Beyond the Basics: Exploring Innovative Movement Strategies

In the many methods of physical therapy, but also in a large variety of fitness methods such as Yoga, Callisthenics or Primal Fitness, there’s mainly three strategies employed:

  • Strengthening
  • Stretching
  • Sequencing (postures, exercises, sets and reps)

These strategies, over the past 100 years (or so) have been developed to such great lengths, so thoroughly discussed and explored and diversified, that they now cover the needs of most movement-related methods.

However, there’s many more strategies. As inspired by the work of Moshé Feldenkrais, I too use a large variety of practical exercises, movement games and movement explorations to help my clients (and myself) to improve their physical abilities and general wellbeing. My approach, too, is experiential, emphasising self-awareness and self-discovery through movement. Here’s a list of additional, select strategies I make use of:

  • Differentiation (to move parts independently from each other)
  • Constraints (to inhibit or stop parts from participating so that movements and sensations can occur in other parts)
  • Harmonisation (the blending of movement of parts to harmoniously and proportionally contribute to an overall movement such as flexion, extension, reaching with a hand, pushing with a foot, or getting up from a chair, etc)
  • Orientational variability (to experience a movement in different positions and relations to gravity)
  • Pauses
  • Auxiliary movements (movements that at first to not seem to be related but turn out to improve the original movement and how we are able to think thereof)
  • Effort reduction (to move increasingly slowly and lightly so that superfluous effort can be detected, distinguished from essential work, and dropped)
  • Effort substitution (the use of props and postures to take over habitual effort and stiffness, so that it can be re-assessed and replaced by better options)
  • Movement variability (to provide a variety of trajectories, pathways, easing-functions and solutions to one and the same movement task)

Apart from “doing”, the “noticing” aka “perception” is equally important, or maybe even more important. Areas of perception I work with are, for example:

  • Proprioception (the ability to sense the position, orientation, and movement of one’s own body parts, to be able to notice where your body parts are in space without needing to look)
  • Mechanoreception (the ability to perceive mechanical stimuli such as short pressure, prolonged pressure, very light pressure or touch, vibration, sliding motion, tension (!), and so forth)
  • Equilibrioception (the sense of balance to maintain stability and posture, and to feel the pull of gravity and thus be able to work with it)