Walkin’ Ain’t Walkin’:
Kinetic energy and consciousness
A couple of years ago I hurt my knee really badly while moving house. Tore the ligaments, split the joint capsule….
The doctor, who knows I will only choose drugs and surgery as a last resort, earnestly said I’d need surgery to be able to heal the knee and walk properly. I said let’s see how I go first….
For a month I rested my knee, gently massaged in arnica cream twice a day, and took some supplements appropriate for the problem. During the day I wrapped it in a jointed knee support brace designed for skiiers.
In the next month while continuing the supplements, arnica massage and brace, I began to experiment with walking just a little each day, very carefully at first.
Do you know what I discovered? That there are two different ways to walk and the usual way would have made my doctor’s prediction come true! If I walked the way I’d always walked, and the way most people walk, my knee would absolutely kill with every step, and be swollen up when I got home. So I really tuned into my knee – hey knee, what’s going on, what do you want me to do? I noticed, much to my incredible surprise, that in walking I was pretty much throwing my legs forward letting momentum carry them, and letting gravity bring down my feet – the ol’ kinetic energy in action. Every step, I was effectively ‘whip-lashing’ my knee joint! No wonder it hurt!
So I started to walk very consciously. For me, that meant keeping my awareness focussed on my legs as I walked, very intentionally using muscles to lift them, muscles to move them forwards and muscles to place my feet on the ground. No lazily letting inertia and gravity do most of it for me. And guess what? No pain! I could walk for over a kilometre up and down hills with no pain at all as long as I stayed with the conscious steps, and no swelling afterwards. My knee improved and regained strength beyond all the expectations of both my doctor and my sports injury practitioner.
After that I started watching carefully how people walk. OMG! Everyone I saw was whip-lashing their knees with every step! Everyone was taking the lazy unconscious option while their head was off somewhere else, and not in tune with their legs at all. I’m amazed that some of them can still walk at all!