HOW PANDICULATION WORKS: Go deeper into your pattern and then release slowly out of it
If you’re already practicing Clinical Somatics exercises, then you’re familiar with pandiculation. Pandiculation is our nervous system’s innate response to the buildup of muscle tension, and it’s the movement technique that makes Clinical Somatics exercises so effective.
Pandiculation works by contracting the chronically tight muscles even more than they’re already contracted, and then releasing extremely slowly and consciously out of that contraction. This conscious contraction and release sends accurate biofeedback to the nervous system about the level of tension in the muscles, and it reduces the baseline level of tension being set by the nervous system.
So let’s talk about how to tailor your daily practice to address your imbalances. For right now, just pick one imbalance in your body to think about. To release the tight muscles that are causing that imbalance, you need go deeper into that pattern, contracting the tight muscles even more, and then release slowly out of it. So to start with, you need to think about which Clinical Somatics exercises bring you deeper into your pattern.
Here are some common examples:
A tight, arched lower back. Which exercises contract the lower back muscles even more, and then slowly release them? The Arch & Flatten, Back Lift, Arch & Curl and its variations, Lower Back Release, Standing Hamstring Release, Seated Hamstring Release, Head & Knee Lifts.
Rounded posture or forward head posture. Which exercises contract and release the muscles that are pulling you forward (your abdominals)? The Arch & Flatten, Arch & Curl and its variations, Head Lifts, Diagonal Curl.
Functional leg length discrepancy. Which exercises hike your higher hip up even higher? The Side Curl, Hip Slides, Big X, Proprioceptive Exercise 2, Hip Directions.
A scoliotic curve. Which exercises bring you deeper into that curve, and then slowly release out of it? The Side Curl, Hip Slides, Big X, Proprioceptive Exercises 2, 3, & 4, Hip Directions.
Other ways you can figure out which exercises to focus on are:
- Look at the top of each exercise page in the online courses; the first paragraph lists the conditions for which that exercise is typically most helpful.
- Check my blog—I’ve written posts on a number of conditions that will help guide you.
- Base it on how you feel. As you learn each exercise, feel internally which ones are most helpful in releasing your tension or pain. This is THE best way to determine which exercises to do most often!