Has anyone ever told you that your body isn’t the same from side to side? That you don’t move the same way from side to side?
That you are…gasp… asymmetrical???
Don’t sweat it. We all are.I often see clients who are afraid to move. Somewhere along the line, someone told them that they have an asymmetry that needs to be fixed. And so, trying to stay safe and make sure they don’t make it worse, they stop doing things they love. Hmmm….
I often hear from clients that they’re concerned about a hip hike or a lowered shoulder, that they can balance on one leg better than the other, that they have a “bad” side/ shoulder/ leg/ etc. I’m always interested in how that asymmetry is affecting them. Would they have noticed it if someone hadn’t told them? If there is pain or discomfort, what makes it feel better or worse? How do they generally move? What do they do most often and for how long have they been doing it? We focus on how they move and what we can add to their movement diet, rather than what matches up to what! Because here’s the thing… Almost everyone I’ve seen over a long time and hundreds of bodies, has a bit of a hip hike. Almost everyone has a slight rotation of the pelvis. Lots of people have what seems to be a longer leg. Everyone has one shoulder a bit higher than the other. None of those things are inherently bad! Can they be changed? Maybe. Do they NEED to be changed? Maybe not. Often it’s just about moving more, moving differently. Wake up the sleepy bits and get more variety of motion and diversity of muscle use!
But let’s get back to this whole issue of the sides being different and having a “good” side and a “bad” side..I am not a huge fan of that word BAD as it applies to our amazing human bodies. Sure, you may have a side or a part that is less skilled at something, isn’t as strong or as agile or maybe hurts more often. We all have some of that. Some of it is actually really helpful!
Your body isn’t the same from side to side!Look at the picture below. Right from the inside, you aren’t symmetrical. Your heart is off centre, one lung is bigger than the other to accommodate that, your diaphragm is asymmetrical and your liver and stomach are unevenly placed right and left in your abdominal cavity (among other things!). You may have a psoas minor on one side but not the other. There are some variations in the human form from person to person, which I think is really cool!
In many movement modalities we look at how the body moves. We try to refine and improve our form, mechanics, strength, flexibility and flow. That’s cool, it’s part of getting better at something! Sometimes we try to address asymmetries and level them out, and that’s cool too. I spend a LOT of time looking at bodies and how they move. Sometimes I’m helping a client address the way one part moves compared to the other. But it’s not about trying to “fix the bad side”! Here’s one of the things I say more often than anything else: