A few weeks ago, a client was searching for her keys in her purse after our session when she fell. She was walking, looking, and not fully focused on getting from point A to point B. When I e-mailed her later that evening to make sure she was okay, she responded that she was a little bruised (her husband said it looked like she had a really bad botox job on her lips), but otherwise okay. She replied she was thankful it had been after our session. She felt quite relaxed before the fall, and she was sure it would have been worse had she been tense and braced for the impact.
People that exercise regularly are aware of the calming effect exercise can have once it’s over. This is due to chemicals that are released during and after exercise. The combination of chemicals released depends on a variety of things- did the exercise require focused attention? Was it challenging? Was it rhythmic? Was it familiar? Did it require an emphasis on breath? Did it alternate between hard and easy? The good news is almost any of the above will result in a feeling of improved mood. My client’s session that day followed an arc pattern. We began with breathing exercises and motor control to focus her attention, moved into strength and stability work, elevating her heart rate and challenging her strength, and finished with breathing exercises to calm the nervous system. The breathing exercises at the end of the session focused on long exhales, which put her into a more relaxed state. Just like a large degree of controlled joint mobility gives someone more movement options and emotional variability improves a person’s relationship to stress, the ability to move across an arousal spectrum between parasympathetic and sympathetic states impacts mental and physical response. I don’t know if this client’s reaction to falling would have been different is she were in a different frame of mind; I am just grateful she’s okay, and if she felt her relaxed state benefited her, that’s not a bad thing.