Kinesthetic Awareness Movement (abbreviated KAM) takes massage beyond relaxation and encourages clients to develop a deeper awareness of the way they move.
Most of us perform repetitive movements during the day. Washing dishes, using computer keyboards, and even gardening can require habitual movements that cause us to pay less attention to our bodies. This lack of attention can lead to diminished sensation in some areas and increased tension in others, as some neural pathways are overused and others are underused.
KAM calls on many techniques, but centers around the idea of disrupting your patterns. By breaking up your routine movements, the nervous system can be re-educated to perform tasks in different, more thoughtful ways. This can be done because of the brain’s plasticity, or “neuroplasticity.” Essentially, when your brain receives new input, it can change the way it deals with future input.
When performing KAM, my goal is to remind your body that it can relax even when not receiving massage. As a therapist, my touch practice can help re-educate your nervous system and essentially re-write your brain’s response to tension and stress.
This shift can occur because of the brain’s natural mechanisms, one of which is dopamine. Dopamine is commonly understood to be the facilitator of the body’s “reward” responses. It can help regulate both physical movement and emotional responses, and can incentivize the body to perform tasks in a way that induce rewards. Essentially, dopamine teaches the brain through positive reinforcement. And what could be more positive than a relaxing, rejuvenating massage?
By performing KAM, I want to help my clients delve deeper into creating their own relaxation. I activate the body’s dopamine response and rewrite neural pathways. But what does KAM look like?
KAM can often be as simple as gently guiding my clients to change their posture on the table. It can also include rhythmic, vibratory movements, reminding the body that the area I’m working on can relax and let go. Often, my clients don’t even know that they’re holding tension in an area – they’re simply so used to the pain. But on the table, I reawaken the body’s ability to evaluate itself.
If you’re interested in learning more about KAM, feel free to reach out to me or bring it up at your next appointment. This simple technique could really help you avoid harmful body movement and promote pain relief.