Relinking and Rethinking the Spinal Chain

  Linking to the Brain, photo courtesy of Christine Cutbush GCFP

Linking to the Brain, photo courtesy of Christine Cutbush GCFP

Imagine starting your education of mathematics in Calculus, with only a basic elementary school education. Sure you’d understand some of it, but without grasping the basics you would not do well. Now imagine if we went back to Geometry, Trigonometry and Algebra, relearned the fundamentals and returned to Calculus. We would do markedly better because the basic functions are very fresh, therefore we can add complexity much easier with a stronger foundation. This concept is pretty elementary in itself, but sometimes we skip over it for quicker success. Solid foundations are a necessity for pretty much every aspect of life, whether it be martial arts, the study of biology, music, dance etc. 

Solid foundations are a necessity for pretty much every aspect of life, whether it be martial arts, the study of biology, music, dance etc. 

The Smartroller is a tool to reestablish our foundations of comfortable and strong body coordination; It takes us back to spinal arithmetic and once we establish a proper connection, we can start adding more complexity without tripping over our own laces. It assists at connecting the pelvis, through the spinal chain, to the head. This is significant because links in the spine can operate independently, losing the aid and power of the entire chain. Throughout the day movements are made without enlisting the help of the center of gravity, a powerful area of the body to team up with. 

After working with the basics on the roller, we can then rewrite multi- directionality with the Smartroller Links. As we go back to foundational movements we bring the spine together with organized intent. As we approach more complex movements there is a stable platform to explore and rewrite.

Often our conscious and unconscious intentions split our awareness leaving spinal segments pulled in many directions. For instance, have you ever seen someone’s posture who really doesn’t want to be running? Sometimes, depending on the intensity of their struggle, they are quite literally dragging their heels, half of their awareness still sitting at home relaxing, while the other half forces themselves to get into shape. It’s quite noticeable when someone doesn’t want to be there. This is a very dramatized example to illustrate the point, butthis happens day to day in subtler forms. We can be pulled in many directions by varying factors: desires, obligations, necessities etc. The splits in our attention write certain patterns into the nervous system. Movements whether helpful or painful, become easier because they have been engrained deeper. It’s like a hiking trail more frequently traveled. Nature begins to thicken up the unmaintained trails and it can get more difficult to walk through when relearning basic muscle coordination.

Movements whether helpful or painful, become easier because they have been engrained deeper. It’s like a hiking trail more frequently traveled. Nature begins to thicken up the unmaintained trails and it can get more difficult to walk through when relearning basic muscle coordination.

Now as we return to the Smartroller and the Smartroller Links, we have more of a context for the differences between them. The Links are the same shape of a Smartroller but broken into about 1 ft sections, that when lined up, allow for the spine to move in different directions. The head can be moving right while the pelvis moves left. Or the head can stay still while one link is turned perpendicular at the bottom, allowing the pelvis to roll away or towards the head as opposed to side to side. With many variations, it becomes quite entertaining to explore new movement combinations; they are like puzzles for the nervous system. After using these tools there is a noticeable difference in the efficiency and strength of the movement pattern.

As we work with the Smartroller, the complex Neuroplastic ability (the notion that our nervous system and brain remain plastic or moldable into adulthood) that we have as humans becomes quite apparent and we can rewrite muscular coordination for less pain, more strength and more comfort. Working together the Smartroller Links and Smartroller are extremely helpful tools for aiding in the process of neural rewiring and restructuring. 

 

 

Author: Daniel W.Barrows