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What was I doing in a bank vault all weekend, admiring larger-than-life action shots of Steph Curry, Lindsey Vonn, Misty Copeland, and Michael Phelps? Presenting Postural Respiration to a fantastic group of clinicians, of course! Baltimore’s iconic Bank of America building has been refurbished and now houses FX Studios and the Under Armour Performance Center.
Half the class were newcomers to the science of PRI. The science asks these newcomers to, for a moment, put down your beveled scrapers and dry needling filaments. Pause a moment before you mobilize a joint or release fascia. Put aside any preoccupation with extremity joints and focus your attention, instead, on where movement begins: the thorax.
Throughout the weekend, we cited research from luminaries, such as Kapandji, Hodges, Wallden, Chaitow, and DeTroyer, to support the concepts covered in this course:
- Diaphragm zone of apposition (thank you Nate Taylor for reminding us of its importance).
- Respiratory state of twist that is the precursor to habitual, reflexive patterns of movement and the musculoskeletal pain syndromes that we treat.
- Paradoxical, inefficient breathing that impacts and reflects chest wall and pleura restrictions.
- How to restore pelvic and rib cage position, through techniques that reinforce abdominal oblique activity and chest wall expansion.
- How to retrain previously inhibited, inaccessible muscles to promote new, healthy patterns of movement to better sense the environment they’re in and efficiently move through it.
Lab sessions provided application of the above concepts and allowed participants to discover how the “patient-client” in front of them displayed biased sense of air flow and biased orientation of their chest wall. They learned how to coach their partner to novel positions that retrain the nervous system and promote a new, desirable sense of compression and decompression. All participants sensed freedom from habitual movement patterns.
I can’t help but think that the athletes adorning the walls, all of whom reached the pinnacle of their respective careers and displayed remarkable longevity, mastered the art of air flow, pressure regulation, and chest wall movement variability during both performance and during rest and recovery. This is what we should strive for in all of our patients-clients.
A huge “thank you” to the professionals of FX Physical Therapy for hosting: Matt Bordeau, Sean Jones, Christine Spurlock, Morgan Taylor, Jennifer Tola, and Mary Williams.
Thank you also to Miranda Stauffer, Danelle Warner, Amy Morris, Kenya Lewis, Dylan Irving, Jackie De Conti, and Kenneth Scott for your willingness to be the models for tests and techniques.
I hope all attendees left the course feeling empowered to immediately apply the tests and techniques and begin to weave this new, powerful paradigm, one patient-client at a time, into your approach to care. And to the Newbies: Welcome to PRI Nation!