What Is The Fajardo Method of Holistic Biomechanics®?
The Fajardo Method of Holistic Biomechanics® has two primary areas of focus:
- Nervous system health (stress reduction)
- Body structure and functional movement
Understanding of this modality relies heavily on the concepts introduced in the nervous system section, so I will link frequently to the relevant sections.
Nervous System Health
Our modern culture tends toward the over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system state (also the fight or flight response), which is discussed in greater detail in the section on the nervous system, This leads to a number of functional and structural changes, as well as chronic health issues. The Fajardo Method of Holistic Biomechanics® helps strengthen the body’s ability to select and remain in the parasympathetic nervous system state. This is achieved by stimulating the sensory (afferent) nerves to increase the amount of sensory information flowing to the sensorimotor cortex in the brain. The nervous system is then able to perform its primary information gathering and response function by processing this information and sending out the appropriate motor response. This includes selection of the most appropriate nervous system state, based on sensory input about the presence of danger or safety in the immediate environment. Stimulation of the sensory nerves also encourages the body to repair nerve cells that have been deconstructed due to lack of use or the constant presence of lots of cortisol in the system. This will, over time, increase the the amount of sensory signals to the brain. This increased activation of the sensory nerves may be achieved through one or more of the following techniques:
Focused attention & sensing
Simply by focusing attention on an area of the body, this increases blood flow, cellular activation, and flow of sensory information to the brain from that area. By focusing on some aspect of the external environment – something as simple as the texture of an object you are holding in your hand – this also increases activation of the sensory nerves.
Compression™ is the stimulation of sensory (afferent) nerves through gentle contact, typically while the client is lying down. Contact can be anywhere, though for new clients it is most often on the arms or lower legs. As the skin and muscle tissue are compressed, they are stimulated to expand and upon doing so increase the flow of bodily fluids to the area. Among other benefits, this increases activity of the sensory nerves in the area and strengthens the body’s ability to attain a parasympathetic nervous system state.
Body Structure and Functional Movement
As discussed in the nervous system section, the activation of the fight or flight response brings about a number of structural changes. These structural changes are designed to be protective measures and are often achieved through compression of certain areas of the body. For example, as the Achilles tendon shortens and thickens on the back of the ankle, a protective measure to prevent a disabling bite to the ankle, this changes the bony arch structure of the foot. The Achilles tendon is attached to the heel bone, and the heel bone is thus pulled back and up, which flattens the bony arch of the foot. This has an effect on gait, as well as ankle, knee, and hip alignment, and all of this affects the upper body as well.
While these structural changes are adaptive for response to immediate physical danger, they can be harmful if sustained for long periods, due to the fact that they compress nerves and blood vessels, and impede normal body functioning in many other ways.
Sensory information is transmitted by afferent (sensory) nerves. It is sent to the sensorimotor cortex of the brain, which processes the information and sends out a motor response through the efferent (motor) nerves.
The Fajardo Method® uses increased sensory nerve activation (also called sensing) as a way to change the motor response and therefore the structural organization. In the case of the Achilles tendon, if you focus your attention on the Achilles or provide some external feedback (gentle tapping or tying a cloth loosely around the ankle, for example), the brain will begin receiving more sensory signals from the tendon and surrounding area and will send out a new motor response in response to this information. For people I have worked with, new motor responses have included lengthening or widening of the Achilles, a decrease in rigidity or an increase in tone, or possibly a change in shape (concave to more straight). This is part of the information gathering and response function of the nervous system discussed in the nervous system section, in which the brain sends out a motor response appropriate to the sensory information it is receiving. If the brain receives the information that the Achilles tendon is perhaps a little on the short side, it will actually lengthen the tendon on its own. The heel bone can then move back to a more supportive position in the bony arch of the foot.
Thus, sensing creates structural change, and this is the mechanism that Fajardo Method® uses to create new structural organization and new motor patterns over time. Focus will shift to different areas of the body to create holistic and sustainable change.
An Introduction from the Creator
To see how the creator of the modality, Alicia Fajardo, describes the Fajardo Method®, see her Introduction to the Fajardo Method of Holistic Biomechanics®.