Frank Wildman, Ph.D.
James Stephens, Ph.D., P.T.
Personal experience reduces the initially unlimited number of possible combinations of nervous interconnections to a few preferred and active patterns of moving and acting. Once an adequate and socially acceptable level of motor functioning is achieved, the process of exploratory learning and development patterns grow so familiar through repeated use that they create a seemingly unalterable body image (for example, a person’s walk or manner of speaking is as fixed as a signature). The body image, bound by motor habits and perceptions, becomes the basis for an individual’s sense of self. Infants have a theoretically unlimited ability to change and reorganize the way they perform familiar activities. Growing into adults, they progressively restrict their repertoire of movements, using an ever-smaller part of potential human functioning.
Inefficient movement habits overwork certain muscles and joints while neglecting or ignoring the use of others, thus leading to a limited range of movement and gross inefficiency. In the long run these limitations in awareness and coordination can lead to severe physical difficulties. Parts of articularions can fill with fibrous tissues, especially berween vertebrae where there is little movement in general. Ligaments shorten or become hyper-elastic; some muscle fibers become too strong. Others in the same muscle group will atrophy. In the long run deformation sets in.