Restorative ExerciseTM

We are very excited to be incorporating Restorative ExerciseTM into our practice.  While various modalities of massage therapy help to improve musculoskeletal health, mental/emotional wellbeing and body awareness, Restorative ExerciseTM is a dynamic system that empowers individuals with a fuller comprehension of the mechanical requirements our bodies need to thrive.

Rachael began studying Restorative ExerciseTM in 2013.  Initially drawn to the program to gain personal knowledge and insight to her own pregnancy and childbirth experience, she quickly realized the importance of this work and how well it compliments a bodywork practice.  Especially one catering to women during pregnancy and postpartum.

What is Restorative ExerciseTM?

Restorative ExerciseTM is a system designed to explain, assess and improve the ways in which we move our bodies.  The end goal is to restore our ability for natural movement, which many of us have lost living and moving (or more accurately, not moving) in modern society.

Long before the introduction of agriculture, industrialization and advances in technology, hunter-gather populations moved through life very differently from the ways we do today.  Anthropological studies show us that walking long distances, squatting to bathroom and birth, and hauling ones body weight up and over various obstacles were common activities of daily living.  The movement requirements of modern society are much less than those of our ancient ancestors.  However, our body’s need for movement has not changed.

Science has shown us that our tissues and cells have specific mechanical requirements that must be met in order to function optimally.  These requirements include frequent full body movement.  When these needs are not met, the result is injury and disease. 

Restorative ExerciseTM distinguishes conventional exercise from movement.  It uses science to explain why a short burst of intense cardiovascular exercise does not compensate for the multiple hours many of us spend sitting every day.  Through assessment (using twenty-five alignment points, mostly bony landmarks) corrective exercises, as well as a more thorough understanding of what our bodies physically need to thrive, the practice aims to:

  • Increase motor skill acquisition
  • Increase strength-to-weight ratio
  • Increase whole body movement

All of which improve our health and wellness.

What are the benefits of Restorative ExerciseTM?

Ultimately, Restorative ExerciseTM aims to improve the quality of our movement, the frequency, as well as the way we think about the ways we move.  The corrective exercises help us regain optimal muscle length and restore our ability to move in the ways we were designed to do so.  This results in numerous health benefits.

  • Improved joint range of motion and stabilization 
  • Decreased joint friction, thus reducing wear and tear
  • Improved cardiovascular function and health, including increased oxygenation and waste removal from tissues, as well as lowered blood pressure
  • Improved nervous system function through improvement of spinal alignment
  • Improved bodily functions such as digestion, elimination and birthing

Can Restorative ExerciseTM be helpful during pregnancy and postpartum?

Absolutely!  It can take several months to reverse the muscular and joint stiffness that has accumulated over many years.  Which is why beginning a Restorative ExerciseTM regime either prior to or during pregnancy is ideal.  Optimal tissue health of the pelvic floor and back of the legs is particularly important in preparing for childbirth.  Muscle length, strength and endurance all impact our bodies ability to allow the natural birth process to ensue.  And all can be greatly improved through Restorative ExerciseTM.

Restorative ExerciseTM can also help correct and minimize the occurrence of diastisis recti (abdominal separation), improve muscle strain related to newborn care and breastfeeding, as well as aid in general postpartum restoration.  The gentle movements we encourage are perfect during the postpartum period, while new moms are not only recovering from giving birth, but also adjusting to life with a new baby.

What happens during a typical Restorative ExerciseTM session?

Private sessions are typically 50 minutes in length, which allows plenty of time to discuss your health history, identify goals and introduce/practice 5-6 exercises for you to work with until our next meeting.

We work in front of a mirror to help you visually comprehend the exercise objectives.  Some exercises are done standing, others are done on the floor, many can be done sitting, some involve props such as a bolster, yoga block, half dome, yoga strap, chair, etc.  Many of the exercises we teach feel like gentle stretches, others can feel more challenging as we incorporate strengthening aspects.  All can be modified based on your current abilities.

Please wear comfortable clothes for your private session.  Form-fitting clothing, such as leggings, yoga pants and snug fitting tops can be helpful to better view and assess alignment points.  Plan to work barefoot.

Rachael will soon be offering private sessions at her new location in Sequim, WA.  More to come soon!

In the meantime, you can begin introducing your body to new movement right now from your very own home!  The Restorative Exercise Institute offers several Alignment Snacks, 20-30 minute exercise videos led by Restorative ExerciseTM creator, Katy Bowman.  Downloads are just $5 and can be viewed again and again.  You can download your first class, “Can’t Get Enough Shoulders,” for FREE.  Click on the green icon below to view the current Alignment Snack offerings.

Alignment Snacks