Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"Muscle Memory" is a Misnomer

 Most folks have heard the term Muscle Memory. But really, that is a bit of a misnomer...Let me explain.

OK, first, where are our memories stored, whether they're of our first kiss or how to dance the tango? In our brains! That gray matter between our ears that controls everything we do, voluntarily and involuntarily.

Muscles on the other hand, don't have brains. Muscles don't do anything without the brain telling them what to do. Muscles are connected to the brain via your nervous system and neurons.

So, when you are learning a new task, like writing your name as a child, doing a well-executed squat, or crocheting a granny square, the part of the brain involved is the sensory motor cortex. Everything we learn has the sensory motor cortex to thank for soaking up and helping us master ourselves and our skills. The loop from the brain to signal a movement is controlled by the motor neurons, the sensations back to the brain are traveling along the sensory neurons back to the sensory cortex. This plays into our internal proprioception; our internal awareness of how we move and sense ourselves.

But once you've mastered a skill, your brain shifts that pattern down to your subcortex, the part of the brain that controls stuff you really don't have to devote time to consciously thinking about every freaking time you do it. It's like driving a stick shift. When you first learned how, your sensory-motor cortex was in over drive (pun intended) to learn how to drive without stalling. Now you can drive home from work and devote your time to other thoughts, like what's for dinner... yum, dinner...

So your subcortex is the part of the brain that actually holds all the memories for your muscles.

What does this have to do with Somatics? Well, let me tell ya! Occasionally we develop patterns that are detrimental to our bodies. We habitually slouch, or tirelessly arch our backs, ready for action, or twist our bodies in response to injury and trauma. By repeatedly do them, and not releasing out of them, these patterns get stored in the subcortex, And by being stuck in these patterns we develop all sorts of health issues; muscle fatigue and pain, aching joints, poor breathing and digestion, depression, hammer toes, TMJD, the list goes on.

That's where Somatics comes in handy. You consciously move ways that your brain hasn't done in a while and you relearn how to sense what's tight and sense how to release and relax the muscles. You un-learn your current habits and develop new ways to move with ease and freedom. It sounds simple and it is! That's why Somatics is so awesome!

So, that's why Muscle Memory is a myth. Your muscles are doing or remembering how to do particular actions that it learned a long time ago and stored in the brain. So when you think "it's like riding a bike" that action is something your brain learned how to do and if you haven't been on a bike in years, it will remember how once you're back in the saddle. Unless you get on the bike in this video.


So, I hope that helps your better understand how your brain is command central for all your movement patterns. If you feel like you are losing your edge, or just want to move with ease and grace, tap back into your brain and nervous system to really get to know your self and relearn with your sensory motor cortex.

Speaking of videos, bop on over to my YouTubeChannel to learn more and explore simple self-care moves you can start doing today to get rid of all those "bad muscle memories". Then contact me to Skype, attend a class or for best results get a few hands-on Somatics Education sessions to really help your sensory-motor awareness. Heavenly!

thanks for reading and sharing,
Kristin

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