Tag Archives: muscle activation technique

Story “Time”

Running With Joy?

When we tell stories, we usually leave out the boring, repetitive stuff.   Yesterday I mentioned my story about running or lack of running.  After finishing Grandma’s Marathon last June, I have not been able to run without pain.  I’ve mentioned this before, but have tried not to dwell on it, since my whining will not help me nor edify you.  

In mid February that I mentioned a new physical therapy called Muscle Activation Therapy (MAT).  MAT involved reactivating little used muscles to help stabilize my left hip.  Every morning I go down into the basement to do my series of MAT exercises, which are boring, tedious, aggravating, and humbling.  Each time I remember Shannon’s promise that they will work overtime.  That is the hard part – over time. If my story were a movie, these exercises would be the parts you would fast-forward through.   

But also, if this were a movie, I would yearn for the dramatic crisis point.  I would say something about giving up, packing it in, throwing my running shoes into the garbage can and slamming the lid.  Then I would talk to Shannon and she would tell me to give it one more try . . .  and, after some stiff coaching, I would meekly pull my shoes out of the garbage, tie them on and (drum roll ) begin to run with joy!

My life is not a movie.  I still have my shoes, I still have hope, and I will continue my exercises.  I have noticed that my left IT band is much better and I can walk without pain.  In time, I am hopeful that I will run again.  But right now, I am simply in the boring part of the story.

One caveat.   In my February 11 blog I compared MAT to PAT (Prayer Activated Therapy).   Part of my Lenten therapy is to learn the contemporary wording of the Lord’s Prayer.  Though I still stumble a bit, the stumbling has pushed me to deeper pondering on Jesus’ prayer.  “Lead us not into temptation” versus “Save us from the time of trial.”   Yes, Jesus, save me from my whining, complaining self.  Teach me to be patient in all things and to seek your kingdom.  Amen.

Is your story speeding up, slowing down, stopped or on track?

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MAT to PAT

To Run is to smile!

This week I started a new physical therapy session to see if my running injuries can be corrected.   In spite of eight months of rest, stretching and joint manipulation, I continued to have nagging muscle pain whenever I tried to run.  So after consulting with my doctor, I set up appointments with Fitness Focus in Mahtomedi.   There Shannon Maxiner and her team use Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) to address physical rehab.  To quote a MAT web site,

MAT looks at muscle tightness as a form of protection in the body. Weak or inhibited muscles can create the need for other muscles to tighten up in order to help stabilize the joints. MAT gets to the root of pain or injury by addressing muscle weakness rather than muscle tightness. This helps to restore normal body alignment, thereby, decreasing pain and reducing the risk of injury. http://www.muscleactivation.com/main.html 

I will keep you posted on my progress with this, but the therapy got me thinking about a spiritual form of muscle activation therapy.  Is it possible that we develop a spiritual form of muscle imbalance when we over or under commit our time and energy?   Do we over commit to congregational, community or work activities and neglect the compensating activity of prayer, reflection and conversation?  Or vice versa?  Would a lack of spiritual joy, passion and hope be a sign of this imbalance?  Could there be a Prayer Activation Technique (PAT)? 

One thing I have learned after one day of doing these new muscle activation exercises, they seem trivial and awkward.  I need to trust in the therapy and therapist that they will eventually produce results.  The same is true with prayer and other spiritual practices; you have to trust that the seeds you are planting in God will bear fruit for God’s kingdom.  God is good at taking small seeds and creating something new (Mark 4:30-32). 

What small steps have you take to restore spiritual balance in your life?