Months ago, my wife was watching television as I overheard a talk show conversation discussing the definition of beauty. They concluded that it was symmetry. The more symmetrical a person’s face was, the more attractive it was considered. This belief can be extended further into other areas. In bodybuilding, a criteria that the competitors are judged upon is the symmetry of the body.
However, what if I told you that none of us are symmetrical?
Does this mean that the talk show hosts were wrong or that the bodybuilding industry needs to totally change their judging criteria? No, well maybe. However this is essential to understand so that we can fully appreciate the human body.
We have a liver on our right side, heart on our left side, 2 lobes in our left lung, 3 in our right lung and a brain that processes information more effectively in the left hemisphere (which controls the right side of the body). These side to side differences, just to name a few, greatly influence the body’s patterns of movement.
These asymmetries result in people often shifting to the right and compensating to get left during walking and other activity. Take a look around and you will notice that the majority of people have a right shoulder that is lower then the left.
When the body is functioning optimally, we manage these asymmetries and can go to both sides well. However for a variety of different reasons we can stuck oriented to the right.
One way to manage this imbalance is to ensure that you can properly feel your left side. This is especially important as we are sitting at our desks working for extended periods. When you are sitting, can you feel your left sit bone? Is your left foot centered on the floor?
If not, go ahead and find these areas.
In standing it is common to roll onto the outside of the feet, specifically on the right as we shift towards that side. If you sense this occurring attempt to find and feel the right arch of your foot without your knee collapsing inward.
As you attempt to correct this, are you noticing that your back is over-extending? Perhaps your right hip is hiked up too much which is further driving you into the right side. These are things that can be corrected, just to name a few!
Our asymmetries predispose us to many common issues and areas of stress or strain. A high quality physical therapist or health care practitioner must understand this to provide the highest level of care possible. This is essential to get people out of pain and functioning at a very high level.
Furthermore, the next time a tv host talks about symmetry, you can understand that is impossible!