Into Orbit - Experiential Anatomy

This week, I put together a brief exploration of the orbits of the joints throughout the body. 

I am certainly not the first person to explore the metaphor of the human body and it's relationship to outer space, and analogies abound. Here is a lovely visual called the " Infinite Zoom", for example, showing the similarities at every level of humanity to our infinite environment. 


Now, back to that universe within you... 

When we move a joint, we are typically taking one of the intersecting bones and taking it's opposite end in a range of motion. For example, to articulate the wrist, you could circle your hand, causing motion in the joint below. Given how our body is put together, nearly every joint has a circular possibility of movement, either because of the shape of the joint itself, or the rotational capacity of the bones meeting within it. To maintain range of motion, one must use it, so by "orbiting" one area around the next, we can gently rediscover ranges of motion.

We have more joints in the body than we have bones, and there are a number of different types, some that move more than others. For a helpful video that breaks this down, you can click on over here and learn all about them. However, to understand the concept behind this week's installment of "Breathe In, Work Out", it's not necessary to have committed them all to memory. 

A healthy human body will create movement in a "chain", where force and articulation are distributed harmoniously over a series of muscles, bones and joints. Visualize a whip cracking in slow motion, and how that movement travels through the length of a cord. That would be an example of well distributed movement. 

When a body is injured, or out of alignment, movement becomes restricted in one or more places, and the ability to evenly distribute movement is lost, as certain joints lose their range, and other joints are asked to take on more of the load, creating imbalanced movement in the body. Through repetitive motion, we can wind up wearing down on certain joints, while freezing others in perpetual lack of motion. 

The most articulate joints in the body are called Synovial joints, where the intersecting bones are protected by a fluid sack called a Bursa, that is filled with synovial fluid. As the joint opens and closes, this fluid is distributed throughout it, lubricating the points of contact and maintaining smooth range of motion. When motion is restricted, so is the ability to lubricate the joint, resulting in limited range, and in some cases, pain. 

Through repetitive motion, our body learns movement patterns, and over time, your body can teach itself to either loosen up your chains of motion, or further restrict them. So I created this little sequence to move through some of the more common points of articulation in the body, exploring an " orbit" at each one. 

I couldn't help but to include this beautiful version of William Orbit's "Triple Concerto", remixed by DJ Hanif Wondir, as the pairing was too appropriate.