Better Movement Series : Vestibular Health

When using a movement approach to vestibular health one must exercise caution. The majority of us will be fine, but there are people with conditions that would not benefit from this type of training. If you haven’t done anything like this before start slow, small and easy.

The Vestibular Labyrinth

  • the vestibular labyrinth partly consists of 3 semi circular canals
  • each canal detects a type of head motion, information from all 3 canals allow the brain to figure out direction of motion.

The 3 Semicircular Canals detect 3 motions :

  • up and down as in ‘yes’
  • side to side as in ‘no’
  • lateral tilts – like pouring water out of your ears

Practicing these 3 head motions is also great for neck mobility!

The Vestibular System plays a major role in Balance. However there are 2 other players in what makes up Human Balance; Vision and Proprioception. (Underlying all this is the efficiency of your nervous system to send and receive information, and your brain or spinal chords ability to interpret and react to that info. But this is outside the scope of this post.)

Here are some things to consider when using a movement approach to Vision and Proprioception

VISION – actions of the eyes and head

  • eyes focus on one spot with no movement
  • eyes focus on one spot but the head moves
  • eyes track moving spot without moving head
  • eyes and head track a moving spot

PROPRIOCEPTION

  • focus on ankles and hips and getting stability from the core
  • close your eyes while practicing to enhance the effect
  • practice ‘Re-Balancing’ – that is, almost falling over but catching yourself and bringing yourself back into balance. (shout out to Ido Portal)
  • practice at an 8 / 10 intensity – that is, if you do 10 reps only 2 reps should actually make you fall. 80% of your efforts should be successful, if not then what you are doing is too challenging!

My Top 3 Balance Drills

>>> 1/2 kneeling 3 way neck mobility

>>> Single Leg Standing Eye Tracking

>>> Eyes Close Toe touches : x 1 set heels elevated, x 1 set toes elevated.

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