An Atomistic Body
Atomistic: adjective. at·om·is·tic | \ ˌa-tə-ˈmis-tik \. Definition: composed of many simple elements; also : characterized by or resulting from division into unconnected or antagonistic fragments.
The human body is complicated, seriously complicated. So complicated in fact, that professionals and doctors have had to specialize in specific areas of focus. And we are grateful that we have specialists. We need them. But as with everything, there is a liability in relying on specialists. They have taken such a narrow scope of study that “they” or the field they are in becomes isolated and unable to give context back to the larger, more holistic perspective.
In my practice, I see many people near the end of their long journey of specialists. They know a ton about their possible conditions and diagnosis. But they have no context for this knowledge, nor do they have any practice to apply that knowledge to. Knowledge without action is useless. So what if I have Crohn’s Disease? What can I do about it? What if I have MS? What can I do to slow the effects or prevent rapid degeneration? I call this the “so what?” factor.
We are still practicing medicine. But most of our medicine is based on a scientific model that is not empirical based, meaning we study dead things in order to know how living things function. This is obviously out of necessity, for I don’t know anyone who would volunteer to be a living cadaver for anatomical dissection. However, when you study dead things to learn about the living, you must take into account that certain knowledge will be missing. Wherever possible, science is beginning to see the missing link in this practice of medicine. One of the ways to do this would be to have doctors learn their own bodies from the inside out through fascia experiencing the sensations of various systems and hence connecting them far more to that “so what?” factor I mentioned above.
The intense deep study of my own body has allowed me understand and address many complex body issues people come to me with, because I empirically know my body through the vast networking and function of connective tissue. For example, I am not a specialist in gastroenterology but have amazing results in helping people with complex digestive issues. I believe this is possible to do because I understand the substance comprises the organs of the digestive system and I know how this tissue behaves.
I’d like to take a moment and talk a little about the distinction between understanding the function and the behavior of a thing. When we talk about understanding functio,n we generally agree that we can describe observable facts about the object we are discussing. For example, I go to Starbucks every day on my way to work. When I sit and drink my coffee, I observe another woman who also comes to get coffee everyday. If I were to talk about “function”, I would describe the observable facts: she’s blonde, she wears green tennis shoes, she wears designer sunglasses, she carries the same notebook everyday, and she has a tiny dog that like to nip and peoples feet. While this is a lot of information about her appearance, these observable facts do not begin to tell me anything about who she is.
In order to describe the living aspect of her, we must begin to discuss her behaviors. This is when we can start to know about who she is juxtaposed to describing what she is. Moving beyond the observable facts would allow me to tell you that she comes to Starbucks everyday because that is how she feels close to her friend who recently passed away. She likes to bring her dog because they used to play together. The notebook she carries has the lyrics she was writing to the songs they were composing together. She feels sad but hopeful by keeping their routine so she is still committed to recording even though her friend has passed. This information is much more relevant and informational to how we would connect with and relate to her than the observable facts. She is no longer just functional information, but in our perception of her, she now has behaviors that are personal and this makes her more alive to us.
The same thing is true for our bodies. Medicine is based on observable facts related to function. It gives us some information that is helpful. But the beauty and power of learning your body and having a body care practice that is fascia forward is that you don’t simply learn about your body’s functions, which are limited and somewhat useless facts. When you develop a relationship with your body and learn about it from the inside out, you are able to know its behaviors more than how it functions. Most importantly, it becomes personal to you and more of a relationship forms.
GST specifically helps you get beyond the observable facts and teaches you to dive deep inside your body to learn how fascia behaves. By learning this you are building a real relationship not of facts, but of living breathing experiences. When you know your body’s experiences, that is when you get to start having options and choices over your own personal health and being.