September 2017 Newsletter

Your Legs and Feet: The Gift of Movement

An excerpt from Reclaiming Your Body by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana

One of the marvels of the human body is what I call the metabolizing effect of our legs and feet when they are activated. Beyond that function, they have an inner intelligence as well, which you will see below.

Legs and Feet Help Us Metabolize

This wisdom area of the body is one that helps us take what we experience as confusing, disorienting, or simply puzzling and metabolize it — digest it.

I don’t mean this in the literal sense of breaking down our food into substances that can nourish us, but in the metaphoric sense of finding clarity about our lives, our challenges, our biggest questions.

When I was younger, I was a runner. Now I walk and walk and walk. Whenever I have an issue or a problem, I walk it out — or “metabolize” it. I head out on the path without thinking about what I am trying to figure out, and most days by the end of the walk the answer appears.

My friend Bobbi, a talented pediatric therapist, informs me that the Brain Gym curriculum teaches how moving our limbs in a cross-body motion stimulates and integrates the hemispheres of the brain.

Any physical activity, like taking a walk or a run, facilitates integration between the body and the brain — as long as our limbs move in a synchronized manner. Thus, by doing this kind of exercise, tissues in areas that are stuck or caught can start moving again.

Also, think about what happens to people when they are frozen with trauma.

Often people who have sustained traumatic injuries that were overwhelming go into a contracted or dissociated, frozen place, and a felt sense of one’s legs and feet are one of the first things to disappear.

When this occurs, the healing process is stymied.

Stimulating small movements can end stasis at a cellular level. Full-body movements help to heal overall frozen shock states, and both are the antidote needed for healing trauma at a core level.

And nothing is more nonthreatening than taking a walk!

One review of research done by Harvard showed that daily aerobic exercise lifts mild to moderate depressive symptoms by 60 to 70 percent, which was equal to the effectiveness of antidepressant medications (like the SSRI Zoloft).

Further, exercisers maintained their gains longer than those on antidepressants as long as they continued to move their legs and feet regularly in an aerobic manner.

Stimulating small movements can end stasis at a cellular level. Full-body movements help to heal overall frozen shock states, and both are the antidote needed for healing trauma at a core level.

One study found that walking fast for about thirty-five minutes a day for five times a week, or sixty minutes a day for three times per week, had a significant influence on moderate depression.

This bestows all the health benefits of exercise in terms of the mood-lifting effects of endorphins, enhanced immune function, and reduction of pain perception.

Also, think about how muddled and overwhelming it can feel to deal with stressful situations that have a lot of options.

After traumatic events, and even with normal stressors, we know that our perceptual lens is narrowed and our ability to come up with creative solutions is vastly reduced.

When we get moving and activate our legs and feet to sort it all out, the potential for excellent healing solutions is immense — if we can remember to use them!

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Excerpted from the book Reclaiming Your Body: Healing from Trauma and Awakening to Your Body’s Wisdom. Copyright ©2017 by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.