Chronic, Excess Muscle & Nerve Tension & Stress
Or C.E.M.&.N.T.S. for short …
because that’s what some peoples’ muscles FEEL like!
The Central, Organizing Principle & Focus
of DSL’s Let-Go Yoga and DSL EdgeWork:
Yoga/Bodywork Therapeutics . . .
In the DSL Yoga/Bodywork/Whole Health System, Muscle Tension is the NEXUS between the many elements and functions of your BodyMind, as well as between your inner and outer environment.
Why? … Many factors converge in the phenomena of a muscle’s deceptively simple capacity to contract and, hopefully, relax.
First . . . One of the primary things muscles do is CONTRACT. Muscular contraction is what pumps your blood, moves food through your digestive system, allows you to speak words, and moves your bones and body around. Without muscles contracting, you are incapable of doing anything; even blinking your eyes.
Muscles are also supposed to RELAX an equal amount to their contractions. Problem is that your neuromuscular system is set up in a way that, over time, it’s far easier for it to increase the habit of being contracted than it is to stay more relaxed. Left unattended, this process of accumulating tension — and various associated physical, mental and emotional stresses — is unconscious and automatic, constantly working in the background.
The only major differences are the degree and speed to which this process affects any particular human being, and what their current conditions are causing or resulting from such. The basic mechanism is pretty much the same. So we must consciously and vigilantly work to counteract the nearly automatic tension building process. …
Second . . . Another difference is whether we choose to act proactively and preventively, intentionally reversing or at least slowing the tension accumulation process? Or do we wait for it to become a problem before taking action? …
Most people, unfortunately, wait until it becomes a problem; sometimes waiting until it’s too late to do much about it. Although even 83 and 93 year old Clients have responded amazingly well to our TRSs, or Tension Reduction Strategies.
The long-term costs of waiting are far higher than working preventively, but it is very difficult to convince most people of that truth, no matter how many times they have heard it or seen it, or even felt it in their own body. This is compounded by the fact that most people cannot initially believe their problems could be caused by something as simple as “excess muscle tension.” After all, they’ve been told all their life they need to “tighten up their muscles,” right? … WRONG!
So they keep looking for other explanations and cures, like problems in the bones, joints, discs, nerves or organs. Yes, these can be sources of perceived or actual trouble, but nowhere near as often as many people assume. Soft Tissue Issues are far more often the source of the problem.
Third . . . It is all too clear — but not widely known or understood — that a vast range of conditions, syndromes, symptoms, illness and disease are the result of accumulations of chronic, excess muscle & nerve tension & stress. For the most part, they are accumulated in small, micro-increments over the years of a person’s lifetime.
(Many micro-tensions and stresses eventually lead to MACRO-tension and stress.)
Some people have accidents or traumatic events (physical, psychological or emotional) that speed up this accumulation, sometimes dramatically and instantly. More often than not, though, it slowly, quietly sneaks up in the background over many years.
Fourth . . . We have tools available to reverse or at least slow down this tension accumulation process. These tools consist primarily of our own intelligence and our body and its functions, although we can occasionally apply an external tool, or a prop, or another human being, to assist us in reversing our tension accumulations. …
DSL Let-Go Yoga and DSL EdgeWork:
Yoga/Bodywork/Whole Health Therapeutics* . . .
. . . use as their primary tools Physical/Mental & Relational Yoga and Hands-On, Structural Bodywork. In addition, Tai Chi/Chi Kung-based Movement Therapy and proper Ergonomics can be applied as well.
*For Yoga Teachers or Bodyworkers wanting to move toward providing Yoga Therapy, DSL EdgeWork is the more overtly therapeutic aspect of the DSL approach. Although some of it is much easier to learn in Live Trainings, many of the basics are on this, the DSL Let-Go Yoga Website, including the foundations of Preventive Yoga Therapeutics. This is a way of working therapeutically without having to deal directly with people’s specific symptoms or conditions. This reduces or eliminates potential legal risks with state licensed activity. Yet you’d be amazed how many problems clear up with this “non-diagnostic” approach.
The hands-on bodywork, which is actually yoga-based bodywork, can be self-applied, applied by a family member or friend, or a by massage or bodywork therapist, or a yoga teacher, educator or therapist. The manual technique is actually a more focused stretching of more specific muscle fibers from within the belly of the muscle, rather than with an external stretch, which pulls directly on the tendons of the muscle via moving the bones.
When A Yoga Stretch Does NOT Release
the Tension or Pain of C.E.M.&.N.T. . . .
Stretching is, generally speaking, Non-Specific to Individual Muscle Fibers
If particular muscle fibers within a muscle are out of synchronization with adjacent or nearby muscle fibers, that can cause pain and dysfunction. The involved muscle fibers must, as much as possible, be specifically addressed to bring them back into harmonious function with their more normal neighbors. External stretches generally stretch ALL the muscles fibers within a particular muscle, more-or-less uniformly. A stretch or yoga asana is, therefore, and unfortunately, mostly non-specific as far as particular muscle fibers within one muscle belly are concerned.
It is also known through scientific research that when a muscle fiber is stretched from within the belly of the muscle, the nerve endings that trigger relaxation of the muscle are significantly more responsive. These nerves are much LESS responsive when the muscle is stretched from the ends, as in the typical stretches or yoga postures we are all familiar with. Manual (hands-on, or fingers-on) pressure on the belly of the muscle is one of the most direct ways to stretch certain muscle fibers at least somewhat independently of other fibers from within the same muscle.
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These are of several reasons why the specificity of hands-on bodywork can achieve results a yoga posture cannot, or achieves only temporarily. Done correctly, hands-on muscle work can be very yoga like, yet achieving that which yoga postures are not so good at, and in far less time.
Likewise, yoga postures achieve certain results bodywork cannot.
DSL’s Yoga-based Bodywork . . . can be implemented by one’s self, with a friend or family member, a trained yoga teacher, a personal trainer, or yoga therapist. If your massage or bodywork therapist is open to it, you can work with them this way, too.
And the more yoga you’ve done, the more effective and efficient your self-applied, manual bodywork can be. That’s because most of the principles are nearly identical, or have tremendous overlap. And you’ve already at least somewhat acclimated your nervous system and brain to functioning this way.
In Reality, Behind the Scenes . . . all this is not just about muscle tension, which is only the Nexus, the Convergence; there is, of course, much more to it. On the “internal” side of the Nexus are all the physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual systems, experiences and issues contributing to our levels of muscular tension, which must all be addressed or accounted for in the healing, maintenance and growth department. Included in that reality are metabolic functions: diet, nutrition, detoxification and environmental inputs (such as toxic chemicals).
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Mental Elements . . . of our stresses and tensions are not all *psychological*, either. Many, if not most, of what appear to be mental functions are actually non-conscious, more-or-less automatic functions of the physical brain, such as the limbic system. The limbic system is in a different (older and lower) part of the brain than what we usually associate with our thinking minds. (This depends on how you define “thinking,” which we do more thoroughly in the DSL Yoga e-Courses.)
Addressing stress and habit patterns of “the brain” is, at some levels, different than those of the Mind. …
On the Philosophy, Psychology & Science of Being Human pages and e-Course we’ll look at the significant differences between the subjective mind and objective brain.
On the Other Side of the Nexus . . . is the outward expression of the internal drives and the state of the neuromuscular system. All of the internal drives and reactive mechanisms are, at any given moment, holding our bodies in a particular posture, producing a specific range of motion, or initiating or restraining action. All of this background activity produces a mosaic of conditioned behavior. And of course, the functions of our organs are affected by this background, as well.
We “See” or Observe the state of the neuromuscular system by our posture, movement and action or inaction, and organ function, such as how slow and deep or fast and shallow we breath, or how often our eliminative organs operate, or not. At the deepest level, these processes and behaviors reveal, to varying degrees, the inner-workings of the mind, emotions and brain.
* Here, my use of the words SEE and Observe implies a deeper, more complete sense of Awareness and Attention, rather than just a visual stimulus.
The 2 Main Components of DSL Let-Go Yoga and DSL EdgeWork that are common to both yoga and bodywork are: PsychoMuscular Release & BIO-Structural Balancing. Please go to this page to learn more.
Thank You For Reading,
David Scott Lynn
DSL: Your Hi-Touch Up-Link to the Inner-Net