Bodywraps can produce amazing results!
Unlike equipment that may “force” a body to move in certain ways, the soft, elastic body wrap seems to affect the body in ways closer to gentle connection to cells/tissues/neural systems and pathways, without pressure or intimidation to the body.
Many times, I observe that using a body wrap shifts the emotional status as it affects the style of movement of the body, all to a more harmonious way of functioning. As Robyn Hood mentioned on a recent phone conference – “Change how a being feels changes how they behave” I find this includes the cycle effect of how a being can change its style/posture of movement. All of these aspects seem to work in rhythm together.
A recent set of experiences brought this up again in my world of both teaching riding to humans, and supporting the training of horses.
A client asked me to help her with improving the canter departs of her horse while he is schooled, occasionally, on the longe line. I watched as the client longed her horse quietly and with good timing of cues.
This lovely Morgan gelding has had good health check ups, chiro work and excellent style of training level dressage riding, but old history of previous owner/training experiences puts him into a different mental/physical place during longeing sessions.
It struck my eyes immediately that he was moving so stiffly…his footfalls were clunking against the ground, and the movement of his body was not pleasant to watch, from shoulders to hips. The legs went up and down, but not much swing throughout the body.
I put on a figure-eight style body wrap and the owner asked him to begin to walk again. In less than a minute, his shoulder movement began to move upwards, as well as swinging forward and back, more fluidly through his body, and began to explore releasing his ribcage to swing more from side to side, which also began to release his hips. The length of his walk strides and the reach under his body improved as well.
His walk and trot pattern upgraded swiftly, with more silent footfalls and a bit more suspension time quietly in the air phase of stride. He began to look more relaxed and ready to execute the task of longeing more smoothly.
The canter departs, which had shown improvement during the week, looked smoother and more confident. The owner was delighted with the changes.
This delighted me, for some months ago, I had been asked by another riding instructor to offer my view of this client’s progress during a riding lesson they were doing together.
The instructor had observed that the rider was collapsed on one side of the torso, with leg on that side rising upward in a clenched manner. It also affected how the horse was traveling, in a slightly curved pattern.
Being also a bodyworker with humans (TTouch and Feldenkrais), I offered the idea of using an ace wrap to surround the shortened leg and invite more internal awareness of its clenched pattern. I applied the ace wrap around the rider’s leg, from foot up to waist/hip area. The rider was not sure that the wrap pleased her at that moment, but even as she began to walk around the arena, that side of her began to change!! The other instructor was amazed at the differences occurring, even before this very astute rider gave us feedback of feeling what was happening. The horse knew, however, and also immediately became more straight and balanced in her movement patterns!
My long history of learning TTEAM work has made problem solving a fascinating journey to deeper layers of understanding the amazing bodies and brains we all live in. I am never bored in my careers, and always grateful for the Tellington TTouch organization for continuing to spread these wonderful, “think out of the box” ideas throughout the world.