Pain-work: The art of state change

Because every part of us is constantely being affected by innner and outer influences we are all in a constant state of flux. When we are in pain we often, consiously or unconsiously  work against this notion : The search for a path out of the pain can become a desperate search for a static state where everything is just right; where we imagine that we will be in control. But what if this is not the way to navigate? What if the one thing we need to master in our work with pain is instead the capacity for state change, as supposed to holding a fixed state? And what is the one pre-requisite for being able to do this?

The nervoussystem is, according to Dr. Stephen Porges,  most of the time responding not to the real world but to our subconcious interpretation of the signals that our “neuroception”  picks up.


Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Neuroception is the term Porges coined for the unconcious part of our nervoussystem which is constantly  on the lookout, assesing our degree of safety from both internal and external dangers.

We know what it feels like when our neuroception senses danger. To be in a “fear-brain”- state of mind is exhausting and also narrows our experience of reality, and when we experience long term pain our neuroception tends to bombard us with signals that we are in fact in danger.

Stressors and sensitivity

When giving a talk about Pain at the Timani sertification at the Musician´s Health and Movement Institute the other weekend the topic of “Stressors” came up. Stressors, as in the things or situations in our lives which, depending on their number, can increase our sensitivity to pain.

Pain is a complex phenomenon consisting of several systems giving, receiving and interpreting information. The basic role of pain is to alert us to things which are potentially harmfull and to make sure we choose the most expedient way of action to avoid  injury. (For the curious mind: Here is a nice article, only in Norwegian, sorry, about the different pain systems and how the plasticity of these systems, their ability to change, can be both a blessing and a curse (article: smertens nevrobiologi))

However, our subjective experience of pain is also depending on our degree of sensitivity which is directly affected by the amount of stressors in our life and our ability to tolerate them. A stressor might be any social factor, lifestyle factor or health factor which, for you personally and at this particular moment in your life, is adding a strain which is increasing your sensitivity.

The Cup of Tolerance

In his free downloadable “recovery strategies – your pain guidebook” Greg Lehman, physiotherapist, chiropractor and strength and conditioning specialist, adresses the psychosocial riskfactors in pain and injury management from a neuroscientific perspective.

He introduces the “Cup of Tolerance” as a metaphore for when the stressors in our life exceeds our ability to carry them. Working with stressors involves becoming aware of them, and removing them or increasing our tolerance for them, or in Lehmans terms “building a bigger cup”. A first step is, however, becoming aware of our stressors.

But what if becoming aware of our stressors results in a feeling of despair and helplessness? Like one of the participants in this weekend sertification shared “I became aware that most of my stressors are factors in my life over which I have no control”.

Fear = either – or

This is a great chance to adress something important to remember when it comes to stress and pain:

When we experience pain from a state of unsafety our mind is very often caught in the fear-brain mode mentioned earlier, and here´s an interesting thing about this mode:

Fear-brain tends to collapse every situation into binaries:

“My only option is to stay or go, to confront or avvoid, to put down my foot or let everything slide, to react in an xx-way or to shut down”.


In other words: when our brain is caught in fear and unsafety-mode it tends to be blind to the myriad of available possibilities that every situation acctually holds and limits our choices to two or three which usually both tends to be extremes.

It also holds the notion that in an imagined future situation where we are adressing our stressors in some way “I” will be the only person who are changing and that the other people involved in the situation will be unaffected or only affected in a negative way by my altered reactions or actions.

Our fear-brain is blind to the fact that every change, no matter how small, has butterfly effects.

Feeling safe

Therefor the pre-requisite for being neurologically able to adress anything which might add to our present pain-situation is always to find a gentle way to navigate into a sense of safety.

What makes you feel safe? Here is a list with some of my favourite strategies. Make your own and use it as a way to support yourself when you want to work with adressing stressors from a state of flexibility and safety.

  • A warm waterbotle on my stomach
  • Lots of physical safe contact from people I trust
  • Close contact with the ground
  • Hugging big trees
  • Lying facedown on gras
  • Touching different textures (rugs, cloth, floorboards, rocks, earth, grass, water, sand)
  • Soft humming
  • A burning candle
  • A special selection of breathing exercises
  • A special selection of mental exercises
  • The presence of other self-regulating people
  • Slow concious movement

Photo by Hamza El-Falah on Unsplash

Time for New year resolutions

Towards a more embodied way of life


With the upcomming new year in mind and the usual focus on how to better, amend, correct or start up afresh with some appropriate new year resolutions I´d like to share a text from the aw-inspiring Menschen Museum in Berlin that was featuring parts of the Bodyworlds exhibition.

Out bodies mirror our lifestyles.

When our body no longer wants to play the game is over.

Without it, no thoughts, no actions, and no expressions or experiences are possible.

Without our bodies, we have no world, no family, and no friends,

without our bodies we could not exist.

Its complex structure is fascinating , as are the lives it allows us to live.

– Menschen Museum, Berlin. fra utstillingen Bodyworlds

Most of us far too often take our miraculous bodies for granted, and by doing so ignore the fact that were it not for our bodies every joyfull life event we have ever experienced  would be nulled out.


(A glimpse of what the network of our blood vessels actually look like in all its marvelous complexity)

So the word I wish to make my new year- mantra is:


Embodiment is a term used to denote the degree of awareness with which we, experience and relate to our own body and the manner with which we communicate with it. The opposite is disembodiment. 

Embodiment is about HOW we experience, relate to and communicate with our body , not the fact that we HAVE a body. This is the reason why it is possible, even in a society as body- fixated as ours, to acctually live a rather disembodied life.

New year resolutions often tend to focus on making amends for how we have treated our bodies during the holidays (with diet and exercise as the two main themes). But HOW we engage in these two activities are often less emphasised.

The results could be rather different depending on if we do so from an embodied or disembodied state. Here are some examples of the difference between approaching diet or exercise from a state of embodiment and body-fixation.


Embodied eating and drinking

Changing your diet might indeed be a step towards having a better relationship with your body based on learning which signals that acctually means hunger for edible nutrients and which that points to hunger for something else. There might be several areas in our lives where we might feel malnourished (relationships, responsibilities,  a need to use our abilities, our paricular family-constellation, lack of access to nature etc) which all might end up translated into hunger for food.

Developing a more embodied awareness might increase our ability to dicern these different hungers. Then the new challenge would be finding out what you need to adress in your life in order to nurish this.

But embarking on a new diet might just as well be yet another step away from your body if the motive is trying to fix the external and visual parts of something you deep down despise, fear or loath. The act of “going on a diet” is the same but the outcome, both physical and psycological, depends on the underlying intention.


Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Embodied work-out routines

The same goes for «looking after your health» by staying fit. Starting a new workout-routine might be a doorway to connect with and sense your body in a healthy way. Discovering your personal and unique boundries and challenging your idea of what your body can and cannot do. But the outcome of a new work-out regime, no matter if you choose yoga, pilates, strenght-training or kick-boxing, depends entirely on how you view your body in the first place:  as an aw-inspiring entity which acctually changes and adapts to how you use it (and which lets you know what is really going on in your life and how it affects you) or as a trophy to be admired or judged by others.

If we look behind all the currently accepted fitness ideals of our days we will find a lot of deep-buried self-hatred jumping around on treadmills and flexing large muscles in the gyms..


Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash

Approaching a work-out routine with the intention of discovering our body as a novel and totally uniqe landscape gives the activity we choose a different flavour and has long-term implications on how we treat our bodies on other areas in life, not just in the gyms.

The difference between an embodied or body-fixated work-out is not necessarily seen in the visible physical result (at least not imediately) but is often strongly reflected in the emotional and and psycological result of the work-out. And in the long term the physical results will show them selves as well.

Here is a nice way to check if you are eating or moving from an embodied or disembodiment state of mind:

  • Are you able to be totally present and sense into your body when engaging in the activity you are doing?
  • If you experience the activity as plesurable and delightful: are you able to savour it just for your own sake (and not the sake of your instagram- or facebook account)?
  • If sensations turn unpleasent because you are changing something that might have been a long-time pattern: are you able to stay present and aware through that as well until the sensation changes?

Embodied playing and living

For those who want to start the year off with a chance to delve into what embodiment feels like: here is a new year offer:

pakketilbud eng

On a Timani/ NM session we can typically work with:

  • Increasing your embodiment-booster nr one – interroception, your internal sensory awareness, which might affect your physical, mental and emotional state of mind
  • Finding out if re-occurring tensions or aches are the result of ways in which you use your body on a daily basis
  • Learning about how becoming aware and changing the way you sit, stand and walk can affect chronic tension in the shoulders, arms and neck
  • preventing or alleviating pain, reoccurring tensions or discomforts related to playing your instrument.
  • Finding out if stage fright and nerves are all “in your head” or if they might be the result of the ways you use your body when playing
  • Finding ways of connecting more deeply with your musical intentions when playing through increased
  • becoming a more conciously embodied mover/musician

and lots more..

A blessed New Year to you all!


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash


The effortlessness of the expert

It takes a lot of effort to make something look effortless

– Steven Sondheim

When we witness an expert performer in music or in sport the word “effortless” often springs to mind. However, most people are (hopefully) aware of the amount of work actually needed to reach this level of mastery. Therefor “effort-less” can´t necessarily mean that something is “without effort”.

Hånd på klaviatur

A seemingly “effortless” performance is indeed the result of a sophisticated physical and neurological coordination which creates a subtle fluctuation between tension and relaxation in the parts responsible for the movements and to master this coordination is at the true core of every excelling performance.

Excessive and static tension

In a body performing at a high level of function there is very little excessive tension present, each part of the body has just the necessary amount  needed to perform the task.

A lot of us carry an excessive level of tension in certain parts of our bodies, both when we are performing tasks and when we are seemingly relaxed. Changing the tensional pattern of our body takes a long time, primarily because most of us are unaware of much of the tension present in our bodies. In our minds we have a tendency to think that:


so that when a part of our body is not performing as it should according to its design we may not necessarily attribute the lack of performance to excessive tension as long as it´s not causing us any pain. But the presence of tension is not necessarily visible only through pain but also in restricted movement, non-optimal coordination  and affected performance.

Changing a pattern requires that we first become aware of it. Do a simple exercise: Stand on all fours and allow your stomach to relax and sink down like a hammock.


All the way…

Take some time (think a couple of minutes) to let your stomach completely give in to gravity. You will probably experience that  what you thought were a full relaxation is just a fraction of the potential and that as the seconds pass you will sense more and more micro-releases in the tension in your belly.

Most of us spend an excessive amount of energy constantly sucking in our stomach, so much that when we are in a position where gravity naturally pulls our organs forward we have a problem releasing that tension because it has become a more or less constant and unconscious pattern.

But constant static tension also means restricted circulation and our abdominal region contains things that are dependent on good circulation in order to function properly.

Like your digestive- or reproductive organs.

A constant excess of tension makes it harder to relax but more importantly: it also leads to a limited ability to activate and relax your muscles at different degrees.

A healthier alternative is a constant fluctuating pattern of tension and relaxation where our muscles have the option of not only being in an on/off mode but rather cycling constantly through different degrees of tension/relaxation according to what is needed.

Not this:


but this:

Trinnvis bryter

Coordination = using what is needed

When we want to make a movement we have multiple choices  as to how to make our bodies perform that movement. If you intend to pick leafs of the ground in your garden you could use a crane to do the job, it would just not be very practical. Keeping your lower arms extended horizontally in front of you for several hours every day while typing on your computer requires a certain activation in your muscles but the coordination or distribution of workload between those muscles is decisive when it comes to how straining this activity will be for your body. Skjelett

And you can switch the activity of typing with pretty much any other activity, like walking, dancing the tango or playing an instrument.

So why would we use more than we need?

Our muscles are controlled by our neurology. A motor unit consists of a nerve attaching to certain muscle fibres of a muscle. The greater amount of fibres it attaches to the “bigger” the movement the nerve controls. In what we call fine motor skills the motor units attache only to a few fibres and the amount of motor units working at the same time and (hopefully) in coordination is very great, on the opposite side of the scale we have large muscles where a single motor unit controls a great amount of fibres and make them all move at the same time giving a high degree of leverage and force with a lesser degree of coordination needed.

But having the neurological hardware to be able to move the different parts of a muscle independently to one another is not the same as actually being able to do this. Through lack of regular use muscles can become neurologically “lumped together” so that we are not able to differentiate between them any more and differentiation is the key to coordination: if I can’t differentiate between the different muscles in my body I am not able to make them to move independently of one another.

Coordination is the ability to decide  what parts of a muscle  to activate  and how those parts are to move  relative  to each other  and to other muscles of the body.

Some people have a natural tendency for good coordination but for most people the “default” coordination is a result of the sum total of how you have used your body up to this moment which is a highly individual matter for most of us.

Therefor training is sometimes needed.


Photo by Tadas Mikuckis on Unsplash

Both Timani and Nutritious Movement ar methods which are all about coordination and fine-tuning this amazing magical thing we call our body in order to move towards the realm of the effortlessness we all can benefit from – whether we are experts or not.


Nutritious living and playing

This has been a rather inspiring and hectic year with certifications, teaching, lecturing and holding weekend courses in Oslo, Tromsø and Trondheim. This summer i got my level 2 certification in Timani and also my certification as a Restorative Exercise Specialist from The Restorative Exercise Institute™ which now has changed name to Nutritious Movement™.

This is a link to their new webpage :

But the main part of my teaching still centres around Timani, the amazing program developed by Tina Margareta Nilssen for learning how to use the body with a more natural and beneficial coordination, musicians and non-musicians alike.

For musicians the result is a body that allows you to access all the incredibly finely tuned coordination needed to perform music with the body and mind as an active and conscious helper rather than as an adversary which needs to be disciplined, fought or ignored.

For non-musicians both Timani and Nutritious Movement™ involves a deeper understanding of the coordination needed to use the body in a way that supports it rather than strains it in a negative way. “Affluent diseases” is a term often given to health problems that are seen as a result of modern western living. This includes a diet which is rich in sugar, acid and processed foods combined with a forced sedentary lifestyle. Just like your body needs certain dietary nutrients (vitamins, minerals and trace elements) it also needs its movement-nutrients, as in varied and differentiated use of the whole body.

If you consider you normal day: how many different positions are you dependent on when doing your everyday routines? The most common ones are standing, sitting and walking.

We humans have a tendency to use our bodies in a habitual way. We sit, stand and walk according to a pattern that is largely unconscious  and  automatized which means that we tend to sit, stand and walk in one specific way. Acctually there are a dozen different positions available just when it comes to sitting and variation is the key: even though this message is being pushed all around:1129-1_FONT_fontp7073_movement2.0_poster_a1_aug28

…the main problem is not sitting – it´s sitting in the same way every time, And when it comes to sitting we accually have rather a lot of options for variety. Here are just a few, collected from around the world by anthropologist Gordon Hewes:

sitting postures

Each of these postures gives the body a different form of load and therefore a different kind of movement-nutrient, just as having this as your default-position for 7 hours each day creates the same kind of repeated load and eventually a movement-nutrient-deficiency:


As long as you have a body you can benefit from Timani and Nutritious Movement.

Have a happy, healthy, varied, conscious and nutritious Christmas and New year!


Timani – en inngangport til en dypere forståelse av kropp og musisering

stående speilbilde For musikere
– For ikke-musikere
– For tangodansere

  • Timani handler om å oppnå en bedre indre koordinering mellom de ulike delene av bevegelsesapparatet vårt og derved øke evnen til musisering eller ganske enkelt til å være komfortabel i egen kropp. Du oppnår en større sikkerhet og teknisk kontroll, bedre klang og større uttrykksmuligheter på instrumentet ditt. I tillegg får du konkret kunnskap som lar deg forebygge framtidige belastningsskader og endre innøvde belastende spenningsmønstre.

Kroppen vår er et presisjonsverktøy: hver del har sin bestemte funksjon og oppgave og de ulike delene samarbeider i et helhetlig system. Optimalt sett jobber de ulike delene av kroppen vår etter et utfyllende prinsipp: hver del – sin oppgave. Belastningsskader oppstår gjerne som et resultat av at denne arbeidsfordelingen har blitt forskjøvet: deler kompenserer for hverandre og gjør ting de ikke er ment å gjøre.

Kroppen vår er tilpasningsdyktig til en utrolig grad og den er i stand til fysisk å endre form som en følge av vedvarende ytre påkjenninger og ensidige belastninger. Imidlertid har den fra naturens side en default-modus; begrepet “Alignment” henviser til den fysikalske utgangsposisjonen for skjelettet vårt som tillater oss å ha maksimal bevegelighet og sirkulasjon med minimal slitasje. Denne optimale posisjonen påvirkes i svært stor grad av spenningsmønstre i muskel- og bindevevet i kroppen vår. Disse spenningsmønstrene er det mulig å endre.Alignment

Sist men ikke minst: Kroppen vår og dens form, utseende, funksjoner og bevegelsesmuligheter er styrt av de fysiske lovene i den verdenen vi lever i hvorav tyngdekraften er den viktigste. Timani baserer seg i stor grad på faget biomekanikk som dreier seg om hvordan biologisk materiale (tenk: kroppen vår) påvirkes og reagerer på mekaniske krefter (trykk, press og tyngdekraft).

Målet gjennom Timani er å lære å bruke bevegelsesapparatet vår på en differensiert måte og å trene opp en tilgang til de ulike lagene og delene av kroppen vår. Dette involverer nevrologiske og muskulære øvelser og gir samtidig en svært konkret innsikt i eget spilleapparat/egen kropp og hvordan den fungerer.

Timani for musikere:

Musikere har en arbeidssituasjon som på en og samme tid krever stor stabilitet og utholdenhet og samtidig en høy grad av fleksibilitet, finmotorikk og bevegelighet. Ulike deler av bevegelsesapparatet vårt er ansvarlig for å gi oss disse tingene men hvis feil del benyttes til feil bruk ender vi opp med en indre koordinasjon som virker belastende på kroppen og kan føre til spenninger, begrenset luftstrøm, presset klang, manglende rapiditet, smerter og andre problemer vanlige blant musikere.

IMG_0071I en Timani-time jobber du med øvelser som delvis foregår direkte på instrumentet. Belastningsskader er svært ofte et kompensasjonsproblem: de oppstår når vi bruker feil del av bevegelsesapparatet vårt til en oppgave den ikke er ment for. Dermed har det lite for seg å dra på treningsstudio for å bli sterkere eller å få behandlinger av en fysioterapeut/akupunktør/naprapat/lege etc så lenge vi ikke endrer på det som gjør at problemet stadig vender tilbake: måten vi bruker kroppen vår på ved instrumentet.

I løpet av den første timen tar vi en prat om din tidligere og nåværende spillemessige situasjon, vi foretar en analyse av kroppsbruken din når du spiller og vi jobber med øvelser tilpasset det som er mest hensiktsmessig for ditt utgangspunkt. Timani er et helhetlig system, det vil si at det baserer seg på forskning innen bevegelseslære som ser på kroppen som en helhet hvor alle “delene” påvirker hverandre på ulike måter. Smerte er ikke alltid en god indikator på hvor hovedproblemet faktisk sitter: en skade i en fot kan for eksempel føre til smerter i skuldre og nakke som igjen kan påvirker bruk av fingre og armer under spilling. En del av arbeidet med Timani består derfor i å forstå hvor et problem kommer fra og å jobbe aktivt med å endre uheldige bevegelsesmønstre.

Timani for ikke-musikere:

Ikke musiker? Vi har alle en kropp. Her vil du få økt kunnskap om  egen kropp og bevegelsesapparat og om hvordan du gjennom bevisst trening og kroppsbruk kan endre belastende mønstre og stadig tilbakevendende problemer. I tillegg lærer du hvordan du, via kroppen kan jobbe med stress-og spenningsrelaterte problemer. Jeg er sertifisert restorative exercise instruktør innen Nutritious Movement (foreløpig den eneste i Norge) og underviser også dette systemet som en del av min Timanipraksis. Les mer om Nutritious Movement her: Nutritious movementSkjelett

Er du tangodanser og ønsker økt kunnskap om hva som kan bedre akse, balanse, stabilitet og flow på gulvet? Jeg har danset tango i 15 år og bruker aktivt elementer fra min praksis for å hjelpe kroppen til å jobbe mer optimalt på dansegulvet.

tangoskoHvis du vil lese mer om flere av temaene innen Timani så ta en titt på disse postene: om Timani og tango, om belastningsskader hos musikere, om temaer knyttet til nevrologi og kropp

  •  Ønsker du å prøve Timani? Ta kontakt på eller send en sms til 99 47 90 92 for å bestille time. Første time varer ca 90min, oppfølgingstimer (hvis du ønsker det) varer 1 klokketime. Timene kan tas enten der du er så fremt du har tilgang på instrument, eller hos meg på Holmlia i Oslo. Timani egner seg for alle instrumenter og for sangere men er også til nytte for alle som ønsker økt kunnskap om egen kropp og bevegelsesapparat og som vil ha hjelp til å spille mer på lag med kroppen i hverdagen. Jeg tilbyr Timani som en del av mitt foretak The listening experience og du kan lese mer om det og andre ting jeg jobber med på hjemmesiden min her
  • Ønsker du en presentasjon for elever/lærere/instruktører/medarbeidere? Hva med å starte studieåret med en grundigere kjennskap til de spesielle anatomiske, biologiske og nevrologiske utfordringene en musikkstudent møter og hva som kreves for å få kroppen til å fungere optimalt i en læresituasjon/høyskolestudium? Jeg holder foredrag og presentasjoner om teorien og tanken bak Timani for høyskoler, grupper og lærere.

image002Timani gir:

  • Anatomisk og nevrologisk kunnskap om kroppens koordinasjon og funksjonsmåter
  • Øvelser som bedrer teknikken, fremmer forholdet til instrumentet og øker uttrykksmulighetene og evnen til klangvariasjon
  • Økt mulighet for tilstedeværelse i musikken både fysisk og mentalt
  • Innsikt og kunnskap som gjør deg i stand til å forebygge og forhindre fremtidige belastningslidelser knyttet til musikkutøving eller daglig kroppsbruk
  • Mulighet til å endre mulige belastende spillemønstre og bygge deg opp etter skader.
  • Mulighet til å spille på kroppens premisser
  • Opplæring i differensiert muskelbruk og en mulighet til å utvikle et større musikalsk og teknisk overskudd i spillingen
  • Innsikt i hva som rent fysiologisk ligger bak vanlige metaforer brukt i spilleundervisning (“Spille med tyngde”, “bruke støtte” etc)

Timani er utviklet av den norske pianisten Tina Margareta Nilssen som også driver Timaniakademiet i Oslo. De tilbyr både utdannelse, kurs og privatundervisning. For mer info om Timani sjekk ut hjemmesiden her:

Tensegrity, tango and giant bridges

Question: What does a tango dancer, a giant bridge and a geodesic dome have in common?

Answer: They are all subject to the same laws of physics pertaining to a specific kind of principle that I wish to talk about here.

Tango dancers have feet. Feet are basically foundations  and speaking about foundations it is tempting to move into the world of  construction and architecture, a world in which a solid foundation is invaluable.  The foundation is  the point from which everything else is decided.  It dictates the later possibilities, construction wise, of whatever is to be resting upon that foundation. We are talking about forces of physics here, of thrust and counter thrust, ground force reaction, balance and integrity of structure.


No one in their right mind would ever build a pyramid upside down (except perhaps in the world of Walt Disney where there was a story once where Scrooge was searching for an upside-down pyramid balancing on a giant diamond in the middle of the jungle). No matter how fascinating balance might be, in construction we tend to prefer stable objects which are able to carry their weight and distribute the forces of what is resting upon them in an even way.

When the foundation crumbles the results are often disastrous as might be seen in the collapsed sweatshops in some Asian countries. For a building to be solid a good foundation is a requirement. At the same time the forces working inwardly in the structure are equally importent. Enter the term Tensegrity

Tensegrity as a term is coined out of the two words tensional integrity. The man who created the term, Buckminster Fuller, used it to relate to a principle of engineering used in architecture describing structures in which the tension between the different parts of a structure make up the main supporting principle of it and not the individual strength or mass of each part.

In other words: the synergy of tension and compression distributed between the different parts of the structure is used actively in order to create structures that are both lighter, stronger and more stable than one would think possible. For instance the Kurilpa Bridge in Australia:


Notice how none of the poles are actually touching each other?

Here is an example of a building created on such principles. What you’re looking at is an example of a geodesic dome. For more info on these structures look here.


and here is a second example of how these principles might be used in creating beauty:


Okay, so what is the connection between all of these incredible structures and the trials and tribulations of a tango dancer?

And the answer is:


Our bodies are in fact tensegrity structures, highly complex and balanced organisms where each part is dependent on the other in order to function correctly. Just as the poles and cables distribute stress and compression through a tensegrity bridge, our skeleton, muscles, sinews and last but not least our connective tissue make up a structure of mutually dependent elements were forces of tension and compression are distributed in an evenly manner.

Or so at least we would wish.

But unfortunately this is not always the case. Unlike a bridge we humans have a mind of our own and that mind is often occupied in adapting to a society and an environment less than ideally suited to our bodies and their needs. We have a highly developed ability to adapt ourselves to our surroundings, especially when there is pleasure involved.

Invaluable props

tangoskoAs tango consists of a lot of pivoting movements high heeled shoes has long been the mantra as it often is necessary to be on one’s toes. In this way the foundation of our axis (the central line of balance through our body from feet to head) is a small as possible. This makes it possible for us to twirl and do things like this (check out the twirls at 3.13 and onwards):

The price we pay, however, is high. Burning forefeet, bunions, hallux valgus or similar deformations of the foot causing pain and eventually diminished range of motion in the feet. Our heel bone is more than capable of carrying the weight of our body. The small bones in our  forefoot and toes on the other hand have less of this capability. They are not designed to carry the amount of weight that we stack upon them when our heels forces our entire bodymass forward hoovering above our toes which for the moment are trapped inside a beautiful pair of thight, pointy shoes.


In addition to that the heels underneath our “heels” tilts our body out of alignment making it necessary for the muscles in our calves, thighs, hips, back and shoulders to compensate in order to keep us in a vertical position.

Remember that tensegrity bridge from earlier? What do you think would happen if we removed one of those poles or slackened one of the wires? Would you be willing to cross it?

The tensegrity system of our body is based on our alignment without high heeled shoes strapped under our feet. In a way the heel acts as an additional pole adding an element of instability into our perfectly balanced structure. Unlike the bridge our bodies are able to compensate for this instability, the cost, however, is often high.

So what if you are unable to give up your heels, what if tango and the experience of twirling around on 10 inch heels is the one thing that keeps you (literally) up?

The next best solution

First of all: the awareness of what we are doing to our body and our feet is an important knowledge which might help us at least not to treat our feet as if they were made of titanium. They are (hopefully) going to last a lifetime so a little atention is not to much of a request.

Secondly: have you ever seen those artists that paints or play the piano with their feet and toes? The feet that they use are no different from yours except that they have been forced to use them actively instead of just shoving them into tight, unyielding shoes every day.

The good news: your feet are adaptable, exercises and stretches actually work so with no further ado here are two recommendations:

The MELT method by Sue Hitzman. This is a training programme including, among other things, small rubber balls and rubber bands of different texture and firmness used to work and manipulate the connective tissue in the feet and hands. A regular workout with these or just having a little session after each late night on the dancefloor does not seem much but has a surprising effect.

For anyone interested I recommend this link in checking it out. The kit costs about  $40 and is worth every cent.

Then there is the invaluable book “Every woman’s guide to foot pain relief” by bio-mechanist Katy Bowman, a true “Bible” when it comes to foot health and a great insight into how your feet are designed to work and exercises in order to make your feet feel a lot more happy. This goes far beyond giving yourself a little footrub now and then. At the moment Timani-founder Tina Margarete Nilsson is teaching a course based on, among other things, principles and excersises from this book in Oslo. If you did not make it then you still have the chance of buying this book

K bowmanand as always: buy it at Great online bookstore with great prices and free shipping to Norway and a lot of other countries!

also: check out Katy Bowmans blog here for more info on feet and foothealth in general.

Interested in knowing more about the tensegrity of your body and how to play with it in stead of against it? Try a lesson in Timani! I give lessons in Timani for both musicians and non-musicians. Read more about it on my webpage here or in this post (only in Norwegian for the time being..)

Propriosepsjonen – vår sjette sans

Propriosepsjon – kroppens GPS

Propriosepsjon eller Dypsensitivitet som den også kalles er vår kropps evne til, ubevisst, å vite hvor alle delene vi består av til enhver tid befinner seg i forhold til hverandre. Et enkelt eksempel: Hold hånden din under bordplaten så du ikke er i stand til å se den og vift tilfeldig med fingrene. Stans bevegelsene og se om du kan danne deg et bilde i hodet av den nåværende håndstillingen din uten å se den. Ta så hånden frem og se om bildet i hodet ditt stemmer med den faktiske håndstillingen. Det er en stor sjanse for at den gjør det.

“So what”, tenker du kanskje, “det er da en selvfølge?” Nei , det er merkelig nok ikke det men vi er så vant til denne sansen at vi sjelden tenker over den og hva for en enormt detaljert oppgave det egentlig er å ha denne konstante oversikten over bevegelsesapparatet vårt. Hvis du ønsker å vite hvordan det kjennes når Propriosepsjonen ikke fungerer som den skal: drikk deg god og full. Den øvelsen som trafikkpolitiet utsetter de for som de mistenker for fyllekjøring (lukk øynene og sett fingertuppen på nesetippen) er lett i edru tilstand men ikke fullt så lett med alkohol innabords. Da svekkes propriosepsjonen vår og har ikke lenger full oversikt over hvor de ulike delene av kroppen vår befinner seg. Dermed blir det også vanskelig å koordinere bevegelser, spesielt hvis vi tar bort synet. I tillegg forsvinner ting som balanseevne siden propriosepsjonen også (i pre-alkoholpåvirket tilstand) holder oversikt over hvor kroppen din befinner seg i forhold til verden omkring deg. For eksempel underlaget du står på.

Et ekstremt eksempel kan leses om her hvor en kvinne deler hvordan det er å leve uten leddsans, altså uten mulighet til å kjenne sine egne ledd og deres stilling. Denne historien forteller om konsekvensene av ikke å kunne kjenne hvor dine egne lemmer befinner seg, alt fra knusing av pappdrikkeglass fordi man ikke kjenner sitt egen greps styrke til å våkne i sengen uten å vite hvor hendene dine befinner seg før du er i stand til å se dem.

Ledd og lyspærer

Propriosepsjon er en sans som fortsatt er omsluttet av et slør av mystikk. Vi vet at den er avhengig av sensoriske signaler fra hud, muskler og ledd og fra reseptorer i disse. LYSPRE~1Når det kommer til leddene våre så spiller stillingen på leddet en stor rolle for hvor godt propriosepsjonen vår kan oppfatte hvor vi er plassert.

Hvis vi tenker oss at vi skal skru en lyspære inn i en lampekontakt så vet alle som har prøvd det hvor viktig vinkelen er for at ikke gjengene skal låse seg. Leddene våre er litt på samme måten: de er ment å være korrekt sentrerte, det vil si at knokkelen og leddskålen som  til sammen danner ett ledd har en “defult-plassering” i forhold til hverandre som er perfekt for at det skal kunne fungere slik det er ment.

Hvis de to ikke er korrekt plassert vil også signalet som sendes fra reseptorene i leddet bli feil.

Nok et illustrerende eksempel: still deg opp foran et speil og ta en titt på føttene dine. Mest sannsynlig vil du se at føttene dine har en varierende grad av utadrotasjon, altså at de er vridd ut til siden. Lukk nå øynene og be en annen person hjelpe deg å vri føttene dine innover slik at de peker rett fremover. Når vedkommende sier at du er plassert rett: kjenn etter hvordan det føles. Klarer du å få et mentalt bilde av stillingen din i hodet ditt uten å titte i et speil? Hvordan ser dette bildet ut? Åpne øynene og sjekk om bildet stemmer med virkeligheten.

Det de aller fleste opplever er at bildet i hodet deres forteller dem at de står med innadroterte føtter, altså at føttene peker fremover i en spiss. De aller fleste vil også bli overrasket over at dette faktisk IKKE er tilfelle.

Så hva forteller det oss? Vi vet at propriosepsjonen er den sansen som gjør oss i stand til å vite hvor de ulike delene av kroppen vår befinner seg og nå forteller den oss at vi står med innad roterte føtter mens speilbildet vårt viser noe annet. Uansett hvor viktig det ellers kan vært å lytte til kroppen vår er det i dette tilfelle lurt å stole på speilet..

Propriosepsjonen vår er altså ikke ufeilbarlig, det vil si: den kan “trenes” opp til å gi oss feil informasjon og denne “treningen” er det vi selv som står for. Gjentatt feil belastning av kroppen gjør at ledd og knokler tilpasser seg nye arbeisstillinger av nødvendighet. Nye stillinger fører til feil-sentrerte ledd. Feil-sentrerte ledd gir feil signal til propriosepsjonen vår. Propriosepsjonen vår sender feil tilbakemelding om hvor kroppen vår befinner seg.

Hvorfor er dette viktig for en musiker?

Riktig bruk av bevegelsesapparatet vårt er avhengig av at vi vet hvor dette apparatet befinner seg. Hvis vi skal jobbe med å korrigere en belastende spillestilling er det umulig å gjøre dette før vi er klar over at denne stillingen delvis opprettholdes av propriosepsjonen vår som har vent seg til at dette er korrekt stilling.

Dette er også en forklaring på at å endre arbeidsstilling tar tid og krever et grundig arbeid. Det hjelper ikke å ta en titt i speilet og korrigere seg selv slik at det ytre bildet matcher “idealet”. Her er det snakk om et helhetlig samspill mellom dyp muskulatur, bindevev, balansering av skjelett og en nevrologisk opptrening som lar endringen komme som et resultat av at de ulike delene av kroppen vår får gjøre sine oppgaver i fred. Oppgaver de var ment å gjøre.

En måte å trene opp og arbeide med dette på er å ta kontakt med en Timani-veileder.

Vil du lese mer om propriosepsjon er denne en fin liten intro.