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Why Comfort is a Good Thing

Physical comfort is something that all of us would probably say that we want. Why is that? Is there more to comfort than just the absence of pain?

Pain arises from a number of sources and manifests in many ways.  In this article, you will learn something about why you have a sore back or neck or other area.  You will learn how to be rid of the pain and you will learn why comfort is more important than you think.

Pain exists to tell you that you are doing something destructive to yourself.  You might have a headache from too much noise, or you might have hit your finger with a hammer, or you may be putting too much stress on a particular part of your body.

It is easy to avoid the discomfort that comes from the first two - wear earplugs and hire a carpenter - but avoiding putting too much stress on any particular part of your body is more complex.

Lets assume that you have a place that is painful in your back.  Lets also assume that this place is not the result of bruising or skin damage but is a sore muscle.

Muscles get sore when they are doing too much work and they send pain signals to the brain to tell it that they are being damaged.

The muscle is doing too much work either because it doesn’t know that it can rest, or because other muscles are not doing their part and are leaving the painful muscle to do an unfair share of the work.

Over the course of your lifetime you have developed habitual ways of moving and holding yourself.  You may hold your belly in to look thin, you might hunch your shoulders when you talk on the phone, or you move in a way that protects an injured ankle.

None of these things in itself is going to hurt you but if you keep on contracting your stomach muscles you will eventually forget how to let them go and they will stay contracted all of the time.  This means that your back, ribs and pelvis become rigid and so when you need to move the work falls to whatever is left.  Whatever is left then gets overly stressed and becomes painful.

Similar things happen if you don’t release your shoulders after you get off the phone or continue to protect you ankle after it has healed.

Using the Feldenkrais® Method, you can get rid of pain by learning to let go of these habitual contractions.  The process is simple, you just explore various ways of moving and learn new options.  It is like learning new recipes so that you can make more dishes from the same ingredients.

The movements are always gentle and are always comfortable.  It is not unusual to find that you are moving something that has not moved in many years.  As you notice places waking up and moving in new ways, you experience pleasure in the learning itself, and in the smooth light movements that become possible.

Releasing chronic contractions allows the load to be spread evenly with more muscles doing their part.  The over stressed areas get a break and don’t have to work so hard.  Pain goes away and is replaced by comfort.

Now your pain has gone, you have more resources at your disposal to be who you want to be.

Those chronically contracted muscles were that way because the brain was sending signals that caused chemical reactions to take place in the muscle fibers.  Once that part of the brain stops sending the signals, it is freed up for other things; as is the chemical energy that was being consumed by the muscle itself.

Those two things alone would result in more energy but there is more taking place than that.

There is not the distraction caused by pain and so you have more awareness available for other things.

You have more options available for movement and so you become more skilful at the things you like to do whether that is dancing, driving in nails, or simply taking part in everyday activities.

You have the revelation that movement is pleasurable and - unlike eating too much chocolate - it has no guilt associated with it.

After learning new ways of moving, many people find that they have also learned new ways of thinking and feeling and emoting.  They have new ways – not just habitual ones

Along with this new found energy and capacity come renewed vitality and a zest for more of the things that life has to offer.

A lifetime of habits can cause pain and limitations as you work hard to overcome the obstacles that you place in your own way.  Moving comfortably in new ways helps you to remove the obstacles and gives you more options for doing whatever it is you want to do.  You free up reserves of energy, intelligence and emotion.  You find new ways of being and you discover that there is more on life’s menu than you thought there was.