As you walk, play, and work, you are probably not thinking about how and what your body is doing to allow you to move from point A to B. We are too busy living life and doing what needs to be done for that day. You may pause or begin to pay more attention to your body when your daily routine is impacted. As we have been praised for being Long Beach’s leading Sports Medicine Physical Therapy, many do not realize that the difference between Holistic Physical Therapy and Physical Therapy.
If you are feeling pain or stiffness, you automatically think there is something going on with your muscles and joints. For some of you, you may get resolution with some simple stretches or massages. For many of you, you notice this initial injury or stiffness keeps coming back.
Have you ever sat down and truly asked “Why is my muscle tensing up often even when I am taking care of it?” or “Why is my arthritis not resolving regardless of what I do?
Until we wrote this article, we did not realize that there are many structures in the human body that helps you to stay active. We went down this narrowed view that muscles and joints work separate from the rest of your body. We took the idea that “our body works together, heals together” for granted.
Did you know that there are 600+ muscles in our body that all have a specific role?
There are 360 joints in the human body.
- Skull joints = 86
- Throat joints = 6
- Thorax joints = 66
- Spine and Pelvis joints = 76
- Both upper limbs = 64
- Both lower limbs = 62
There are 210 named nerves that help you to move.
There are 79 (and maybe more) organs in our body.
The human body has 1000+ of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels that play a vital role in bringing nutrients for the healing process.
As you can see, a Holistic Medicine Physical Therapist is crucial in helping you naturally to stay active and mobile. Standard Orthopedic Physical Therapy school teaches each system as separate.
5 Reasons Where You Can Benefit From Seeing a Holistic Physical Therapist First
1) We work on your nerves to help your muscles and joints. If you take a step back, everyone can agree that a nerve tells a muscle what to do. Our muscle can only produce the strength that our brain can allow. You can get stronger or weaker based on how you exercise and train. If you add exercises that primes or directly focus on brain activation to your muscles, you will get more out of your activity, exercise, or rehabilitation.
Many professional sports team incorporates this technique to get more out of their athletes to perform at a high level, but do not realize that it has an injury reduction benefit. With our dual background in Sports Medicine and Holistic Physical Therapy, we have seen an added benefit being able to help people break free of their stubborn and nagging past injuries.
An old tendon or muscle injury is slowed down because the brain thinks that structure is not ideal in helping the body to move well, NOT because there is something wrong with the muscle. Unless you have a rare genetic connective tissues healing disorder, all muscle and tendon heals within 6-10 weeks, regardless of diagnosis or age.
Another factor that many people do not realize is that the higher control center, the brain, is surrounded by the neglected skull joints and muscles. Addressing the nervous system from the skull, brain, spinal cord, dural sheath and nerve branches will help your body move better.
2) Circulation and oxygen is the key to all healing. Makes common sense right? Our body uses this idea to help prioritize what is important in helping you to survive. Once you have the basics, your body will help you to thrive. If you have a digestive gut disorder like Acid Reflux, Diverticulitis, or constipation, these digestive tissues are going to need more blood flow to function normally.
Where is your body going to get this extra blood supply to help your digestive issues? Your neighboring lower back muscles and joints. If you desire to stay active but your lower back keeps spasming and slowing you down, you need to restore this blood supply balance. Imagine your dehydrated muscle as looking like beef jerky. Research has shown that muscle tissues heal in this way and hence your lower back is the weakest link that makes you feel vulnerable when you decide to pick up that pencil off from the ground.
You can get a massage or provide direct exercise to improve blood flow to your muscles. This might jump-start the process but may not last if the root cause is not being addressed. You have to address that small intestine, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, lung, or heart organ dysfunction simultaneously to resolve your current muscle tension or arthritic joint pain.
This is where Visceral Manipulation comes into your orthopedic care. Visceral and Vascular Manipulation are hands-on techniques that have been popularized by a French Osteopath and Physical Therapist and TIME magazine nominated “Top 100 Alternative Medicine Innovator”, Jean Pierre Barral.
Your organs are in perpetual motion and can be stuck (called motility) when there is a health concern or from direct trauma. All organs move 30,000 times within your rib cage and pelvic cavity.
Research has shown that your kidneys move 4 inches with deep inhalation! In a day, they move a little over ½ mile. Your liver moves an equivalent to 600 meters daily.
If you think getting your arm in a cast can cause muscle stiffness, wasting and other detrimental side effects, imagine what a lack of movement can do to your organs!
Visceral and Vascular Manipulations focuses on using gentle forces to release tension held within your fascia that is connected to all the blood vessels and associated visceral organ.
For those who unfamiliar with fascia, when you prep chicken for dinner, that thin film that is between the skin and muscles can be seen to surround the chicken’s organs.
When there is an injury or sedentary work lifestyle, our fascia looks at a busy morning traffic jam. Our goal is to free up this traffic jam so your fascia can allow blood and oxygen to move freely to your muscles, joints, nerves, and organs. Healing can happen when this occurs.
3) Muscles work in patterns and not in isolation. When you get shoulder or knee injury, it makes sense to stretch and get that one muscle to move better. There is numerous literature showing that this model does not work. Physical Therapy researchers are demonstrating a higher need for a multi-joint training rehab approach.
An example is that a knee pain rehab has been shown to be more effective when hip and ankle training is added to the program. There are better outcomes when a shoulder rehab is added with neck and lower back training.
The logical reason is that the fascia connects muscles to together in patterns. If you are falling, your brain has a split second to react. Would you want your brain to turn on one muscle or a group of muscles to protect you?
For the same reason as the first two factors we noted above, the fascia is the key link that we do not ignore. We treat the fascia and train the fascia.
4) Cellular healing is our emphasis. We are what our cells are made up of. Your muscles and joints can only recover as well as your body can recover. This is a reason why we incorporate photomodulation therapy and blood flow restriction therapy to help bring a higher level of result. You can read more on what research has shown with photomodulation therapy by clicking here.
From professional sports teams to chronic pain research, lack of sleep and nutritional choices has been shown to impact how you heal. Your body becomes inflamed and will drag out your healing recovery. We help people understand and give you the tools to have a better experience with sleep and nutritional choices.
5) There are no two bodies that are the same. What makes this statement powerful is that our brain processes every interaction and experiences since we are born. We have been told many ideas and can hold beliefs about ourselves. Pain research is showing how powerful our understanding of the word pain can do to our ability to heal. Beth Darnell PhD, NOI group, and other Pain Neuroscientists are demonstrating that our beliefs and mindset can change the chemistry and cellular interactions in response to pain.
The World Congress of Back Pain Researchers are bringing up the word “bio-psycho-social” model of back pain care as a new standard of practice that should replace “pathoanatomical” model. Basically, we are trying to shift that helping someone to get better needs to not be dictated by tissues and structures, but the importance of the person.
We understand that a mind-body approach needs to be the center of care. When dealing with pain and lack of mobility, no one feels happy about waking up to be slowed down. We might push through it and ignore it, but when asked, everyone would agree that it is best to live without pain.
We have a saying “Our body follows our mind, and our mind follows our soul. Our soul is driven by what makes you feel important – your ability to stay active. Tune up your body and your mind will move freely.” Never give up on your quest for more mobility and to move naturally.
If this resonates with you and you see the value of a Holistic Physical Therapist, you can reach out to us by clicking on the green button to save a time for a second opinion.
Dr Danh Ngo
Doctor of Holistic Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialist
Mind Body Health Results Coach
ReVITALize Rehab Club