The "Holistic Effect" and its consequences

A perfectly crafted Rolex watch is a marvel of human engineering. Thousands of intricate pieces moving in unison towards an ultimate goal: the compartmentalization of time as a measurable unit.

Which can be completely thrown into chaos with the inclusion of a single foreign grain of sand. Or a single drop of water.

The human body is very much like the Rolex: complex, intricate, and, unfortunately, easily distrupted by a seemingly minor event. One small change can affect the way the entire system operates.

For example, if you sprain your ankle, due to the pain it causes, you alter your gait to accomodate it – perhaps you walk with a limp, or avoid putting pressure on the injured ankle. Before you know, it the additional pressure on your good leg causes some knee irritation. And the cycle continues…

Physical therapists call this “the cycle of pain.” One of my clients dubbed it “the Holistic Effect,” and I like this moniker better, since it works in other, less sinister ways as well.

The Holistic Effect can be defined as that tendency of the human body to respond systemically to a stimulus, be it positively or negatively. A prime example of a negative response would be the aforementioned cycle of pain. A positive response would be the concurrent growth of the upper arm musculature as a result of the growth of lower body musculature following a regimen of heavy squatting. However, we primarily look at the Holistic Effect as a consequence of its negative effects, since the negative effects will alter our training routines (as they are to be avoided).

Being wary of the effects of a seemly small limitation or injury is of primary importance.

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