Updated: Jan 21
As we journey through the holiday's and begin looking forward to a new year finding balance can be challenging yet so beneficial. Balance can mean so many things. But regardless if we are considering balance from a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual content it all comes back to being grounded and centered.
For this post lets consider balance from a physical stand point. What do we need to have good balance? Many are under the impression balance is all about leg strength. While this is helpful it truly isn't the most important aspect. The legs must also be flexible, correctly aligned and free of tension points. Ultimately a strong yet flexible core, spine and foundation (feet) are going to benefit our balance the most.
So lets start with concentrating on the feet.
7 introceptors on each proprioceptor
WOW!! With all this complexity wouldn't you say our feet are pretty important? Yet how many workout their feet or even give their feet the same amount of attention as the rest of the body? Is because we can cover them up? and who ever looks at someone and says "Nice feet you have there."
We not only neglect our feet but we stifle their ability to work correctly for us in sensory deprivation devices (shoes) that constrict and deprive them from feeling, mobility, and expansion.
The feet and toes are essential elements to our movement. They connect us to the earth and are our body's foundation. Just as a foundation of a building must be stable to support the structure above, the feet must be balanced and sturdy to support the legs, spine, arms and head. Yet at the same time they have the need to be mobile and flexible, in order to bear and propel the weight of the body during walking. So if our base is weak and unstable, this will appear up through the body as misalignment's. When a foot goes out of alignment the ankle, knee, pelvis, and spine follow.
Analyzing the way we stand, walk, run and sit helps determine the cause of misalignment, which is most likely the culprit of pain. Finding and correcting the misalignment usually relieves the pain. And ultimately when we are aligned we have better balance. In our next post we'll talk about how our feet being grounded translates into the spine for it to come to play in our overall balance.
Foot Check and basic release work
~ Standing barefoot take inventory of the weight on the feet how they feel on the ground the parts that sit heavier, lighter, areas that grip the ground, how they feel in general then scan rest of body as you shift back and forth on feet noticing areas of tension, pain and low mobility
~ Next I like to use some heat like a heating pad, neck wrap, or you can take an old sock fill with rice tie off and heat in microwave. Use the heat to soften the tissue of feet by standing on and massaging the soles of the feet. Taking note again at any areas that may feel more tense or resistant to mobility.
~ Now get yourself a massage ball or broken in tennis ball
~ Roll entire foot noticing any tight areas
Pressure point areas:
- big toe ball (can also do each toe ball to help release and elongate toes)
- arch directly in front of heel
- outer foot arch (cuboid)
- mid inner foot arch (plantar fascia)
~ to mobilize the ankle, place ball of feet over ball keep heel down and roll ball of foot from side to side
This is a great start to awaking and releasing the foot for better proprioception and balance. If you are really wanting to show your feet some love be on the look out for our Foot workshop coming in January. Want to be the first to know of it's release? Be sure you are signed up for our monthly newsletter.