The Butterfly Effect

We are all familiar with the butterfly effect. An event in the past, determines the future. Now, instead of using a time frame, let’s apply that example to your body frame. Repeatedly, it is too common to see pain in the knee, hip or lower back because of your feet and ankles, ongoing pointless treatments in the area of pain will leave you with a doubt in your mind. Soon you will start to believe that you are unfixable.

So, why do ankles and feet cause those popular joint pains?

Well, imagine you are building a house, from scratch. The first thing you will do is make sure that the foundation is safe, strong and straight. You then proceed with adding walls on top of that foundation. If the foundation is crooked, it will be the cause of malformed walls. If the foundation is weak, the walls won’t hold which could end catastrophically. Within your body, feet are the foundation. They hold everything, your weight and those laptop bags you hang off your shoulders and back. Your legs are the walls in this imaginary house. Imagine if feet (foundation) caved in, it will have the ‘butterfly effect’ on the legs (walls), leaving you lopsided in the upper body (roof). To summaries, you ankles and feet are the core to stable, strong and soreness-free joints.

Bones and muscles in your body work together to produce movement, in quite complicated way, but one fundamental fact is that muscles only pull. They never push. This, undeniably, means that any tight muscle will be pulling at some end of your joint. In my previous blog, ‘what is tension’, I stressed that all muscles have a partner in crime, which performs opposite motion. Effectively, if "a muscle" shortens, its partner "b muscle" will lengthen.  All of this will cause imbalances in number of joints, if not treated specifically. If this is not corrected, the effects will carry on traveling up the body. Eventually you will start to feel pain in the weak – lengthened muscles.

Most will proceed with massaging and stretching the weak area, emphasizing elongation of already stretched area. This is why sport massage therapy is different. The point of sports massage therapy is to target the tight muscle only and to enhance the "balancing" effect, rather than just rubbing sore areas and hope for the best. A "Sports massage" does not mean that only "sports" people should have, it will be more important and beneficial for an office junkie than an active person.

As a sport massage therapist, I strongly suggest that you don’t wait for "butterfly effect" to get too far out of hand. If you spend up to 40 hours sitting behind the desk, you most likely already started developing muscular imbalances. Sooner or later, your joints will get painful, that’s when it will be a long, expensive and time consuming period, and it most likely will happen when you’re most stressed and need to be at your best.

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