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  • ??? Ideomotion Simple Contact understanding

    Barrett and all,

    I have recently been reading the excellent threads regarding ideomotion. I have come away with a few questions.

    Ideomotion is inherent to life NOT pain. That was a huge boost to my understanding of this phenomenon. If Simple Contact is utilized as a catalyst for that motion and the statement follows that it is helping people on their path to resolution of isometric holding patterns why do dancers have so much pain? They move A LOT. In many varied novel ways. Every plane and twist imaginable and they have pain.

    I have seen the youtube videos of Barrett demonstrating SC. I have seen my clients and myself express the motion. But the motion is most often not pronounced or significant with regards to its range. IF someone demonstrates pain on end range of hip flexion and in session they find some mild ideomotion , how is that mild motion ever going to touch that end range issue? Perhaps that sounds like a stupid question but within that MILD (some have called it "almost imperceptible") motion would that tissue ever move completely enough to resolve the isometric holding pattern? I hope I am being clear.
    Would it be useful to take someone near to that end range, staying away from pain, and try simple contact there? Yes I udnerstand that you can touch someone on their shoulders and they may get warmng in their hip. I just am not able to connect the dots in my head yet.

    Nathan

  • #2
    Hi Nathan,

    I am not an expert on Barrett's version of ideomotion, but I would like to give my views from someone who has used ideomotion in other forms for 20 years.

    Originally posted by zendogg View Post
    If Simple Contact is utilized as a catalyst for that motion and the statement follows that it is helping people on their path to resolution of isometric holding patterns why do dancers have so much pain? They move A LOT. In many varied novel ways. Every plane and twist imaginable and they have pain.
    Ideomotion is far more than just movement. It is about quietening down and listening to what your nervous system is trying to tell you. And it is about subtlety. It is about interaction of your body and mind with all other inputs minimised. You cant let music or a dance partner or expectations of others guide your movement, it has to come from inside out. All of your focus is on sensing, moving, sensing your movements and moving again. Focused attention on sensory and moter activity. Subtlety is very important in ideomotion and sometimes the most minimal movements is what creates the most change. A modern improvising dancer does move in novel ways, but those ways are being driven by many things other than what drives ideomotion.

    The therapists job is to make the client feel safe, and to tune into motion when the client can not let it happen. Often, in the beginning, the client does not know that they are determining the motion, not the threapists. This gives them a kick start in being able to do it themselves.

    The closest we have to controlled ideomotion is in Tai Chi. Here you have expectations of how you will move, but are always focused on feeling the chi and letting the chi drive the motion. Of course, the chi you are trying to feel most likely does not exist, but instead you feel other subtleties in the body. The movements of tai chi are, I believe, taping into vectors of ideomotion. That is what makes it such a wonderful exercise system. Pity about all the crap that comes with Tai Chi.

    IF someone demonstrates pain on end range of hip flexion and in session they find some mild ideomotion , how is that mild motion ever going to touch that end range issue? Perhaps that sounds like a stupid question but within that MILD (some have called it "almost imperceptible") motion would that tissue ever move completely enough to resolve the isometric holding pattern? I hope I am being clear.
    Would it be useful to take someone near to that end range, staying away from pain, and try simple contact there? Yes I udnerstand that you can touch someone on their shoulders and they may get warmng in their hip. I just am not able to connect the dots in my head yet.
    Pain and protective motion are all about perceived danger. It follows, then, that treating pain and motion problems is all about perceived safety. There is far more safety in subtle movements well within the persons range of movement. This is where they are more likely to be able to focus on subtle messages coming from within, and it is here that they are better able to “refocus” their motor and sensory cortex.

    The closer you get to end range, the more the brain and nervous system is aware of pending danger, and the more likely it is that the pain matrix will interfere with you noticing the subtle inherent motions that are there.

    There are some forms of “unwinding” that can lead to extreme movement. Rather than being a subtle, pleasurable dance they can become cathartic and almost violent in their nature. The safely factor is all but gone in my opinion. Advocates of these methods say it helps you get rid of buried emotions etc, and clients often feel good afterwards.

    The problem is the body can not tell the difference between real and non-real threats. I believe that some people feel better because of the release of chemicals associated with fight or flight situations. I believe that this is a short term chemical relief but runs the risk of actually deepening trauma and increasing the neuromatrix's association of danger with those positions. I have significant reservations about the long term benefits of these cathartic "unwindings" for some people.

    Gentle, subtle ideomotion is, I believe, more mowerful than less subtle forms, and bring much less risks with it.
    Last edited by Nairb; 09-12-2012, 02:33 PM.

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    • #3
      Nathan, ideomotion is not about the size of the motion, you are right.Big movements are quite rare in my experience - it is almost always quite small or even imperceptible.

      It is about subtle changes in tissue tension that can be small enough not to see, yet enough to reduce the mechanical deformation of small branches (reducing its anoxia).
      It can be enough to alter the protective mechanisms/threat responses that may be at play that cause end-range hip motion to be painful.
      We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are - Anais Nin

      I suppose it's easier to believe something than it is to understand it.
      Cmdr. Chris Hadfield on rise of poor / pseudo science

      Pain is a conscious correlate of the implicit perception of threat to body tissue - Lorimer Moseley

      We don't need a body to feel a body. Ronald Melzack

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      • #4
        Originally posted by zendogg View Post
        But the motion is most often not pronounced or significant with regards to its range. IF someone demonstrates pain on end range of hip flexion and in session they find some mild ideomotion , how is that mild motion ever going to touch that end range issue? Perhaps that sounds like a stupid question but within that MILD (some have called it "almost imperceptible") motion would that tissue ever move completely enough to resolve the isometric holding pattern?
        I am new to all of this, so this may be an odd analogy, but I was thinking that with regard to the mild motion touching the end range, it may be similar to doing wall crawl exercises with the fingers, for a shoulder issue - and small pendulum rotations. (see pic I added below for a visual of what I am talking about).

        They are such subtle little movements, and yet, they affect the shoulder profoundly.

        Of course, they are not ideomotion by any sense of the word, but, this is what I have been using to wrap my own head around it for now, until my brain cells grab on to more of the neurological concepts.


        C.O. ( gender: ) - LMT, BS(Anatomy), DC
        Music Fog... pick a song to listen to... you can't go wrong.
        Need relaxation samples for your office? I have made a Deep Relaxation Massage Music Pandora Station and have others that may also be useful - about 8 massage music stations and about 49 other nifty options.

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        • #5
          Ideomotion may be nothing more than warmth; but it is a specifically generated warmth, unlike bunging a hot pack on someone (external vs internal).

          I fell into the trap early on that noticeable movements must be felt by the patient and seen by me; that was because the first experience of ideomotion for me were large sweeping movements. I got over that.

          Hey Barrett! How's things?

          Nari

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          • #6
            Thanks for those helpful thoughts.

            I think the one that most resonates was that it may be the small subtle movement that resolves a branch of a nerve that has set up the necessity for the protective isometric in the first place.

            A modern improvising dancer does move in novel ways, but those ways are being driven by many things other than what drives ideomotion.
            I will continue with one other question. I suspect I am hearing you say that not all motion is created equal? If I willingly yet gently take my leg in a supported fashion through ALL of its range, I keep it safe, no perceptable pain in the movement, would I not be accessing all the motions that ideomotion would be able access?

            Or it is that the body's innate wisdom can isolate highly specific areas with highly specific movements?

            Nathan

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            • #7
              I like this thread. And I can kinda type again.

              The ideomotion catalyzed from me has helped a great deal with the consequences of 9 hours in surgery.

              Too bad the therapists aroud here don't understand anything about the analgysia of movement.
              Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 09-12-2012, 09:03 PM.
              Barrett L. Dorko

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              • #8
                Great to hear from you Barrett!
                Cory Blickenstaff, PT, OCS

                Pain Science and Sensibility Podcast
                Leaps and Bounds Blog
                My youtube channel

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                • #9
                  If I willingly yet gently take my leg in a supported fashion through ALL of its range, I keep it safe, no perceptable pain in the movement, would I not be accessing all the motions that ideomotion would be able access?
                  The simple answer is: No.
                  There is so much more going on in a motion, or a stopping of tension, or a subtle lengthening. A visible full range is NOT the same as a corrective change.

                  That does not mean it can't be. One could get lucky.
                  We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are - Anais Nin

                  I suppose it's easier to believe something than it is to understand it.
                  Cmdr. Chris Hadfield on rise of poor / pseudo science

                  Pain is a conscious correlate of the implicit perception of threat to body tissue - Lorimer Moseley

                  We don't need a body to feel a body. Ronald Melzack

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If I willingly yet gently take my leg in a supported fashion through ALL of its range, I keep it safe, no perceptable pain in the movement, would I not be accessing all the motions that ideomotion would be able access?
                    Nathan,
                    How could you do this movement in a supported fashion? Or do you mean a strictly hypothetical movement? Besides, it is a conscious movement, choreographed by conscious thought. It's not comparable.
                    However, as Bas said, you could get lucky and happen upon a movement that the brain gives a tick to. Or not...

                    Nari

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                    • #11
                      William James summarized his ideas of what he called the Ideomotor Principle of voluntary action as:

                      "Every representation of a movement awakens in some degree the actual movement which is its object; and awakens it in a maximum degree whenever it is not kept from doing so by an antagonistic representation present simultaneous in the mind."
                      (James 1890, vol II p. 526)

                      I think this is appropriate for this discussion.

                      Based on this: when someone is pain, if we know that restoration of movement (ideomotor expression) is representative of resolution of pain. Then what is the antagonistic representation that is forming the barrier to both the self-initiated correction?
                      --------------------------------------------------------------
                      Body is imbued with mind, and mind is embodied.

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                      • #12
                        I'm sorry but something does not compute.

                        If Barrett is correct and culture is a major factor in suppressing ideomotion, and we are saying that we catalyze ideomotion for therapeutic benefit, how is it that a movement that is culturally restrained can be of value in reducing pain but a full intentional exploration of one's movement won't be?
                        And how or why is it that a minuscule movement could be the answer in the face of so much hubbub about culturally restrained motion?

                        The concepts seem to be either mutually exclusive OR too much of a box is being built around culturally inhibited movement.

                        Nathan

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                        • #13
                          I never said that a full, intentional movement wouldn't be helpful, but it may certainly allow the consciously controlled mind to make choices the unconscious would not. There's too much "luck" involved.

                          The size of the motion isn't important, but rather its origin and the presence of COC.
                          Barrett L. Dorko

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                          • #14
                            The concepts seem to be either mutually exclusive...
                            They're not. I think you can increase your "luck" by creating a context that reduces the threat-level of any movement (regardless of the shape of the spine or particular muscle layers involved) that you have the patient do. The least threatening is what the subconscious comes up with on its own.

                            ...OR too much of a box is being built around culturally inhibited movement.
                            Melzack's theory indicates that the action plan for resolution is instinctual and therefore subconscious, so certainly any culturally derived conscious interference with that instinct could interfere with a corrective movement. I don't think it necessarily does so, however.

                            Barrett?
                            John Ware, PT
                            Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists
                            "Nothing can bring a man peace but the triumph of principles." -R.W. Emerson
                            “If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot
                            be carried on to success.” -The Analects of Confucius, Book 13, Verse 3

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                            • #15
                              Agreed, you did not say that.

                              However your reply still leaves me confused. If I use your example of shifting in a chair to alter neurodynamics are you saying that that type if movement is exclusively, unconsciously generated and orchestrated? Or is that the shift provides the body a renewed opportunity to continue ideomotion that was dulled or stunted by prolonged sitting in one position.

                              Least threatening makes sense, but how about novel? If I "consciously" draw my knee to my chest while supine do I not provide new opportunity to the decision maker in the brain (technical terms, I know)? I see that the position I chose COULD be threatening and perhaps the lack of discernible ideomotion an or CoC would indicate that.

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