The Abdomen in Perspective
A healthy abdomen, on the inside as well as the outside, is a hallmark of health
Well toned abdominal muscles usually go hand in hand with healthy abdominal organs and vice versa, the body’s internal condition being reflected in its external appearance. The skin, the eyes and the hair are also good examples of this.
Shaping the human form
The archetypal human physique characteristically has shoulders and hips that are wider than the abdomen in both sexes. In fact, when waists become wider than hips and shoulders, our quality of movement is affected resulting in bending and walking become less efficient. We have, literally and figuratively, got “out of shape.”
The shaping of our physique occurs during the 4th week of embryonic life a process known as folding. Folding draws the left and right sides together which fuse together in the mid line like an anatomical zip. Before folding occurs, we are only a 3 layered embryonic disc!
How we can get “out of shape”
When pressure from inside the abdomen gets too high, the result is abdominal distension. When the abdomen is chronically distended, the layers of the abdominal wall become overstretched, in a way “undoing” the optimal firmness and length of the these muscular and fascial components. The muscles become weaker and less able to contain pressure from inside the body.
A distended abdominal wall can have a negative effect on one or more of the following –
- Breathing mechanics
- Pelvic floor
- Abdominal/pelvic organ health
- Spinal health
- Neck and shoulders
Bloating and pressure imbalance
Dietary modification to reduce bloating and exercise to address a pressure imbalance are both important in cases of bloating. This imbalance can be seen on many levels but, firstly, there is an imbalance above and below the diaphragm and secondly, between the inside and outside of the body. Learning exercise principles and techniques is essential to remove these issues which can have short but usually longer histories.
Tim Goullet has taught at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine for over 20 years and is co-author of Healing Yoga. Tim has practised yoga for 15 years and martial arts for 35 years. He runs regular workshops on biomechanics, therapeutic exercise and health.
Join Tim Goullet at his forthcoming workshop The Abdomen in Perspective: using it, losing it and getting it back again on Saturday 19th January at RHY. For further details and to book your place click here.