All Joined Up

In July, I had a nasty incident with a treadmill and some osteoperotic bones, and I learnt a thing or two about this piece of machinery that I have been walking around in –

The human body is pretty amazing; and it deserves a bit of respect.

As I have been struggling with befriending my body recently, I thought that re-visiting what I learnt on the physiotherapist’s bed might be a good idea – or at least plug in a few of the holes that the therapist’s couch has evidently left – so, here’s a run down of a few key bits of learning that might make me hesitate when I’m next tempted to give myself a good kicking.

The first thing that my physio did when I sat down for my consultation was to tap me, sharply, on the knee to see whether my foot shot up. It did. Lesson 1: we’re all joined up.

Now, it’s been a while since I sat in a biology classroom and I’d kind of slipped into viewing my body as an odd collection of limbs, rather than as a delicately balanced and quite impressive system; but, that simple knee flick reminded me that we’re all joined up in quite amazing way.

I’m impressed when I see a robotic dog dancing in circles; but, I seem to overlook the complicated process of messages and movements that take place every time I lift up my own foot…

Never one to leave a subject unexplored – or unexplained; my physio sessions were consequently filled with trying to join the dots of the muscles and bones within my body; and, as I begun to realise just how cleverly tuned and finely balanced the human frame really is, I arrived at lesson 2: my body is far more than how it looks.

Okay, so this may be stating the obvious; but I had become so absorbed in body image and size and the externalities, that I had overlooked all the many other functions that my body performed –

Like taking me from A to B –

Or carrying my children (one day, maybe) –

And giving me the capacity to touch, and smell, and hear, and see –

Focussing on what I could do – rather than what I could see – was a whole new perspective on body image. It took the emphasis off the emotional relationship, and gave me a new – and tangible – reason to start taking care of myself a little; because, we’re all joined up (lesson 1); and, if I am abusive to some areas, I could also be hurting other sections with important things to do (lesson 2).

Over the next few months, I gave my body a little TLC. With the benefits of ‘being nice’ (a healed ankle and a return to a crutch-free existence) dangling, carrot-like, in front of me, I rested my bones and stretched my limbs and fed my muscles, and learnt lesson 3: my body heals.

As someone with a tendency to pit myself against the world and assume that everyone’s out to get me and the worst will always happen, the body healing lesson was quite important for me. The rather remarkable act of my bone re-fusing and the pain gradually easing gave me a little faith back: not only was my body not as fundamentally flawed as I once believed, but maybe if I followed my body’s example, recovery would be more possible than I had assumed.

And maybe my distrust of it had been a little unfair.

I have never been very good at listening to my body. I tend to negate how I’m feeling (“it doesn’t matter”) or just override the sensation (“I am not hungry”). In my newly found respect for my body, I stopped doing this quite so automatically; and, learnt that my body – and its messages – are often one step ahead of me.

Lesson 4 – My body talks sense.

My ankle was not a bone-crunching break; it was, instead, a gradual crack, beginning with a rather uncomfortable twinge that I ignored. Whilst, in this instance, my body was clearly speaking in quite practical and physiological terms; now that my internal ear is switched on, I have started hearing a lot more of what it’s saying, and it’s quite on the ball –

For example, when my head hurts, it can sometimes be a sign that I need a glass of water and a five minute breather –

And, with a stomach that senses stress, a slight tightness or discomfort in my belly is a clear message that I’m feeling something that I need to address –

Because, the final lesson that I learnt was that it’s not just the bones and the muscles and the bits in between that are all joined up; it’s also the mind – and the body – that are fundamentally connected.

Hopefully I won’t be re-visiting the physiotherapist’s bed any time soon; but, my ankle episode was a good pieces of learning, that I will remind myself of next time I find myself giving my body a hard time, or talking over what it’s trying to tell me –

Because, the human body is pretty impressive –

And it demands some respect.

Tags: ,

  • Share/Bookmark

One Response to “All Joined Up”

  1. Splinteredones says:

    Wow what a great discovery! Have absolutely no connection to what you’re saying but it makes total sense. Kudos!