Applied Functional Science (AFS) is coined by the Gray Institute and describes a treatment model rooted in functional movement and biomechanics. It is a comprehensive concept that provides the tools to get to the root of the problem and not just treat the symptom. That means that the source of your recurrent shoulder injury might lay in a slightly dysfunctional biomechanics of your foot in function, or perhaps your stubborn low back pain is caused by an immobile thoracic spine or restrictions in your hips.
It is with this mindset that treatment occurs. You, your family or friend work with us because you want to “feel better.” Our philosophy is not a “one size fits all” model, each one of you is unique and thus needs a tailor made treatment. Here are some of the components that are included in AFS.
Treatment While You Move
We move in the field of gravity and it is a logic extension of that to treat in this field as well. That includes working on you while you perform simple, guided, pain-free movements. We look at what movements you are currently capable of, whether that is moving your little finger or doing pull-ups by one arm. It doesnâ€™t matter what it is, as long as there is movement.
In this process soft tissue tension is released while the bones of a joint are gently guided so that they move optimally in relation to each other. In addition, these movements allow us to recognize what compensations you might be employing while providing a map for how to start tweaking them.
We “trick” your brain by activating proprioceptors (nerve-endings sensitive to touch, tension, pressure and vibration), which among other things have the ability to overpower pain receptors. This leads to less pain-signals coming into the brain, and opens up the possibility for more movements to take place without pain.
Mind & Movement
Our mind and spirit affect our bodies and vice versa. Thus, the emotional and spiritual aspect cannot be ignored when we treat painful or restricted movements. A body that is impacted by stress, depression, sadness, grief, fear, pain and so forth cannot be forced to perform or relax in the same way as a body that is impacted by joy, excitement and happiness. The emotional state you are in impacts hormones, neurotransmitters, neuromuscular pathways and the myofascial tissue itself.
I meet each and every one of you where you are at, on any given day, and honor the capacity and limits of your body and mind. My long experience as a Gestalt psychotherapist gives me the ability to “see” you anew as a whole person each time we meet. In other words, I operate by the rule of “never assume, only discover.”
We are a function of the environment in which we were born and raised, and where we currently live. Our genes are turned on by the environment, and our thoughts, feelings and behavior are influenced by what we are surrounded by. Do you live in New York City or on a farm, in Scandinavia or South America? Is your job in a factory, construction site, office, hospital, truck or car? Do you spend most of your day looking down at a computer, cell phone or a book? These factors matter for a number of reasons;
As a start, just look at how the temperature outside impacts our postures. When it is cold we tend to fold in to seek protection from the cold, our shoulders crawl up to meet the ears, while the chest caves in and we look down. In contrast, on warm sunny days we are invited to stand up taller, expand our chest and embrace the warmth.
Mentally stressful environments, be it noise, crowds, pollution, traffic and more can hugely impact your body and mind. Concrete jungles can be very stressful and your brain reacts by putting the body on alert. This can create tight and brittle myofascial tissue, a more shallow breathing and an overall jumpiness, all of which affect your flow of movement and receptivity to touch.
Our myofascial tissue is molded by what we do in life. If for instance, you spend all day doing tasks that require your arms in front of the body, be it driving, computer work, lifting things or all of the above, you might have back and shoulder pain. Maybe you are among the many that spend hours looking down on the phone or laptop, in which case you might be suffering either from headache and neck pain or be a victim of “cell phone neck.”
When treatment takes place we consider all of the above variables and see what movements and decompressing actions are possible for you, not only in the studio, but also in your environment Whatever your story is, it will be reflected in your body and our job is to honor that when we work together. There is always a way to move within the parameters you have to operate within, all it takes is creativity and a desire to “feel better.”