. Pete Egoscue states it so eloquently… “All the body’s organs, its bones and muscles, are already governed by a coherent, comprehensive canon of rules. We can only understand and follow them. As basic as that may sound, it is a radical proposition in light of an attitude that presupposes that medical science can substitute its own notions of how the musculoskeletal system operates. We don’t need new and improved musculoskeletal system. The old one would work just fine, if we let it.” When we continue the original movements that caused the dysfunction then this atrophy will continue throughout our lifetime. With this, comes pain and discomfort.
Ignoring the bodies need for healthy alignment causes atrophy of the muscles and asymmetry of our right and left sides of the body. While our internal organs are not symmetrical the bones of our body are barring some anatomical exceptions. Each side of our load bearing joints of the legs, hips, shoulders and arms are equal opposites. They work in conjunction with each other. When we move our bodies unhealthfully, these load bearing joints cannot work together and compensatory muscles need to activate to support the our skeletal structure throwing our joints off balance. This throws our bodies off of symmetrical alignment of proper positioning preventing our bodies from moving for which they are designed. Our musculoskeletal integrity/tensegrity is compromised. Knowing this, imagine how limping or wearing poorly worn or uneven shoes affect the integrity and tensegrity of our musculoskeletal system. Can you see, in the picture to the right, how the misalignment of the feet can affect each of the above joints up to of our head?
What is tensegrity?
This is why our posturing, proprioception and body awareness are all so important not just in yoga, but in all forms for exercise and in activities of daily living. You can do all the physical therapy, manual therapy, pharmaceuticals, yoga and ELDOA postures you want, but it you don’t change your awareness (and resolve your emotional turmoil) about how your body moves and functions, you will not rid yourself of pain, discomfort or dis-ease. It’s all about our relationship to ourselves and how we carry ourselves in space.
Thank you Janice Chiou, an amazingly brilliant yoga teacher in New York City, New York, for editing my piece and being a beautiful light of healing love in my life and Alexander Quan, writer/songwriter and poet laureate of the San Fernando Valley, for keeping me honest… xoxo