Analyzing Movement Modalities

Community movement

There are a myriad of mobility training options. I’ve learned from experts in every discipline on a journey to pain-free movement.

While working at the original Human Garage clinic, I saw various movement mechanisms used on tens of thousands of people, many of whom were professional and Olympic athletes. This gave me an opportunity to see the most extreme results of multiple training modalities and identify which parts of each were useful.

I perpetually evolved in my own bodywork practice as I absorbed knowledge from the experts around me and studied the human body. Each modality added value to my training in a different way and expanded my understanding. But, with each practice, there came an eventual plateau- a point of diminishing returns- and I had to move on to the next thing.

I couldn’t stop until I figured out how to completely heal my body.

My personal journey helped me realize that using many modalities was not the most effective path toward healing. I was continually working to “fix” others at the clinic while receiving treatments that did nothing to solve the root of my own health problems.

That’s why Human Garage now helps heal people by teaching them how to heal themselves. We help you understand your own body and movement patterns so that you can unwind dysfunction yourself without needing to rely on a specific modality or practitioner.

Working with so many different disciplines enables me to objectively asses current best practices and know which of them will be truly beneficial. One practice I’ve used in the past is called Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) for Strength and Conditioning. It has been referred to as “magic” because of how rapidly it changes the way a patient moves.

DNS re-patterns muscle function using slow methodical movement through a specific range of motion. It was developed by Dr. David Rubenstein almost 30 years ago to treat chronic pain. I came in contact with Dr. Rubenstein and his method because myself, along with a few other people, founded the Rubinstein Centers in Southern California, which commercialized DNS therapy.

At the time, the theory behind the therapy was that we were using brain-to-muscle connection to change movement patterns. Today’s current understanding of fascial intelligence shows us that the brain is only a part of the puzzle, not a complete answer to the question.

Looking back, it’s clear that we were not only retraining muscle but reprogramming the fascia. When the fascia is worked on, it sends input to the brain that creates a new template of movement. The new template is saved and applied to our future movements to make them more efficient.

Another effective training regimen is Functional Range Conditioning (FRC.) Speaking technically, FRC takes the body through concentric and eccentric ranges of motion applying different resistances internally and externally, which triggers the cerebellum to override dysfunctional movement patterns. From the perspective of Human Garage, FRC is simply moving through the joint with neuromuscular calibration.

A different therapeutic system is the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI.) It’s based on natural asymmetries in the human body, the impact of joint position on muscular action, and the use of respiration as a window into the autonomic nervous system. PRI primarily looks at posture as a way to define correct movement patterns. It assumes that the body moves best from a correct starting point.

The way we view posture has changed dramatically in recent years. “Good posture” was considered the hallmark of good health.

However, this proved to be only relatively true based on what I have witnessed in practice. People with good posture can still have pain and dysfunction, and people with bad posture can have no pain at all. Thousands of examples to the contrary belief that good posture equals good health showed up at the HG clinic, which made us modify our belief.

Now, we look to establish a “State of Flow” rather than focusing on posture alone.

“State of Flow” encompasses the body’s ability to move freely through movements without resistance. If there’s a structural anomaly in the body due to the birthing process or bad habits over time, adhering to what’s considered good posture might take the body out of flow state. This creates movement issues that eventually cause injury.

DNS, FRC and PRI are all similar in approach despite being developed by different people at different points in time. At their core, these modalities use the innate functions of the body to re-pattern movement for specific tasks. The truth about how the body works can be discovered by anyone- multiple people have come to the same conclusion in their own way.

From my point of view, all these modalities are evolutions in movement. Like any evolutionary process there will always be a better modality that is created or discovered in the future.

Human Garage started with the Rubenstein method and has continually found ways to improve and expand upon his original theories in order to reach fluid, adaptive movement in any range of motion without pain or restriction.

We have found that the body automatically restricts particular movement patterns to protect itself. For example, when someone sprains their ankle, it causes them to involuntarily lift their hip on that side of the body, which then causes the opposite shoulder to lift as well. This is how the body continues to move without putting pressure on the injured ankle.

The challenge is that when compensatory patterns are created, they tend to stick until a new or better movement pattern is initiated. We can artificially stimulate the body into creating new patterns to override the existing dysfunctional pattern. While this works in the short-term, it has long-term consequences. Because new movement patterns are being “forced” on the body in sense, it takes away our innate ability to adapt and resolve the harmful patterns.

Knowing this, we developed the fascial maneuvers to remove all patterns held by the body, allowing it create flow in real time.

The brain’s connection to the body was designed to constantly optimize movement in milliseconds, so when fascial restrictions are removed, the body can instantaneously adapt without any assistance required from a practitioner. Rather than override ingrained adverse movement patterns through the cerebellum, fascial maneuvers remove the fascial restriction causing the issues in the first place.

The reason Olympic-level athletes perform so much better than the average Joe is not only their innate talent, it’s their access to these kinds of ideas and concepts. Movement modalities are not new: they’re just now trickling down to the general public. It takes longer for the general population to accept and utilize a beneficial movement modality is because of rigid belief systems which demand scientific studies and data.

Athletes at the elite level easily embrace what their trainers and coaches can teach them about movement modalities because they immediately implement the practices and see for themselves how effective they are! Waiting around for a scientific study to prove what you can immediately observe within your own body is what holds many people back from healing. It’s also why these revolutionary theories of movement, which have been around for decades, are just now being brought to the surface.

I’ve always had the mindset of embracing new information and change my beliefs with respect to the body accordingly. As a result, I have been able to guide my own body through its pain cycles. Today, as I write this, is the first day of my life I am completely pain-free! I haven’t had any help from another practitioner in over 20 months- after 35 years of relying on regular treatment.

The rapidly changing landscape of the sports industry provides many examples of the impact of new and more advanced modalities on the human body.

In the HG clinic, we observed that injuries that used to end an athlete’s career are now recoverable within 4-6 weeks thanks to either surgery, movement processes, or therapeutic modalities. We also noticed that athletic injuries are becoming far more complex than they used to be and are happening more frequently. What once was a simple muscle tear or broken bone now manifests as cross-diagonal injuries with most functional tears rotationally tearing the tendon beyond the body’s natural ability to heal.

We believe these new kinds of injuries are related to the best practice methods of functional training and stabilization which have emerged in the past couple of decades. Why? The body resists structured patterns. It only creates a pattern when there is a problem it cannot solve. So, structured patterns imposed on the body set it up for more complex injuries later.

That’s why we moved away from creating patterns for the body altogether and instead focus on ways to remove fascial restriction.

Removing fascial tension and blockages allows the body to do what it does best and adapt in each moment to move to its maximum potential. The healthiest movements we make happen in our childhood, before patterns take root. The brain creates synoptic optimized movement templates while we are playing and running around. Our work is helping people get back to their most natural, organic style of movement!

What separates our movement philosophy from the new best practices outlined above is our understanding of the fascia. When we un-restrict the fascia in all 3-dimensional ranges of motion in the joints, the brain naturally optimizes our movements. Slow, precise fascial maneuvers open the joints and allow the brain to make decisions in real time about what kind of movement is best for the present moment. The more we move in this “State of Flow,” the less pain we will experience!

-Garry Lineham