Drawing Parallels-001- Nothing in Nature is Straight

My goal is that some of the lessons learned at OPT carry over into some aspect of life, and encourage deeper thought as to why we do what we do.

As I evolve as one who treats the body, I believe in learning from my patients as much as I teach them.

Please enjoy these tales/lessons from my years of experience.

Back when I was in undergrad, I worked as a “rehabilitation specialist” (which is a fancy way to say minimally trained staff) at a PT clinic. There was a patient who had a business in ocean salvage. I should mention, this was in Maryland. Other companies looked for metal, which I guess can be problematic because there are ions in water, some object can occlude the metal, etc. His tech however, just looked for straight lines.

I’ve thought of this simple idea for years.

I think we as humans like the ease of straight lines. We build straight buildings, we even represent ourselves as stick figures when unaccustomed to human form. There is another architectural option: tensegrity, which we also have examples of in the body. The way we move is not in cardinal planes like robots, but around a 3-axis system of beautifully integrated spirals & diagonals.

There is a principle in rehab called “part to whole.” Break a composite motion into its parts, practice/train the deficient part, then integrate it back together to make it whole. The integration part has many theoretical constructs. At OPT we consider accessory joint motions: did you know the shin rotates out as it locks in extension? We consider PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) patterns where a whole series of body patterns can enhance efficiency. We consider the effect the opposite quadrant has (L hip on R shoulder) because those two body parts have reciprocal motion in walking, and so much more.

So, ocean salvage guy, you are right: nothing in nature in straight.

If your “rehabilitation specialist” or anyone else you are working with, never progressed you out of robotic, straight plane motion, we’d love to see you.