“CODING YOUR BODY”: Physical therapist Sophie Hiltner talks at 30C3

In this 30 minutes talk, physical therapist Sophie Hiltner explains basic anatomy of the musculo-skeletal systems, the physical structures that hold us together and enable our actions. This is of course of interest to people who spend most of their time holding themselves the same way, not shape-shifting much, sitting all day, heads tilted over screens, forever clicking… You get the picture.

How is a little anatomy interesting ? Understanding the physiology and mechanics of the bones, muscles and connective tissues, leads to a better understanding of the constraints and stresses our postures exert on these systems everyday all day, and of the negative consequences these postures can have for the general well-being and health. Over the years, these consequences can in fact turn out quite bad, Sophie remarks, as she invites the audience to not lose more time before starting to listen to important warning signals from the body (you know, like pain). Note that the worse posture of all can be any posture in which one will let themselves become a statue, that is to say, lack of movement sabotages us in the long term. On that subject, French readers can read my post “l’effort musculaire de la statue”, on my massage blog.

From Sophie’s overview of the musculo-skeletal systems it then becomes quite clear that preventing and/or reversing the negative effects of still and sloppy habits can/should be in one’s power, as one becomes more aware and hopefully doesn’t wait to be too hurt before he or she takes simple steps that can go a long way. Like… Getting up ! Moving! A little later on after the talk, Sophie took the crowd outside (best place, given the hot air, lights, hyperactivity and electricity inside the building) for a little stretching and moving about. NICE ONE :)

So yes, a little knowledge in anatomy is very useful, and it can trigger a realization that movement is vital, which can save everyone some avoidable pains and strains (not all pains in life in the world are so easily avoidable, so we might as well prevent those which we can). It was great that Sophie was there at 30C3 to communicate this, because as crucial as it is, this kind of knowledge and practical body wisdom is not much represented… I myself am not fond of the analogy with machines  when speaking of the body (I like to stick to the living), but I guess it helped in getting the message across at 30C3, which mattered. As an experienced masseuse I guess I also would have enjoyed it if there had been more time for Sophie to present the case studies of her patients she had brought but… next time !

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