According to Sean Redpath, owner of Redway Pilates in Bedfordview, those with neck issues are usually told to carry out neck exercises or stretches and those with shoulder injuries are likewise given exercises to rehabilitate the shoulder. While such advice may be sound, it presupposes that the client is sufficiently in tune with their own body to know whether these exercises are being done in such a way that they do not compromise the postural integrity of the body.
Postural integrity is the relationship of one part of the body to another and the specific working relationship between those parts and the rest of the body. Exercises, whether to actively engage the muscles or to stretch them, in and of themselves have little value if the postural integrity has been compromised. This means that correct integration of the working parts in relation to the rest of the body must first be established before any movement or exercise is carried out. Otherwise the energy exerted during the exercise could result in the destabilisation of other parts of the body.
Take for example the simple act of lifting an arm. If in the process of lifting the arm you engage muscles in the neck and lower back that do not need to engage for the action of lifting the arm, then not only will the movement of the arm not be effective and effortless but it may well be causing harm to the other parts of the body mentioned. Thus, a person instructed to do exercises to remedy a shoulder injury may in the process of trying to eradicate that one ‘demon’ be simply creating another seven in its place.
By learning how to use the body as an integrated whole in basic everyday movements such as sitting, standing, walking, picking things up etc., many physical conditions can be remedied, even without the need for ‘exercises’, since when the correct working relationship between the parts is re-established, the localised conditions are often remedied in the process. Furthermore, when there is a reintegration of the parts of the body, the body naturally becomes stronger, suppler and less prone to injury.