May Instructor of the Month Advice
The ChiRunning Technique is an energy efficient, pain-free and injury-free method of running. It teaches us what proper alignment is – shoulders over your hips over your ankles – but it’s possible that your body might need additional guidance in getting truly aligned. This is why I highly recommend seeing a professional body-worker if needed.
Recently, a physio therapist and an RMT attended a free talk I gave, both of whom found the ChiRunning technique intriguing and wanted to learn more. Both had read the book and were versed in the lingo. When I met them at the talk, I did not know how or what they did, so I answered all questions as best I could. After speaking with them, I knew they had to be in the medical profession based one their reactions to some answers. Isn’t it so funny that things always happen for a reason? Well Kevin and Gordon have since become great acquaintances and I am still working with them both.
I began experiencing left hip discomfort, especially after long runs, and even with my regular Form Focuses, the problem remained. What did I need to change? I knew that the ChiRunning technique had given me the skill of awareness of my body (Body Sensing), and I was aware that I needed some additional help.
“What am I doing wrong?” That’s the normal first reaction, right? However, sometimes it’s not what we are doing, but rather what we can’t do due to restrictive body movement which could occur for many reasons. During my free talk, Kevin, the physio, pointed out to me that my left side seemed to be restricted in movement more than my my right side…
I asked Kevin, “What are you talking about? How do you know that?” Well, I soon learned the what and the how of the way my body moves. After one quick treatment, to the amazement of myself and everyone else attending the free workshop, the left hip restriction was gone and I became an instant fan.
Each time we experience some form of stress (trauma, inflammation, surgery, or anxiety) the body can and will—as an integrated unit—create compensatory structural and biomechanical changes throughout the body. These adaptations over time alter the function of the surrounding soft tissues and joints. With each step, imbalanced forces are sent throughout the body like a ripple effect in water.
All these changes increase compression forces in the surrounding structures, leading to a form of entrapment of the neurological and vascular systems, decreased shock absorption in the soft tissue, decreased flexibility and/or poor performance in any activity.
Re-establishing proper biomechanical alignment in all ranges and teaching the body how to move properly in a balanced biomechanically-aligned posture is key to moving efficiently.
A combination of getting some body work done, and maintaining my injury free ChiRunning practice, I have been able to achieve greater range of motion in my body and been able to Body Sense more accurately. I believe that body work like massage therapy, physical therapy, etc are excellent complementary techniques you can use to improve the quality and efficiency of your pain-free ChiRunning or ChiWalking practice.
Certified Instructor James Rooney, Canada