The theme for this week … being active needs balance!
Do you refer to your kids as clumsy or accident prone? Maybe this describes you too? Poor physical balance can be the reason people opt out of being active. However, there is more to improving balance then just practicing balance exercises. Read on …
What actually is good physical balance?
Just so we are on the same page, physical balance is commonly defined as:
“The body’s ability to maintain its center of mass over the base of support.”
This recent NIH article provides a ton of useful information to understand balance and its complexity. Most research on the topic of balance is with the older adult population because falling is a huge public health issue for this group. However, poor balance can be present in all ages whether you are aware of it or not.
There are two things about physical balance research which continue to befuddle me:
- The lack of balance assessment in younger populations — children, young adults and middle age adults. Youth cannot be a proxy for having good balance. We find balance concerns in every age we work with–4, 14, 24, 44, or 84.
- The lack of specific measurements of discrete balance control in fundamental movement directions–forward/back, side to side, and rotation. We find it critical to first identify the specific vectors of balance which are unstable, as these match the direction you feel unsteady.
Working with our clients we find root causes which correlate to these specific instabilities. These causes fall into our primary micromovement disruption categories:
- Medical procedures
- Early development/birth
Once we use the Bridging® Technique to reset the micromovement disruptions your balance is stabilized and away you go!
Insight of the week from Cara
Figuring out the weak links with balance
Once upon a time I was working with older adults to improve their balance via exercise. My need for optimizing the results led me to find and incorporate a balance screening assessment, so results were measurable.
What I found was that there were varied and specific aspects of balance to observe and measure. And by addressing the specific gap, the whole got better.
Adults and children alike!
When I adapted the same assessment to use with children, I found that children with poor balance skills also had behavior and/or school concerns. (And these changed– topic for another day!) Who’d have guessed!
So what was being assessed?
Very simply, I broke down the geometry or the foundational vectors of balance control — forward/back, side to side, and rotation — and evaluated each individually.
You can find balance training programs that incorporate this #D framework, but surprisingly, no one is systematically assessing and correlating these specific parameters to the probability of falling.
Getting to the root of things
Whether your have the accident-prone child, or are a fearful adult, balance can be improved very quickly by taking the time to parse out the elements of balance which need help, and then support them.
Seems so simple, and we encourage other balance professionals to dig deeper into the relationships we’ve discovered.
Have you had balance challenges and curious if Bridging® can help? Contact us, We are happy to see how we can help.
Stories from our sessions … Resetting ankle control to feel more grounded and better balanced
A recent new client, MB, called and left a voicemail the morning following her session … We love hearing how Bridging® changes your life!
“OMG! I had to call and tell you … I cannot believe how much more stable I feel! After only one session! I can not believe it. Thank you, Thank you. I had to let you know how great I feel.”
What happened to MB, and when?
What’s happened to MB, and when?
- Birth/Early life: none
- Injury/Accident: multiple falls, torn ankle tendon, many feet injuries
- Medical procedures/surgeries: foot surgery
- Illness: nothing major
Sometimes the smallest change is what helps
Goal: Improve sensation of being balanced so walking isn’t so scary
What did we find?
In MB’s first session our problem-solving process identified that her feet couldn’t help keep her legs and core steady because her ankles were rigid, and unable to allow movement to flow.
What did we do?
We used soft, rocking motions to allow the intricate muscles around the ankle to wake up. Then we used a gentle stretch-based reset to link her foot movement to the knee and hip.
Could your/your child’s balance use a reset? Schedule online here, or call the office at 847-390-8348.