My New Experiment: Force vs Flow vs Both

There’s a question I’ve been asking in one way or another since I enrolled in massage school years ago, and actually probably since I first started moving at all. Oddly, the question has just gotten more unknown in some ways with the more experience I accumulate and the better I get at the work I do.

The question goes something like: Are people best helped by subtle, gentle movements primarily guided by their body, or by more overt, mobilization-type movements primarily guided by my body (or my mind telling their body what to do, like in movement instruction)? I do feel pretty confident in saying both have their place and time, for sure, but as a general entry point for most people … ?


In comes fitness, and CrossFit, and my latest self-experiment. For the next couple months, and possibly for years to come, I’ll be devoting a lot more time to traditional fitness training that I have in many, many years (really since before my shoulder got injured climbing, long before I found bodywork).

I’ll also be working on my own strength and mobility much more with overt mobilization techniques, as in: instead of gently nuancing my shoulder into place (which, we all should understand, can be and tends to be extremely effective when done well), I’ll be playing with more grit-my-teeth-at-least-a-little-bit soft tissue and joint opening techniques, like smooshing a big bar into the top of my shoulders to get my first rib moving differently.


Quite possibly I’ll even try the “maintain a 10-20% tone in glutes and abs at all times” methodology of structural health (which I think, as of right now, is a misguided attempt to make a cause out of an effect … but that’s what this is all about, the experiment!).

I’m very interested in a place where high intensity, highly weight-bearing workouts and slow, mindful movements meet. I feel quite sure they do. I just have to find out …

Thanks if you cheer me on, and I’ll do the same—always—for you 🙂 Liam

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