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How Movement Heals The Nervous System

Movement is a primary characteristic of the Animal Kingdom, and a powerful asset in life. Humans are the only species that exclusively walks on two legs. This upright posture offers us unique gifts and challenges. On one hand, we have an incredible capacity to adapt. No other animal on the planet comes close to humans in our ability to perform a broad range complex movement patterns. While, on the other, the vertical arrangement of our ankles, hips, spine, shoulders and head makes the human body more susceptible to muscle imbalances and postural breakdowns. Learning to move skillfully prevents these imbalances from developing and, most importantly, keeps our nervous system communicating clearly.

Until recently movement/exercise has been considered a pastime, “a nice thing to do if you can fit it in.” Even now, many people know they “should” exercise; But, “who has the time?”

In his book “Eat, Move, and Be Healthy” Paul Chek describes seven primal movement patterns that make up all of our sports, dance, and labor. The seven patterns are:

  • Press
  • Pull
  • Lunge
  • Squat
  • Bend
  • Twist
  • Gait/walking

When we think of breakdancing and acrobatics, it’s easy to see how these patterns can be put together in as many ways a person can imagine. As impressive as breakdancing and acrobatics are, they demonstrate the extremity of the movement spectrum. In a practical way, these basic patterns are used all day everyday by every human on the planet, or in space for that matter. When we lose the ability to move, or our movements become restricted over time, the negative impact cascades through every system in our body. Due to our growing understanding of anatomy and physiology we are becoming to realize how deeply interconnected the whole body is, and what a vital role movement plays in maintaining healthy organ function.

Through the work of Tom Myers (see Anatomy Trains) and the growing understanding of the fascia, we are discovering that every cell in our body is connected to every other cell through an integrated matrix. Now known as the Neuro-myofascial web, this super organ includes all the tissues of the body (bone, blood, muscle, blood vessels, nervous system, organs). The fascial matrix has ten times more neural connections than muscle, and most of the connection are sending signals towards the brain. This is where we begin to recognize the entire body as a sensing organ, and how movement plays a strong role in how our bodies maintain internal communication. If you really want to nerd out, check out this article.

As with most systems and organs of the body, movement serves multiple purposes. Beyond locomotion, movement plays a crucial role in digestion, circulation, respiration, metabolism, and sensory awareness. One of the most powerful tools in maintaining good health is a consistent movement practice. If you are considering an exercise program, look for one that focuses on the quality and skill of movement patterns. If you go it alone, take it slow and listen to your body. 

About The Author

Titus Kahoutek

Titus Kahoutek

First and foremost Titus is a lover of life! An explorer at heart, he is fascinated by the human landscape. As a coach, trainer, speaker and co-founder of Heroics Training Systems, his work focuses on activating and empowering human potential through reintegrating the mindbody as a functional whole. He works with innovators, leaders and organizations to optimize performance and enrich the living experience. Titus says, “My passion is to create learning environments that foster the playful development of physical skill and somatic intelligence.We all have hidden skills and capacities that can be cultivated through practice. I love being witness to that moment when a person gains access to abilities they never knew they had."

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How Movement Heals The Nervous System

By Titus Kahoutek | March 27, 2018

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Help Us Build Permanent Facilities

During the summer of 2017, we held camping & volunteer weekends at a location provided free-of-charge to Acceptance.  Over 100 individuals, primarily families, participated in those weekends, and the results that came to the participants were often profound.

We heard kids say things like "When I'm out here, I don't feel like I have Autism".

This year, we're continuing to offer camping activities at our temporary location in Centralia, WA, while we work to raise money to purchase a 20 acre parcel literally next to our current location so we can start building our permanent facilities. 

One of the big things we think that is missing in the current conversation around people that don't fit into the world (such as those on the autistic spectrum) is how the physical environment and space can affect them. I'm sure you've heard how restaurants and other public places are designed to maximize certain objectives (McDonalds uses bright colors to encourage you not to linger, Jazz music in bars increases tips, etc).

We're using those same principles, but optimizing for healing, space & relaxation. For example, according to the book "Welcome To Your World: How The Built Environment Shapes Our Lives", "One recent study of the learning progress of 751 pupils in classrooms in thirty-four different British schools identified six design parameters - color, choice, complexity, flexibility, light and connectivity - that significantly affect learning, and demonstrated that on average, built environmental factors impact a students learning by an astonishing 25%. The difference in learning between a student in the best designed classroom and one in the worst designed classroom was equal to the progress that a typical student makes over an entire academic year." 

We need your help to raise the $250,000 necessary to purchase the land and start to build our permanent facilities. Having permanent facilities will allow us to start conducting programs for children, teenagers & young adults, as well as weekend and week long programs for families. It will also allow for longer term stays, which means that we can start to offer internship programs to young adults & others that are looking to find their place in the world, as well as those that need a bit more time to relax, recharge and reconnect.

We'll also be able to offer employment, housing & a built-in sense of community to the people we serve. They'll work in the various parts of the retreat center, learning valuable skills, making friends, and contributing to the growth, relaxation and healing of our weekly participants.

Land Campaign

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Acceptance: A Transformational Place is a Washington State 501(c)(3) pending non-profit. Please consult with a tax professional if you have any questions about deducting your donation.