Fascia & Shoulders

The body is an absolute marvel, and we don’t often stop to consider how special it is. We take it for granted that our hearts will continue to beat, that if we eat food - even if it's unhealthy - that we will have the energy to do all the things our egos demand, that we will be able to push ourselves until exhaustion and wake up to tax ourselves another day. We often don’t give our body the appreciation it deserves, and when it ceases to work, we wonder what has gone wrong.

One of the areas that commonly gives us challenges is the shoulders. They have this incredible range of motion to allow us the freedom to explore our limits with movement. Whether in sport, dance, play, work, or any creative endeavour, the shoulders play a huge role in what we can do. If totally pain free and healthy, the sky's the limit, however when those pains begin to surface and range of motion becomes limited, suddenly life can become miserable pretty fast.

Except for the head, the shoulders sit at the top of our structure. This means that everything beneath them has a direct impact on how they are positioned. The most immediate foundation is the ribcage. If it isn’t perfectly aligned, then the shoulder joints migrate in their joint space. Like a door not perfectly positioned in its frame that can’t properly close, if the joints aren’t positioned perfectly in their sockets, certain movements will be compromised.

As the body is so highly adaptable, we are quite good at unknowingly making those micro adjustments to continue with the activities we enjoy. For example, if you sleep on your shoulder in a funny way and awaken with pain, but then have a golf game, unless there is so much pain you can’t function, you will likely shift in your alignment so you can continue with the game, and the body can and will adapt. If the initial pain isn’t corrected, this new alignment will continue, but the entire body will have to also shift to accommodate these changes. These don’t necessarily happen at the conscious level - a blessing and a curse.

It gets even more convoluted the more you look at the entire body’s alignment. The calves and feet, the forearms and hands – the limbs all play such a huge role in how the body moves. They are like tent poles, ensuring that the fabric is taught and in the correct position. If a tent pole loses its integrity, the tent itself will droop. This can cause problems if it rains, accumulating water and debris in the creases and affecting the quality of the space within. Leaks can occur and the space becomes compromised as the fabric deflates.

We have a body that is designed to function a certain way. It isn’t hard to connect to this potential, but like with anything, it is knowing what to do. When it comes to the health and function of the shoulder joints, we need to address the entire body’s alignment as that is the reality of how gravity and unconscious living manipulate us. If you know the game though, then you take the steering wheel and drive your life in the direction of conscious posture and breath. In this scenario, gravity has little influence over what happens to you in time. On the flipside, not understanding this makes you like a leaf in a tornado – totally at the whim of external forces.

If you find yourself in a position where your shoulder joints don’t function as they used to, or as you would like, that doesn’t mean you are stuck with where you are at. You can change anything. That is the beauty of understanding how to address the fascia system. As easily as we can downgrade to a less healthy version, we can also upgrade by knowing what to do and how to address your current situation. By understanding that fascia is constantly responding to life’s forces, we can use those forces to our advantage and create massive healing opportunities.

You are never stuck with what you have or where you are. Change begins with the breath and a little understanding of what needs time and attention. If you are willing to give your body what it needs, it will provide you with a lifetime of benefits. What is more important than you and your health? If everyone became a little more self-serving in this regard, we would all be healthy and be the best version for those around us. Give yourself this gift, you and those you love will be so grateful!

Listen to this week's episode of The Fascia Masters below.

Breathe & Believe,


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