We all have many barriers to reaching our peak performance. One of my biggest barriers was always saying I will do X once my back and hip are better. I had tried multiple approaches to relieving my symptoms: I had lingering pain that came and went, and I had tried stretching, resting, and taking the advice of both my primary care doctor and a physical therapist. None of those efforts completely resolved the problem, though, so I knew I needed another method if I were truly committed to breaking this barrier once and for all. I found my relief in Active Release Technique therapy.
Here’s how it works: my therapist started by asking for a history of the pain, and then palpitated key areas of my body. Then came the moment when I knew this method might actually work: my therapist had me stand up and demonstrate the gym-based exercises or Bikram yoga poses in which I’d felt the twinges of pain. She observed and then corrected techniques based on tightness or muscle strength discrepancies in my body, and assigned me homework to work on correcting these.
Then the fun really began: we returned to the table, where the therapist really opened my eyes and my joints to just how flexible I am, and how my injury was impeding my mobility. The therapist instructed me how to position my body, prepare my muscles, and move my limbs as she applied pressure, stretched, and twisted the affected parts of my body. At times it was painful, but it was no worse than the last few strides to conquer a large hill or pushing through a final set of chest presses. When told to stand up and walk around, I sprung from my reclined position to test my newly mobilized hip, and the flexibility was amazing! In fact, my mobility was so improved that I got a little overzealous in my movements and completely wiped out! My therapist laughed with me and said next time move slower and test it out. Even though I was dying with laughter on the floor, I knew I’d be back for more.
And I can’t wait to share all the plans and challenges I have for my newly mobilized right hip – I’ve broken through the barrier. So what’s the lingering pain or barrier you’re ready to commit your mental, physical and monetary resources to break through?