All around the world, across all cultures, babies learn to roll, sit, crawl and walk in the exact same way. No one teaches them how to do this, but there is something in our genetic coding that controls this development of a movement. The study of movement during infancy is called Developmental Kinesiology.
A healthy human baby has optimal posture, optimal movement patterns and optimal spinal stability.
If you want to learn how to sit properly, look at how a 10-month-old baby sits. Their core stability is ideal, with no slouching or forward head carriage. Why not try sitting like this baby on your next zoom call?
Or if you want to know how to squat better at the gym, look at the 12-month-old baby! They have a neutral position of the pelvis, their low back is centred, with the hips, knees, and ankle joints ideally aligned. Who knew babies loved squatting?
As we grow older, many of us move away from these ideal movement patterns as a result of:
Sedentary lifestyle (sitting stooped over an iPad or Phone)
Skeletal or neurological disorders.
As adults, we don’t move the way we were designed to and as a result, we are seeing a high prevalence of back pain, headaches, neck pain, arthritis, knee pain, etc.
So how can we treat these conditions? How can we return to those ideal movement patterns, with ideal stabilisation?
The good news is the programming for ideal posture and core stability is still in your brain. To tap into those controls in the brain, we simply need to move like babies again.
This framework based on these principles of Developmental Kinesiology is called Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilisation. I know that’s a mouthful so let’s just call it DNS.
DNS is the unique, groundbreaking rehabilitation approach that is based on 60 years of research from Europe. In the approach, we compare an individual’s posture and movement patterns to that of healthy infants. DNS is designed to stimulate the movement control centres in the brain in order to activate ideal stabilisation and movement.
A real-life example
Let’s look at a case that may walk into Balanced for Life. Sarah, a 36-year-old mum of two young kids, presents with neck pain, shoulder blade tightness and headaches. Upon examination, it is observed that Sarah is breathing primarily with her accessory breathing muscles (the muscles in the neck, chest, and shoulder blade) and when she breathes her rib cage moves up and down. The accessory breathing muscles were designed to be used during times of stress only (i.e. being attacked by a tiger), not for everyday breathing. The ideal breathing pattern is the lateral expansion of the diaphragm when breathing in. This faulty breathing pattern is a contributing factor in neck pain and headaches.
If you look at a 6-month-old baby, they breathe primarily with the diaphragm, and their accessory breathing muscles are relaxed. As part of Sarah’s treatment plan, I would include an exercise that mirrors the leg position of a 6-month-old baby while retraining diaphragmatic breathing.
By going back to these baby movements and working on them as grown-ups, we can achieve exciting levels of improved function, rebuild our bodies, and learn to avoid future injury.
As Sarah practices the DNS exercises at home on a regular basis, the aim is for these ideal movement patterns to be integrated into her activities of daily living at work, at home and at the gym. The goal with DNS is to retrain the brain, so these movements become natural again, just like when we were babies.
So who can DNS help? Those with spinal pain, chronic pain, sports injuries and complex neurological conditions, or anyone simply looking to have better stabilisation, posture and movement.