Chronic muscle tension is one of the most pervasive problems that human beings in the modern world experience, resulting in persistent pain, joint dysfunction, heart disease, and a host of other problems. I am reminded of this daily in my outpatient practice and consistently address this issue with all my clients. This week I had a new client come in with a complaint of chronic left thumb, forearm, neck, and shoulder pain. As she filled out the intake form, she was “white knuckling” the pen and later confessed to this behavior much of the day while using the computer as well as while driving.
Our physical evaluation revealed chronic tension throughout the body with global responses to trigger point treatment, as well as restricted kinematics through the cervical-thoracic spine and scapular-humeral rhythm. Along with manual techniques, part of our treatment consisted of progressive muscle relaxation exercises, conscious breathing, and cloud hands practice. After bringing greater awareness to the amount of tension that this client unconsciously carries in her hands and practicing letting go of hand tension in particular, we saw corresponding improvements in spine and upper limb function. The hands literally act like a thermostat for upper body tension; when the hands are tense, so is the body and when the hands are relaxed, so is the body. Because of this, consciously relaxing the hands switches tension patterns in the rest of the body as well.
Check out the short training video in the link above and see what adding this idea to your client treatments can do for both you and them. As I like to say, we do Tai Chi with our clients not to our clients, and that is a win for everyone.
Do you have an idea or question for a newsletter training? Share it with the IRQTC community at info@IRQTC.org and we just may feature it next month.