The Bodyquirks Parts is Parts Series: Your Head and Neck

It’s funny how most of us know very little about the place in which we live — our bodies. Chances are, if you are not in the health and well-being business, you don’t know much about the ins and outs of this miraculous structure and of its constant ability to adapt, regenerate and accommodate to the demands of your lifestyle. Today we’d like to change that — starting at the top and working our way down to the tips of your toes.

Changing Perspective

We’re often taught to break things to their smallest components to understand them, like the structures of the head and neck of the human body include the brain, bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, glands, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, and throat. We tend to think of our bodies (if we think of them at all!) as parts, rather than a whole. The purpose of this next series of blogs will be to help you think of your body as a whole. Coming to realize that the actions or lack of actions in one part of the body eventually affect the whole.

Muscles of the head and neck, left lateral view
Image by robswatski via Flickr

(W)holistic Awareness

If you stand in front of a mirror and look at your whole body and then  shift all the weight to your right foot, you will see how every part of you shifts with it, not just your hips. Your left knee bends to allow the change, your upper body adjusts by moving sideways to regain a sense of balance, which in turn changes the position of your head and shoulders. One action, affects the rest of the body.

As massage therapists, we work hard to help you to develop a more solid body awareness by asking questions about your pain, tightness or injuries to help you make the connection between your actions and your body’s reactions. When you come to us with a complaint we often ask things like, “What has changed since the last time?” These questions allow us to bring your awareness to the possible source of the new problem.

But sometimes what appears to be new problem may  simply be your body deciding that it will no longer compensate for a certain straining or imbalancing behavior. For example, Esther once an issue with her neck going out in a certain way for years and her chiropractor kept asking what she might be doing to cause this particular issue but try as she might, she couldn’t figure it out. One day, by pure chance, she saw herself in the mirror while listening to a friend talk and she realized that she ALWAYS cocked her head to the right when listening! As soon as she changed the behavior and let the neck rest, the problem resolved itself.

CranialSacral Therapy: From Your Head to Your Toes

We cannot talk about problems associated with the head and the cranial bones without addressing issues with the jaw or  ear, or even with headaches.  So it also follows that we cannot talk about the neck without relating its function to the shoulders, rib cage, arms, etc.  We treat ALL OF YOU, not just the affected limb or muscle or rib. We use our expertise to build a toolkit for you by talking about things like posture, new shoes, new pillow, etc. — all things that may be affecting your well-being, all part of a whole picture.

CranialSacral Therapy (CST) is a technique that begins with the cranial bones and the adjustment of the functions of the body through soft pressure manipulation of the craniosacral system, including the cerebrospinal fluid and membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It addresses everything from birthing and the trauma on the skull bones to shifts that occur in the cranium from trauma, such as whiplash, blows to the head, chronic sinus issues and sports injuries.

If you’d like to get more in touch with issues in your head and neck using CST, Esther Bell is trained in advanced CST and Somato Emotional Release (SER), these techniques are very effective in dealing with issues such as headaches, sinus problems, sleeping disturbances, etc.

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