How singing Happy Birthday helped my client walk faster again - really!

Elle X

Hey all, I’d love to share an experience I had when working with a client recently. It’s a perfect example of the brain body connection and how it relates to the fear of falling.

If you think about it, every time you take a step, the body is not only carrying out a controlled fall to move you forwards – it is having to take a leap of faith that the body is going to catch it as it does.

Now if you were a brain this can be a pretty scary process. Over time we clock up injuries and with this our bodies begin to compensate. The compensations come about to try and protect us and keep us safe, with this the timings and flow of joint movements in the body begin to compromise. From here our comfort zone to move with flow and balance become smaller and smaller.

It was at this point we found a client of mine. He came into my clinic with back pain but the thing that irritated him most was how his walking over the years had got dramatically slower and more painful.

Now he loves walking and I love a person who is positively driven to make a change to their life. Working with him we have peeled back the layers of the onion when it comes to compensations of his body but this week was the best!

Taking a step

When working, we had him as if he was taking a step. His heel had to rise up, allow his body to move forwards and load up his front foot.

Sounds easy?!? Not if you’re a brain that has lived in the back of your body for many years and is fearful about coming forward. Then it is one of the scariest things in the world.

You will do whatever you can to stay in the back of the body. You will lock down joints in the ankle and lower back. Your fight, flight, freeze mechanism will be firing on all cylinders to try and stop you from falling. You will basically put the handbrake of the body on and in this case make your walking slower and slower and slower to protect you.

Trying the mechanical approach

We tried the mechanical approach of nudging the moves within comfort zone but the flight, fight, freeze response was so fast to kick in. We needed to get inside his head!

We needed a way to distract the conscious brain from its adrenaline-fuelled frenzy so we could talk to the subconscious brain. The subconscious brain is the bit that runs the programmes of the body that we don’t think about: breathing, pumping blood around etc. We managed this through singing and humming Happy Birthday!

Yep, I made the man sing. Whilst his brain was thinking of the words and the tune we could awaken old movement patterns in his body via the subconscious brain in a safe nudging comfort zone environment. Hey presto, he started loading the foot and front of the body better and better the more we did it. We had our way in to take the handbrake off the body!

With practice this will go from strength to strength, all measurable in the speed he will be happily walking at.

The body is a marvellous thing. Having the ability to play, stretch my learning and be creative with the techniques I use is what drives my passion to help empower people out of pain and achieve their goals. Thank you to all my clients past, present and future … you make me grow!

Until next time …
Knowledge is absolutely power but only when ACTION is taken

Ellie x

"I'm at the end of a long hard journey that I couldn't have taken without you and your wonderful knowledge - I haven't stopped blubbing since I got home - that breathing thing has made me feel like I've let go of something that's been keeping me down and I'm so so eternally grateful."

Business owner (Once held back by major neck surgery)

"Truly amazing! Ellies knowledge of the mind and body knows no bounds."

Mum (Once a hip pain sufferer)

"I am so impressed by the amount of mobility I regained so quickly. A set of well structured small achievable moves relieved a huge amount of pressure from my back. My issues were cumulative and had reached a point where I was struggling to move."

Accountant (Back pain was stopping her move let alone run)

"Ellie quickly assessed my whole body, my body’s history and posture and saw problems that I wasn’t aware of. These were causing the pain and most likely all the other previous ailments I had, all on my left side."

Business Owner (Once had long term hip and knee problems)

"I highly recommend Ellie, don’t wait until all other options have failed, go to her first. She will give you an honest answer about any pain in your body."

Business Owner (Once suffered with neck, back, knee problems)

"First time in so many years I have no back pain, it's such an amazing feeling and I love working with her."

Business Owner (Once plagued with years of back pain)