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 Optimal Self®

Susan Jouett, L.M.P., C.F.R.
Cortical Field Re-Education

North Laguna Beach, CA 

Welcome to Optimal Self!

My mission as a CFR Practitioner is to facilitate movement in support of student's awareness, healthy action, and authentic being with practical, immediate and ongoing results.

The sensory-motor cortex in the brain (along with other areas) decides how contracted or how released your muscles are in their normal, everyday state.  This is called your "resting muscle length."  This is different from when you purposely contract your muscles in order to "act," as in walking, running, carrying, lifting, pushing, pulling or any sports activity.  Then you are voluntarily adding more contraction to your "resting muscle" state.

A habitually contracted muscle can neither contract further nor release further, so it has to recruit other muscle groups in the neighborhood, that really don't belong in the action, to give you some version of the move you are attempting to do.  These other muscles were not evolved for this purpose.  They start being over used, overworked, and thus new areas become strained and hurting. This also causes wear and tear on bony joints because they also are being overused, or are twisting or turning in ways for which the joint surfaces, ligaments, and tendons were not evolved.  For example, your neck or shoulder or hip may be chronically painful from being overused because there's a place in your low back or ribs (that doesn't hurt) that is so contracted, so frozen in its movement range, that these other areas are constantly recruited to "pick up the slack" in order to give you the movement you are asking for.

If you stretch a contracted muscle you do nothing to permanently change its resting muscle length setting in the brain.  Stretching will not change your brain's belief that you must maintain this amount of muscle contraction at all times and at all costs.  After the effects of local intervention disappear, or after any systemic change resulting form medication has worn off, the brain will return you to your habitual "resting muscle length" as soon as it can do so.

However, if you get your brain to "change its mind" about how contracted those muscles need to stay, it instructs the "muscle spindle" inside the belly of the muscle to lengthen, and the contractions release.

This is done by slow, exploratory investigation of your movement that reawakens your kinesthetic perception.  Once the brain becomes aware of these long-held, no-longer-felt, no-longing serving-you (and in fact costing you) habitual contractions, it immediately lets go of the instructions to stay contracted.  They are gone from the nervous system.  Those permanently lengthened muscles are no longer chronically sore.  They can now participate in healing an old injury because "functional movement heals" and your movements will now be more functional.




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