Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2010

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 103 of 131

body awareness BY BARB FRYE BALANCED STANDING "My feet are killing me." Sound familiar? Many manual therapists experience sore feet after standing for several hours a day, because they are supporting their body weight with only one part of the foot. When you place weight primarily When you learn to engage your entire foot in standing, your center of gravity— and thus your full body weight—will be optimally supported. on one part of your foot, for example the lateral edge, you force the lateral joints and muscles of the foot and lower leg not only to bear the full weight of your body, but also to keep it in balance as well. In addition, your center of gravity is off balance in such a stance, increasing the stress to these joints and muscles, and thereby increasing your risk of injury. A similar problem occurs among therapists who tend to bear their weight primarily on the balls of their feet or on their heels. After we learn as young children to stand and walk, the way we use our feet becomes mostly an unconscious habit. By practicing the following Self-Observation, you can learn to increase your awareness. When you learn to engage your entire foot in standing, your center of gravity—and thus your full body weight—will be optimally supported. As a result, your balance will improve, and you will be able to work with a greater sense of grounding and stability without experiencing soreness or pain. Instead of killing you, your feet will love you. SELF-OBSERVATION PLACING WEIGHT ON THE WHOLE FOOT PROMOTES BALANCED STANDING Action. Take off your shoes and stand with your feet hip-width apart. Look down between your feet and notice the distance each foot is from your center line (Image 1). Your center line is a line that, if drawn from your head down between your feet, would divide your body into equal halves. Feel. Notice and sense which parts of your feet you are standing on. Ask. Are you standing with your weight equally placed on both feet? Or are you standing more on your heels, balls of your feet, or the inside or outside edges? Noticing how you habitually stand is the first step in becoming more aware of how you use your feet to support your body's weight. Don't try to change anything, just notice what you do. Action. Now, slowly lean your body back, putting most of your weight on your heels (Image 2). This is a standing habit that many people use. Feel. Notice how placing more weight on your heels affects your lower body. Ask. Do you feel the muscles in your legs working hard to hold your balance? Can you sense something in your ankles? Your knees? Feel. Notice how this position affects your upper body. Ask. Do you sense the muscles in your lower back working to hold your balance? Are the muscles in your 102 massage & bodywork may/june 2010

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Massage & Bodywork - May/June 2010