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Muscle Memories

Most people could become more in touch with their own bodies, able to move more freely and easily.  Until someone starts down this road they are unlikely to be aware just how much change is possible, the differences one can feel.

Learning to become more aware and freer involves unlearning habitual patterns of movement. It comes as somehting of a suprise that this is much more than just a learning-to-use-muscles challenge.  It is emotionally challenging too.

The habitual restrictions in the way we move seem to come from experiences that have shaped our personality. Wilhelm Reich's concept of 'Body Armour' is one useful set of ideas about this.  Reich developed the 'body armour' concept from observing and exploring restrictions in movement. Reich claimed to be able to tell a great deal about a person from the way they move.

Precise touch to re-educate the muscles in the process of changing the tensions can re elicit memories from the past. It is as if the muscles actually held those memories.

The idea that muscles hold memories goes counter to current mainstream belief about the brain, but perhaps those mainstream views may need to change a little. The understanding of 'reflexes' has already brought with it some movement away from the position of the brain as the centre of all decisions about action.

There could be a biological advantage to holding some memories in nerves in muscles as well as in the brain.  A view that nerve fibres are 'like wires' may be far too simple - a serious underestimation of how complex the action of even one nerve cell can be.  In DNA, each dividing cell in the body stores large quantities of genetic information.  It is not unreasonable that other complex information, information relevant to muscles, might be stored in an equally compact format.

What advantages could there be?

Learned skills, such as for playing the piano or for keeping balance on a bicycle do seem to benefit from responses faster than those possible from sending a message to the brain and back. This responsiveness is achieved through a process of learning, and this may involve some form of muscle memory.

Catalase Website Index •Muscle Memories •
"Muscle Memories" page last updated 5-July-2003