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When two people dance, if one partner doesn’t move then the two people feel in conflict and the movements are jerky and the two people bump into each other. The same is true for joints. Each joint consists of two bones and if one bone moves and the other is braced then the same sort of conflict often occurs: the cartilage of the joints tend to scrape against each other and, although the movement might be strong, it puts a strain on the rest of the skeleton because the movement doesn’t flow through the rest of the body.
On the other hand, if the two bones in the joint move together then the proximal bone transfers the movement through the skeleton so that the whole body is involved. This makes the movement graceful and keeps the joint open so that the cartilage doesn’t grind.
As one gets older, cartilage doesn’t repair itself so easily and bones become weaker so it becomes progressively more important to move with grace and without conflict.
But, particularly in first world cultures, the average person’s habitual movements emphasise strength, not grace. Moreover, manipulations of joints by body-therapists often use techniques which stabilise one bone while moving the other. Even sensitive methods of joint release move the second bone of the joint passively
In order to teach joints to actively move differently you need to show the nervous system how the two bones can dance together, and usually this means first teaching the side of the joint that is usually braced to move. The following video shows how to do this with most of the joints in the body. Notice how with each joint, the movement of the proximal side is emphasised first because it is usually the proximal bone which is held still. (proximal means the side nearest the centre of the body).
And here is a class showing the “Seaweed Qigong” that gives a way of practising the Dancing Joints principle in your own body.
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We will be adding another video to this page soon showing the techniques in close up, so please revisit. And to receive news of more resources please register using this form.