The psychological functions of the muscle system:
How to develop your personality by training your body
Each muscle has, besides its physiological function, an emotional and psychological function.
If you train the body selectively, you influence the development of the whole personality in one direction or the other. In the fitness-boom of the last twenty years the psychic and emotional changes that occure if you train and strengthen your body effectively, were not noticed very much. Since the notion of wellness was born, the training of the body is not any more uniquely geared towards optimal performance, but to inhance one’s emotional wellbeing. Nevertheless there still hardly exist any training methods that are built on the knowledge, which part of the body and which muscle strengthens ore weakens specific psychic and mental functions.
In chinese medicine it is known that there is a relationship between a specific organ and a specific tissue in the body on the one hand, and specific emtions and mental attitudes on the other. (This is the subject of my first book, DAS HEILENDE TAO, which is described on my homepage). The various methods of deep tissue body work that originated in the US with the work of Ida Rolf and whose last development is TAO TRAINING (www.taotraining.at) have been investigating for many decades the correlation between specific muscles and muscle groups on the one hand and emotional structures and patterns of character and behaviour on the other.
That means that fitness training can be individually designed to an extent that it not only trains underdeveloped parts of the body, but also underdeveloped personality traits and lacking or weakened psychological and mental abilities. To give an example: A person with lack of self-confidence could change this fundamental feeling by specific training of the pectoralis major and deltoid muscles – with a strong chest and wide shoulders it is very unlikely that you feel pessimistic, depressive, down-hearted, hesitant and timid for more than a short while.
The correlation between the body (the fascia and muscle structure) and the psyche has widely been ignored by psychoanalysis according to Sigmund Freud and most of the verbally oriented methods of psychotherapy. Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian doctor and disciple of Freud, was the first therapist, who alleviated neurotic patterns of the patient by working with his hands directly on tense muscles of the chest, neck and back and by that deepening the breathing and thus enhancing vitality and emotional expression of the patient. If a person has a sunken and weak chest and breathing is shallow and insufficient, he will not feel vital, optimistic and self-confident even after years of purely verbal methods of psychotherapy, whereas all methods that enhance depth and frequency of breathing and widen the possibility of the chest to exhale and inhale will be more successful in much shorter period of time; they help a person to gain self-confidence, life optimism and the capacity of emotional expression from the heart. Deep tissue body work as important step of TAO TRAINING (to loosen short, overcontracted , cramped and rigid muscles, e.g. the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and tight fascia of the chest, neck and upper back) and a selective workout in the gym (to strengthen underdeveloped muscles of the upper body, e.g. the pectoralis major, deltoid and latissimus dorsi muscles) is the most effective method to change the body thoroughly within 2 to 3 months – thus altering the personality as well (especially the capacity to be in contact with the inner core, to express emotions and the ways to perceive the world with the six senses). Much better than surgery – no scars and the own Qi which forms the body, not a borrowed facade.
The book TAO TRAINING - BEAUTY WITHOUT SURGERY covers the physical aspects of the workout, it explains in the first seven chapters the emotional and psychological content and function of the following seven parts of the body: CHEST, SHOULDERS, ARMS, BACK, ABDOMEN, BUTTOCKS and LEGS, thus motivating people that are reluctant to go to the gym to do a workout regularly to strengthen a weak, feeble and flabby body. There are a lot of people who are looking to do something for their emotional well-being and do not understand that the body is the base; the book TAO TRAINING helps these people to understand that body and soul are inseparable and that feelings of well-being and deep satisfaction are mostly impossible when they are not rooted in a healthy and vital body. It motivates those people who do not feel appealed by the purely physical aspect of most gyms and sports. It motivates people to move that are looking for a union of body, mind and soul. Thus, it is also a useful book for instructors, trainers and coaches who work in sports and gyms – as well as for body-oriented psychotherapists.
One chapter gives a detailled description of six major character types that all have a specific body structure and muscle armour – and which sports, training systems and therapies are best suited for each type.
The following chapter lists eighteen major sports and describes their specific benefits for body, mind and soul – and also their disadvantages for certain body types and character structures.
Each muscle and each muscle group determines by its length the shape of the body. A muscle can be chronically overcontracted and therefore shortened, or it can be too weak in tonus and overextended. As some muscles usually in many bodies are too tense and too short, and others are too long and too weak, the various forms of postural inbalances come into existance. The most common are lordoses of the lower back, knock-kneas, bandy legs, kyphosis of the middle and upper back and scoliosis of the spine. All this postural disbalances can most effectively be changed by TAO TRAINING which combines deep tissue body work and selective training of weak and overextended muscles with dumb-bells, weights, fitness-machines and appropriate exercises and sports.
With TAO TRAINING you only train weak and overextended muscles which means that you save a lot of time and avoid to consolidate existing disbalances of the postural structure by training already tense and shortened muscles (most people in the gym do not stretch effectively enough). To give an example: a client with knock-knees usually has shortened adductors of the thigh and shortened peroneal muscles; thus, with deep tissue body work you would lengthen those muscles manually – but you would never train those muscle in the gym, for example with the adductor-machine. But you do train the usually overextended abductors of the thigh in the gym and would also do some specific exercises to strengthen the tibialis posterior muscle of the lower leg, which lifts the inner edge of the foot (which usually is too low and sunken if a person has knock-knees).
One chapter of the book explains the muscle structure of knock-knees, bandy legs, hyperlordosis of the lower back, kyphosis of the middle and upper back, crooked shoulders and other asymetries of the body – and how to even out postural disbalances by specific stretching and workout.
The Book TAO TRAINING - BEAUTY WITHOUT SURGERY covers among others the following matters:
- What consequences has the specific muscle training on our psyche?
- What correlations exist between posture and character?
- What effect can an individual training have on my personality growth?
- What fitness program and what kind of sports fit me and my character?
The meaning of TAO TRAINING :
The Chinese philosopy of Taoism considers Body and Soul as a unity. That leads to changes in thinking, perceiving, behaving and the range of emotions.
The Chinese character dào means “the Way”. The book and the method TAO TRAINING are about how we walk our personal and individual way in life.
THE COPYRIGHT FOR TRANSLATIONS IS HELD BY ACHIM ECKERT.
* "Tao Training", to order at Achim Eckert.