Finding Ease

We’ve all experienced times when we are happily doing our thing and that all too familiar sensation of discomfort creeps into our consciousness. It seems it is always in the same place, or places. And we try not to be frustrated that it is bugging us, again.

I had a professor in physio school who, on the first day of classes, told us that our mission as PT’s was “not to stand if we could sit, and not to sit if we could lie down”. Now, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that very few of us took him seriously. We were universally a group of fitness fanatics and high achievers. We needed to be to get into physio school! Now we were being told not to use effort? For most of us, certainly for me, this simply did not compute.

As with many things, life experience has taught me the wisdom of my professor’s words. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in staying in bed all day. As a physio, I have frequently helped people to go for a walk wayyyyy before they felt like they were ready, like in the ICU, while they were still on a respirator. It is universally accepted that bedrest is very tough on a body. Bodies need to move. Motion is lotion.

So how do we reconcile these conflicting needs of ours?
Find ease.

Sounds kind-of out there. Kind of woo-woo. But I assure you, finding ease is extremely practical. And very useful. Especially with aches and pains that have been around for a while, finding ease may be the key to finding your way back to feeling good.

How to “find ease”? The easiest way is to simply ask yourself:
“Is this the easiest way for me to do this?”
As in: “Is this the easiest way for me to sit here?”
“Is this the easiest way for me to lie here?”
“Is this the easiest way for me to lift this weight/ride this bike/run up this hill?”

And then we do nothing. We wait for our body to literally make itself comfortable no matter what position we are in, or what job we are trying to complete.

Yes, there are times when our discomfort would alert us that perhaps an immediate change in body position or effort might be a helpful thing. Sometimes we need a change. And a change is often as good as a rest. So, by finding ease we may be able to continue doing an activity that is important to us instead of having to quit. Hmmmmm……

This is not a new idea. Many people have practiced “ease finding” over the last few thousand years through things like yoga, Thai Chi, qi gong, and the martial arts. More recently followers of the Feldenkrais and Somatic Movement schools of thought have taken these ideas to a new level. There are some very practical tips we can take away from the search for ease throughout our day and in all of our activities. It just takes awareness, and a commitment to question where we are on the “ease scale” several times a day.

The solutions to our lack of ease are often simple and immediate. Sometimes they take a little more effort:
like getting a pair of reading glasses so we are not craning our necks to see the computer, or finding an appropriate splint to support a joint for a while, or getting help to relax an habitually tight muscle.

If your efforts at finding comfort in your body are temporarily eluding you, you are welcome to come and problem solve with one of the physio or massage therapists at Bragg Creek Physiotherapy. They are experts at finding ways to make you feel safe and comfortable in your body again.

Michelle Sinclair