Okay, I’m going to do my best to explain this loss of balance phenomenon and how to correct it. It is the most challenging aspect of the neurological condition I’m experiencing and I’m certain I now understand it.
Loss of balance occurs when the mind and body are in a chronic state of stress and fear. This ongoing fight or flight state results in the continual overproduction of stress hormones and neurotransmitters, particularly adrenaline and cortisol, and the corresponding underproduction [or non-production] of the tranquility-inducing, feel-good, muscle-control neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and serotonin.
Because of this chemical imbalance, the three body-balance detection centers in the body [the soles of the feet, the eyes and the inner ear] lose their ability to communicate with the brain, to inform the brain that the body is out of balance. And more importantly, the brain loses the ability to send messages to the back and leg muscles so that they can make the appropriate adjustments to ensure proper balance.
In order to correct this condition long-term, I need to get my mind and body out of the stress and fear induced fight or flight state, so that my body can return to homeostasis [which it naturally wants to], by restoring the proper neurotransmitter and hormone production levels.
In the meantime, I also need to take the same short-term ‘reset’ approach to correcting this condition as I have been using to correct my shuffle-walking condition. This involves instructing myself verbally [out loud] to do the following: keep my back straight, keep my head up and eyes up, keep my shoulders square and keep my feet shoulder width apart [the fundamentals of good balance]. I will also instruct myself to do the same thing I do when I reset to begin walking: relax my arms and jaw, take a big step, and lunge forward while counting steps.
I also plan to do some balance improvement exercises [similar to the ones I spoke about in a previous blog]. I prefer movement exercises over yoga–style poses, but either could be effective. The exercises I’m planning to do include:
- Stand in a guard stance [feet shoulder width apart, one foot ahead of the other, hands up … as if I’m about to begin boxing]. Then, as quickly as possible, jump up in the air and switch feet. Repeat.
- Stand in a horse stance [feet spread far apart, knees bent, hands on knees], Take two hops to the right, and two hops to the left. Repeat.
- Stand in a horse stance. Jump up in the air and land facing the opposite way. Jump up and the air and spin back to the starting position. Repeat.
- Stand on one foot, jump up in the air, land on the same foot, then bend down and touch the floor. Repeat.
- Standing a front ball stretch position, both hands on the front knee, back straight. Jump up in the air and switch feet. Repeat.
- Walk in a straight line, heel to toe
- Continue to practice qigong [my balance is fine when I practice qigong]
The purpose of these routines and exercises is to retrain the body by remapping the brain through the creation of new synapses and neural pathways. I’m also certain that by giving my mind and body something new to think about this process will help get me out of the fear and stress state.
I will keep you updated on my progress.
In the meantime, have an awesomely balanced day!