What is Body Mapping & the Body Mapping Manual
by Fiona Bryant
What is Body Mapping?
Body map is the term given to the representational map of our bodies we have each developed in our brains. It may also be called body model, body scheme or internal representation. In the first three years of our lives the development of our body map enables us to begin to walk, run, jump and speak. As we continue to grow and develop, so too does our body map. This process of development is predominantly informed by our experiences living in the world. Unfortunately, over time our body maps tend to develop faults and may have entirely ‘blank’, unmapped areas. For example, many adults when asked to point to their hip joints will point to a higher bony aspect of their pelvis (iliac crest), the upper leg (greater trochanter) or state that they are not sure.
Unfortunately, over time our body maps tend to develop faults and may have entirely ‘blank’, unmapped areas. For example, many adults when asked to point to their hip joints will point to a higher boney aspect of their pelvis (Iliac crest), the upper leg (greater trochanter) or state that they are not sure.
Why is correcting and refining our Body Map important?
If there is a disparity in the mental representation (body map) and the anatomical reality, the mental always wins in movement! In other words, the problem with a faulty or incomplete body map is that it directly and oftentimes negatively, informs the way we move. Our faulty or incomplete body map may cause us to move in ways that are awkward, injurious and painful because we are simply not moving according to our design.
In the just described example of mis-mapped hip joints, the likely consequence will be that when this person bends i.e. to pick something up, they will bend from where they have mapped their hip joint rather than at the actual joint. In this case, since the ilium and head of the femur cannot bend, the bending will take place in the lumbar spine, placing undue stress and load upon this area. With repetition and over time this can lead to injury.
How does Body Mapping support and enhance my learning of the Alexander Technique?
A detailed and accurate body map will enhance the study of all somatic based education methods including Alexander Technique. By engaging in the process of continually correcting and refining your body map you will find you are more effectively able to utilize the information received in your Alexander Technique lessons.
The Body Mapping Manual 2017
This 170 page illustrated manual was developed to support the delivery of the Body Mapping: Use body mapping to improve movement and posture unit taught as a part of the Advanced Diploma for Alexander Technique Teacher Training. This publication will be an asset to a range within a of environments including those where teachers or trainers are wanting to extend experiential teaching and learning. The content can be applied to a range of physical skills, activities or clinical situations where therapists are treating clients or advising them on postural and/or movement issues.
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