Created by Gary Ward, Anatomy in Motion™ (AiM™) is an innovative, whole body approach to promoting free-flowing energy efficient movement. Within our pain clinic appointments, we use AiM™ with almost everyone we see. Due to it's effectiveness, we decided to make it a stand alone option for people wishing to learn more about their bodies and how to move more efficiently. Our movement sessions are based solely on the Anatomy in Motion™ philosophy, where we help promote your bodies movement potential; just as nature intended.
Our movement sessions focus on helping you make the most of what your body has the potential to do. A typical session will involve assessing what movements you can do well and what movements you may find a struggle. Based on what we find, a tailored movement plan is put together to help promote and restore movement to all of your joints.
No stone is left unturned. We will gently guide your body into movements in order to promote efficiency from the foot to the head and everything in between. We start with the feet, which account for almost 25% of all the bones in your body! They are there for a reason. When was the last time an exercise programme focused on getting all of these bones moving in three dimensions?
We then quickly filter this movement into the knee, hip, pelvis, spine, head, arms and hands, as well as the opposite leg. In most cases the response following a sessions is usually "I feel lighter" or "I didn't realise I could move like that" or "My body feels longer".
Explaining exactly what a movement session is to someone is challenging. You need to experience it to understand it, and even then you may not understand it! Everyone's experience will be different as everyone and their bodies are different. Some people may have a restriction in their foot, some in their spine, some in their necks or a combination of many different structures. Each session focuses on what the individual needs.
An example of a four session programme is explained below:
Feet and spine.
Learning how to safely move the whole spine throughout it's full range of movement in all three dimensions. Learn how to do this in both weight and non-weight bearing positions to fully target each and every joint.
A full foot assessment and mobility exercises are usually performed in this session. How we interact with the floor directly affects each joint in our body. Learn how to functionally move all 26 bones in the foot and ankle in all three dimensions.
Combining the movements.
With the skills already practiced in session one, learn how to combine spinal movement with foot mechanics to start setting your body free. Each exercise is specifically functional to how we use the body throughout each day.
Lengthening it all out.
Learn a full body muscle lengthening programme designed to do at home to help find forgotten movement and improve flexibility throughout the whole body.
Bringing it all together.
From the knowledge learned in the previous three sessions, learn full body movement patterns to enable functional freedom in every day life.
The purpose of these sessions are not to have an exercise workout like you might expect in a gym. It is a precise experience of joints moving together. It is a gentle progression of learning, or in most cases re-learning, the amazing capability of our body's ability to move freely and efficiently. Muscles will be worked, joints will be moved, comfort zones will be challenged. But you most probably won't be sweating!
Challenging a comfort zone may sound a bit daunting. Most people operate within their own movement pattern each and every day. As a result, certain joints never get to move, never get to experience opening or closing, and just stay still. Challenging a comfort zone is about finding new movement, that's it! It doesn't need to be scary or painful. It is a process designed to be rewarding, enjoyed and ultimately hugely beneficial to everyday movement. There are 206 bones, 360 joints and over 640 muscles in the human body. They crave movement and that's what we focus on exploring. Everyone is different, with their own unique history; consequently each session will be different based on the person we are working with.
Anatomy in Motion™ is based on how our joints move together in harmony as we walk. This means how we interact with the ground and continually move to get from one place to another. It doesn't focus on isolating movement or keeping the spine in a fixed position. Instead it promotes what our bodies are designed to do, which is move together as a whole. Every joint should move when we walk, therefore the focus on our AiM™ movement sessions is to look at every joint and how it operates.
Instead of doing static based movements such as squats or kettle bell swings (both of which have their place), we focus on getting all of your joints to move efficiently together, just as we do when we walk. Consequently everything that we teach has a functional purpose behind it.
Pilates focuses on the muscles that make up the core, and then integrates it into the rest of the body. Often it will focus on strengthening or lengthening a particular group of muscles in isolation. This is great for building strength and/or mobility. What AiM™ does however, is focus on efficiency. Can that joint that you have been strengthening move smoothly when the joints above and below are moving in different directions? With such a strong focus on how we walk, AiM™ movement sessions focus on moving when we are standing on both feet, not sitting or lying down. This makes it extremely functional and beneficial. So while to some it may look like a pilates or yoga session, it is in fact very, very different. Both Pilates & Anatomy in Motion™ have their place. That's why we teach both!
AiM™ sessions work by simply attending. You can book one-off sessions or block sessions. We recommend a single session initially to see how it may benefit you. Experiencing movement is the only way to see how beneficial it may be. After learning what you can do, we prescribe a few movement patterns for you to practice at home so your body can learn how to move differently. We then follow up to see how you are doing and then build on the foundations.
Everyone is welcome. Every person is unique so each session is unique. A session for an active 15 year old will likely be very different to a session for a sedentary 80 year old. So don't worry if you think that it will be too challenging, everything is done at your pace. Sessions are not designed with a no pain no gain philosophy. Each session is about creating safe spaces for your body to move into, reminding your nervous system that you have this movement potential.
Remember those days when you could just move and play without any fear of hurting yourself? Those days where it didn't matter if you tried to jump as high you could, bend down to reach something or even fall over? Those days were your childhood. They were the days when you explored new movement within your body each and every day, and it felt good! Then as life progressed you probably started to sit more, move less, suffer with injuries, traumas etc. For whatever reason, the movements that you were doing as a child may not be happening any more. It maybe because of an injury that hasn't recovered properly, a job that is sedentary, medical complications... whatever the reason, somewhere along the way, movement will most probably have been lost.
When movement is not happening in the body, no matter how small, it will affect something somewhere else. It has to, our bodies are a closed system. What's amazing about our bodies though, is that they can adapt. For example, if the knee joint is a little stiff and cannot move properly, the foot or hip joint may move a little more than normally required to help it out. This may effect the spine or shoulders or even the opposite leg. The point is that when movement is lost, it can cause many other structures to work harder than they have to. This can then often lead to pain and injury.
No matter what the reason, we all lose movement, probably because we have forgotten that we are capable of it. Next time you see a small child, observe how they move. Look at how they bend their whole bodies to reach for things, how natural and fluid they can travel. This used to be you! We don't play like children anymore, therefore we don't often move to our bodies potential. AiM™ is all about functional movement, efficiency and finding movement that you have forgotten how to do.