a physical therapist at the boardwalk

When I occupy a bench along the boardwalk, many unsuspecting subjects enter my study. The Suess-like display of various features, sizes, and ways of moving is fascinating.

Some humans stroll by lightheartedly while others display a posture of merely covering ground. How do you differentiate an exerciser from someone trying to get from A to B? They may be moving at a similar speed and level of effort, but the exerciser nearly always advertises a deliberate arm swing and exaggerated breathing pattern that says "This is for fitness."

Image result for stack of river rocksSome people, mostly children, manage to flit about with little effort. Their joints are congruent and each segment swings with smooth pendular motion that is mostly reciprocal and symmetrical. They sometimes stumble and bump into things, but even in error their body's exhibit resilience and freedom.

Image result for huge walking robots in empire strikes back
Others make walking appear as an unnatural chore. Their heavy gait carries a burdened countenance and the grace of an Imperial Walker. The head bobs asymmetrically and their shoulders droop and jerk. Their shoes cave and torso leans and at least three joints zigzag upon each other.

Dysfunctional movement, as we say in nerd PT world, is right there for all to see. And yes, as Yogi Berra said, you can observe a lot by just watching.

Do people altogether fail to notice movement problems or are they unaware of how to address them? You would think the person with a sore, twisting knee would notice that their foot turns out and their hip drops. You would think that a few hundred repetitions of crashing down hard on one foot and obligatorily leaning would make you wonder if your legs are the same length. You would think that the appearance of walking into a stiff wind, even when it's not windy, would cause you to consider stretching your hips and back.

I also think about the lives of these strangers, what they may be doing to be physically useful, to move with greater ease and less pain. If they're anything like the people I do know, they're taking Advil or using IcyHot and essential oils. They're getting injections and trying to lose some weight. They're taking various supplements putting hope in diets meant to specifically address their given problem. They're eating things like Kale.

Kale! All this in an effort to move easier, feel and look better. Instead of considering what's right there in front of them.

Of course finding the problem and addressing how a person moves demands some time and effort. And really, who has time for that?

So when the Green Tea and essential oils fail to relieve the problem, try to score some Naproxene. And if that doesn't work, maybe try some reflexology or therapeutic wedgie.

Imagine handing those out on the boardwalk, with a testimonial.

"This a completely natural procedure that supports the immune system, balance your alignment, and just makes you feel sooo much better."

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