††††††† COLORADO SERENITY Ė August 2004† (BALANCE Ė Strengthen the Weak)
Tracy Saraduke, RN, M.Ac. L.Ac.
3082 Evergreen Parkway, Suite 2
Evergreen, CO 80439
Imbalance is defined as the state of being out of equilibrium or out of proportion.† So, imbalance can only be found through comparisons.† Someoneís heart rate is too high compared to the standard norm, or compared to their personal norm.† The body gives a message when there is imbalance, like pain from an overworked muscle.† What isnít always obvious is the weak area that prompted the painful muscle to overcompensate in the first place.† When an imbalance shows up physically or structurally, itís apparent something is wrong.† Itís a matter of finding the underlying cause, the weakness.
††††† We habitually use our strengths to force a solution, while masking our weaknesses.† For example, we shift our weight to the strong leg, while the weaker leg takes a break, never getting a chance to get stronger.† With a hip thrown out to the side, the spine adapts with a curve, a shoulder drops, and the head tilts.† Back pain, neck pain and headaches result.† All of this came from favoring one leg.† The resulting pain appears unrelated to the underlying weakness.†
††††† When told to stand up straight, we pull our shoulders back.† It seems that this is the easiest way to change or correct the posture, but it adds a burden to muscles that were already working hard.† Correcting the symptom does not correct the deeper imbalance. Also, not all imbalances are postural, although postural imbalances are easy to spot.
††††† What is the alternative to favoring the strong area while the weak stays hidden and unused?† Look at what people with back trouble are often taught to do: strengthen weak stomach muscles in order to support and therefore allow relaxation of the tight back muscles.† This takes advantage of the balancing relationship between these two muscle groups.† When the weaker is strengthened, the stronger/tight muscles loosen.
††††† Try this.† Find where you hold tension and see if you can relax it.† Chances are that you canít get the tension to release.† Now, find where you notice you are chronically loose or weak.† Keep your attention on that area as you exercise, stretch, work, or go about any activity.† Work on strengthening these areas.† See if you can back off of your overall effort to bring balance instead of trying even harder.
††††† Youíll be surprised what shows up when you donít follow unconscious habits.† Underlying problem can surface when you donít give in.† Take someone who eats when they are hungry, only to discover that they are still hungry for something when they are stuffed; they have a hunger or emptiness somewhere other than in their stomach.†
††††† This is the approach taken with Japanese acupuncture.† We look for the pattern of imbalance.† Then, we fill whatever is empty so the excesses decrease.† We strengthen what is weak to bring balance.