What Is Integral Human Gait Theory? A Brief Overview

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Integral Human Gait theory employs multiple fields of study to understand gait and its impact on our daily lives, including our physical, emotional, and spiritual development. This article explains what it is and how it can help you find complete balance.

Your gait—the pattern of movements your limbs, torso, and head make during locomotion—impacts nearly every facet of your life. Not only can a healthy gait characterized by quality movement increase your physical enjoyment, it can also lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life.

The way you move impacts your joints and bones and determines the efficacy with which your body’s systems function. The effect of your movements can lead to incidences of back and hip pain and dysfunction as well as serious physical and neurological diseases—or not, depending on how efficient your movements are.

What if you could avoid the diseases and imbalances that are such common bedfellows of aging? Integral Human Gait theory can help unlock your understanding and potential to improve your overall well-being.

Integral Human Gait Theory: What Is It?

Integral Human Gait theory looks to somatic education and beyond—including neuroscience, osteopathy, human potential, anthropology, physical therapy, and more—to understand gait and its effects on the whole person.

For wellness professionals in physical therapy, yoga, somatics, and other fields, it can turn knowledge of movement into practical application toward remapping movement onto the body, coalescing the movements of individual parts into one fluid movement of the whole person.

As humans, we have infinite learning potential. IHG theory uses our ability to adapt and re-learn to create new possibilities for movement, pain relief, emotional understanding, and spiritual development.

The Two Legs of Integral Human Gait Theory

We can divide Integral Human Gait theory into two parts—legs may be the more apt metaphor—that work together to foster learning and growth. The first leg comprises cognition and gait, which helps us understand how humans develop and how our neuromusculoskeletal systems function as we age. Standing on this leg, we can see how the parts affect the whole and vice versa.

The other leg provides a framework for creating more efficient movement. Through learning modalities like Feldenkrais and other somatic education programs, we learn how our own bodies move and see the potential for change.

The Gates within Gait

There are five gates within gait that help us understand the wide-reaching effects that our movement has on our lives: science, somatic education, human development, human potential, and kinematic.

Within the science gate, we study neuroplasticity and anatomy, as well as other scientific fields. The gate of somatic education allows us insight into aspects of movement. As its name suggests, the gate of human development provides awareness of typical human development and reflex. The gate of human potential opens us to anthropological, creative, and communicative means of understanding ourselves. Finally, the kinematic gate offers a view of the extent, speed, and direction of movement.

See What Somatics Has to Offer You

As a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, I am happy to answer your questions about it. Please contact me today if you want to learn more.

Want to engage in some active online learning? Join us for our upcoming Gait for Human Potential online series, scheduled over five Saturdays starting on August 28! Sign up here.

Carol is a physical therapist, a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence. Focus, Align, Teach and Inspire! These qualities not only describe her work, but they also describe her presence. She is passionate when it comes to reconnecting learning with human function and health. Carol is in private practice at MontgomerySomatics.com in Columbus, Indiana.

 

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