“Literally and metaphorically, bodies can restore to a state of “Flow.”
WHAT IS FLOW state?
What is flow and how does flow relate to wellness? Renowned psychologist and flow researcher Mihály Csíkszentmihályi defined flow as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”
To me, flow means yielding to the path of least resistance, or moving with and in the direction of ease. Flow is inherent in natural world. Stones don’t roll uphill. And, to the extent that we are aligned with our “nature,” that of ease, grace and enjoyment, we are in flow!
These days we hear flow referenced in the worlds of art, music, athletics, relationships, and more recently even in business. Basically all of life can be considered in terms of flow-not-flow; even, and especially, healing.
My writings on flow and wellness are here:
flow as medicine
The power of the osteopathic approach is rooted in connection and attention. Bodies transmit a lot of information. Once connected, our bodies let us know if we’re “in sync” or not, much like a horse can tell if a rider is relaxed or nervous. When I put my hands on patients, I know I’m on the spot when my own body relaxes; when the connection feels “just right,” similar to the way it sounds and feels to hit a harmonic note. Connected, resonant communication is transportive; it moves us, it expands us and heals us.
Bodies in flow expand and compress like springs. We do this through the dynamic interplay of tension (soft tissue) and compression (boney) forces. Buckminster Fuller coined the term “Tensegrity” to describe this principle of balance and efficiency of systems both natural and man made. Functionally, the body does not heal in parts, as it is the intelligence and potency of “the whole” provides the context for the healing any part. In other words, for any area of the body to truly heal, every area must heal.
My writings on Flow as Medicine are here: (Photo credit Seth Linn, DO)
I often say the body is more like a verb than a noun. When we’re young it’s all motion all the time, and we’ve all seen the dancers, athletes and martial artists that seem to move as if they are made of one substance, with every cell participating in each behavior. Flow is our natural state. And because flow is innate, it can be remembered, even after having been long forgotten.
It’s quite powerful to imagine yourself in flow throughout the day. As if literally you are a seaweed on the ocean floor, as you sit at your desk, in your car, and even walk down the street. The visualization is where it starts. And the feeling. When we’re feeling, we actually can’t over-think. Try it. When focusing on sensation, thoughts abate, the nervous system relaxes and the body follows. It’s a bit of a domino effect. Every cell can begin to move with every every gesture, every step, every breath.
My writings on Accessing Flow are here: