- E.J. Marey
Paul Ekman, a psychologist, has made a career in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He has found that facial expressions are pretty universally human. Anger, fear, joy, sadness, disgust, and surprise all have pretty specific facial muscle activity. If emotions show up distinctly in the muscles of the face, might they not be found throughout the rest of the body?
Are we ignorant to think that emotions don't play a role in our ability to move effectively and efficiently, or doing anything well?
We are comfortable making connections to the cause of a "bum" shoulder to faulty mechanics of the contralateral ankle joint. Why couldn't a habitual perception of the world, leading to a common emotion lead to a specific body posture. Charles Darwin published work on this topic back in 1872 in "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals"
So are stretching protocols (especially static stretching), but possibly any mobilization/ movement re-education, in some cases, potentially just beating one's head into a wall. Without changing perception of movement, there may, or will not, be any long-lasting change.
Working on movement patterns and mobility drills are a start and necessary, but changing the mind is where it needs to begin. If a person thinks they are "tight", then they will be "tight". Maybe not the idea of being "tight" but the "pressing" issue (stress) of the thought of being "tight". From Wikipedia: Stress can lead to symptoms include irritability, muscular tension, inability to concentrate and a variety of physical reactions, such as headaches and elevated heart rate (my additional note: also decrease in the ever-important measure of heart rate variability).
Yes, improving one's mobility/movement might lead to improved perceptions, but this is still relying on peripheral and environmental factors to change something that might be more successful when done in conjunction with working centrally and out.
Dare I say we need to dip a little into the psychology, as all the physical practice will get you only so far. Activation drills, static, dynamic stretching, mobility work might not do a whole lot for someone who is constantly under the stress response. Neurological "tightness" might be able to be remedied for brief periods by way of PNF or RNF type methods, but as soon as one's thoughts, attitudes, and perception of themselves and the world around them return, so will the habitually learned startle/stress patterns of neurohormonal activity. People have been building up their personal body schema's and emotional character for years and to think that just working from the bottom up for an hour or two a day is all there is, may be missing a primary component.
As stated in the opening quote by Marey, volitional action starts and ends in the brain in the motor cortex. But even before this there is an emotional component that leads to the motivation of the volitional movement. So if we are to truly follow the logical path of movement, then we need to start with the emotional motivation. As my good friend Frankie Faires says, "States before skills."
One's thoughts determine a lot in regards to the effectiveness of any training protocol, especially improved flexibility, mobility, or whatever you want to call it. Hell, everything could be just one huge placebo effect, but that might be taking it a little too far for now.It all starts with the ability to manage stress, change perceptions and ultimately control the mind. This is what the greatest performers of all-time have always done and have the ability to do. As they say, "Success leaves clues".
Now I am not saying that the physical methods of training don't work, because they do. It's just that I have seen many cases where a client or athlete has put in the physical time to work on their movement, but has produced little to no change...
Just some things to think about...