Monday, February 11, 2013

Why Science Can Not Dance

I want to be succinct in this article and not go into a too-detailed philosophical discussion about the theory of science or the theory of knowledge and stick to the main idea that science really can NOT dance and sometimes cannot help with healing or health either. Here's why:

1) Science is Not Literally Reality - Science Can Not Dance.

When dancers are learning their technique it can be tempting to try and understand the extremely complex ways the body works and moves through space when doing various balletic steps in terms of a physics-based or kinesthesiology standpoint and even consciously think about which muscles you are going to use to do a given step. This is quite possibly the worst, most dangerous way I can think of to learn any physical move, ballet or otherwise. Why? Because we are created with a complete feed-back system in our bodies already that tells our brain what is going on as we are in motion, and that system speaks a language all it's own that is not science or mathematics or English but instead the direct feed-back of your body. Ballet dancers for one must become excellent at listening to this feed-back or conversation their bodies give them and this is the way in which a complex step or sequence can be mastered. Any other effort to impose a man-made symbolic language on top of this like physics or mathematics is only of any use to someone sitting at a computer analyzing physics problems, and at best distracts the mind from paying full attention to the conversation the body is trying to have with you while you are dancing. The result? Much longer time required to master new, more complex steps or the inability to master new complex steps at all and even worse, an injury may occur simply due to this conscious, deliberate "multi-tasking" of trying to use science in real time by the dancer. The best way you have to perceive and correctly respond to reality as you are in motion doing ballet or any physical activity is to be an expert listener and conversationalist with your own body, which is equipped with very sophisticated processes whose only function is to keep you ahead of what the body is doing - and this is how you can be ready to do anything you want anytime you want in terms of changing your direction, speed, jump, and so on.

Because I brought it up earlier I do want to venture a few comments right out of the depths of philosophy. Man is created with the faculty we call "reason" or more specifically comprehension. This is something Nature has miraculously encased within our amazing brain and is the thing that lets us conquer fire, electricity, ballet, flight, etc. Science is itself an exercise of this faculty Man has created which speaks it's own language of symbols and logic functions with a high degree of effort to link these symbols to measurable processes in the universe around us. But even after this high degree of intellectual effort there are still some glaring gaps in what science knows, leaving it no better to assist a dancer than the dancer's own inner faculties of comprehension and perception. For one, even though Man has lived with and dealt with gravity since the beginning, science can still only explain what gravity does, it is still essentially mute as to how gravity works. Further on, Man has created biology and medical science and been in pursuit of the ultimate truths in these fields for centuries and yet, science still only really explains what growth and development are, or what the brain does with sensory data, but the actual how of these natural functions remains very poorly defined. Science rests on mathematics and mathematics is not literally the operating code of the universe, the only way that would be possible is if Man were the one who created the universe and that is clearly not the case. Mathematics gets quite close to providing a very accurate reflection of what goes on in the universe, but some of these insights are very accurate while others are even now incomplete.

All of this brings me to my next point, because medicine is after all rooted firmly down upon modern science, which in turn is rooted on the same mathematics that is still incomplete in describing all the basic physical processes of the universe. Obviously this means that I am no big fan of what people call "sports medicine" - let me explain why:

2) Science (Sometimes) Can Not Heal You.

I know many very good Doctors and Nurses and my last desire here is to belittle anything they do - if you are injured and bleeding, about to give birth, knocked out a few teeth, got in a car crash or stuck something in your eye then you need to go to a good Doctor or Dentist and get yourself fixed up. But ballet requires something much more prescient and that is preventative care. By the time you tear a muscle or tendon it is too late and you are going to be sidelined for weeks if not months before you are able to go to class or practice again.
Why is this an issue? Doing any physical activity aggressively causes a small bit of muscle damage - no matter what that activity is. Eventually over time, this small dose of muscle damage will build up and cause a significant structural problem in the muscle because the body is almost completely incapable of healing itself from this damage, unless you literally stop working out completely for weeks at a time. Obviously no athlete or ballet dancer would ever get to the mastery of any set of skills if this is how the learning process was done, you would literally run out of your lifespan before you gained the mastery needed. But happily the body is yet again miraculously designed with some feedback you can listen to and use to totally avoid the eventual muscle tear while maintaining the activity level you need - and yet this is the very thing Western medicine is completely, frustratingly deaf to.   That thing is the 3 states of muscle tissue:

Muscle tissue is either (a), relaxed and supple feeling; (b), tense and strained feeling; or (c), knotted.

These three states are critical to injury avoidance and yet even physical therapists at hospitals do not know how to interpret these signs which often leads to them doing physical therapy that is only treating a symptom but leaving the primary cause untreated and therefore still building up to another major injury. The muscles of the body are strongly inter-related meaning that a high degree of tension or knots in one muscle group can effect neighboring or even distant muscle groups in a major way, even causing pain signals from knees or feet when what is really under duress is the outer leg IT band or the hamstring and not the knee or foot at all. A physical therapist might focus on where the pain is felt but do nothing to find the connected tense muscles. What a dancer needs is someone like a certified Deep Muscle Therapist to map out and discover where your tight muscles are, then proceed to loosen them up with the mechanical release of a deep tissue massage. This method will result in muscles relaxing back to their supple feeling state, no injury taking place, and the root cause of any pain being fully dealt with. This is essentially the Homeopathic approach and I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with this and some call it anti-science which is perhaps somewhat valid but the goal of homeopathic medicine is to try and avoid injury or sickness by keeping your body in balance - no one would recommend a homeopathic approach to fixing a broken humerus.  But western medicine will prescribe tylenol or advil for the muscle pain and tell you to re-condition the knee or ankle joint which in the long run does zero for a tight IT band or hamstring, and none of that is free either - you will definitely spend money on innefective western medical approaches and drugs just as much as you will on preventative medicine like DMT massage. In terms of money, the dollars it takes for muscle injury prevention are actually small compared to the large sums of money physical therapy at hospitals or clinics can cost. $80 for a DMT massage sounds outlandish perhaps, but how's about $275 per hour for "physical therapy"?  The disguise of a large hospital building provides you no guarantee that what you'll get from formal medicine will help your body stay in balance and chances are what you'll get at the hospital or therapy clinic will be off-base and counterproductive.  Again the context is supremely important here: you are trying to stay healthy and avoid getting injured in the first place, and are attempting to find out why a joint or a muscle aches. That is all dictated by the 3 states of muscle tissue which western medical practice disregards.  

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