The way that I approach physical health, especially in a rehabilitative sense, has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. In the same breath, my approach to movement and exercise has also drastically changed (most notably I don’t practice yoga anymore but that’s a discussion for another day), all brought about by thought processes that revolve around the following, foundational principle:
Your unconscious brain is choosing, from moment to moment, where and how to position your body. It is a choice that is deliberate, based on the sensory information that it has available to it at the time (sensory information being what the brain uses to decide how to respond at any moment in time).
Except for a physical accident where the body has forcibly been taken out of alignment or position (again, another discussion) your posture, the tension (or lack of) in your muscles, the position of your bones, the placement of your organs, the internal pressure systems and pumps are all working by deliberate and intentional design.
The structure and position of your body (and your horse’s body) is not arbitrary, and it’s not a mistake. Your brain chose that for you. Your horse’s brain chose that for them. Your nervous system chose that.
How you are right now physically is the most functional choice for you in this moment, in your current position.
If we keep this in mind, physical wellness and optimisation can only exist if we support the unconscious brain in making more adaptive decisions. But instead, what often occurs is that we attempt to match the body to a pre-designed ideal. A one size fits all approach.
That needs to go here, we tell ourselves. We need an adjustment for this, to strengthen that, to lengthen here and tighten there. We work from the outside in and end up chasing our tails. We become a rubix cube of never-ending and ongoing adjustments.
I often read threads from people who speak of their “back going out” and needing for it “to be put back in” (just as an example). And in the same sentence, they say things like “I have to go weekly, or it just keeps popping back out” and “I wonder how long the adjustment will last this time”.
When we adjust the body without influencing the nervous system or the brain- without it being the CHOICE of the nervous system or brain- the results are always going to be temporary. The brain will always override the forcible adjustment and return the body to the position it chose in the first place.
Any corrective therapy or process of rehabilitation and wellness, both for horses and for humans, begins by influencing the nervous system. It’s the foundation stone that all decisions are made from.