The Origins of Born to Move

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We caught up with the founders of Born to Move, Owen Lewis and James Earls, to discover where the concept of Born to Move came from, and why their unique approach can help physical therapists enhance their understanding of the human body.

What inspired you to start Born to Move?

Owen:

Both James and myself, had a sense of dissatisfaction with the current level of education offered.

We wanted the ability to teach high quality, well-researched information, without being limited by any one dogma. We were also keen to create a syllabus that is adaptable to change and respond to relevant research.

We both love to teach, and truly wanted an agile approach that enables us to share what we’ve learned from our own great teachers.

James:

Through encouraging efficiency through the client’s body we aim help them connect to their body in new ways and reduce pain levels.

Born to Move rose from our combined vision of what a modern bodywork training should look like – through the combination of table-based, and functional techniques performed during movement we have tools to bring the client’s system to a higher level of function.

What is your mission with Born to Move?

Owen:

At Born to Move, we want to ensure movement is an integral part of healthcare, and take a client centered approach into the clinic.

Through our approach we disseminate, explain and explore information from various sources. This means we let the best research lead us to finding clinically relevant approaches.

Our intention with all our courses is to stay current, dynamic and open to change.

James:

We want to inspire the next generation of therapists to be health advocates – able to understand and encourage new movement possibilities for clients in pain and to encourage everyone to explore healthy strategies for movement.

What do people find most surprising about your Born to Move courses?

James:

Our courses are based on a sound understanding of true functional anatomy. This allows us to draw from our understanding of real-life anatomy and movement to explain the dynamics of a client’s issue.

We always explain anatomy with straightforward language, but it is always based in sound research and reality.

As we are often working directly during loaded movement our techniques address the entirety of the client’s movement system. The approach can be explained using the latest understanding of pain science, fascial and myofascial anatomy, joint mobilization, full-body tensegrity and motor control.

Owen:

During the demonstrations of the indisputable truths of how our body moves, a very common comment we have from students is, “why weren’t we taught this at physio/yoga etc school?”

Throughout our courses there is a real sense of awe. Students realise that you can evoke significant long lasting change so easily when working in partnership with a client.

Of course, people also say they’re enjoyable. I’m a firm believer that we learn best during play, so we play with our subject. The result is the facilitation of imagination built upon strong foundations. One result is that I learn from the students as their creative abilities increase and the cycle of learning continues.

How can your Born to Move courses help health professionals looking to expand their service portfolio?

James:

Very few trainings teach true functional anatomy and those that do rarely teach it in the context of manual therapy. Through working with the body in movement our students immediately learn through touch and vision. As the students give and receive the work, they get to feel the powerful implications of the combined approach to bodywork and movement.

Owen:

We all have limitations to our work. These courses take the best from the movement world and the manual world and blend the two. The result is to gain an overall understanding of whole movement patterns, the complexities of the biomechanics and have a range of movement and manual interventions that can be tailored to each individual.

What sets the Born to Move courses apart?

James:

At Born to Move we do not have to fit the client into a model or an ‘anatomy story’ as we like to call them. We look at real-life, normal movement first, then anatomy not the other way around. Many schools try to fit movement into their preferred model – for us, that is the wrong way around.

Born to Move looks at movement first, anatomy second. We are appreciative of the many traditional approaches to bodywork but have also blended them alongside new research into myofascial anatomy and pain science.

Owen:

During the diploma we no longer give lengthy lectures for you to sleep through. Instead the lectures are part of a package of comprehensive online content. This enables you to learn at your own speed and repeat the complex topics before getting to class. This allows the contact time to be exactly that, contact time.

As for the teachers.  We have years of combined experience. We pride ourselves on working hard to stay up to date and relevant to the clinical experience. All our teachers are accessible and ensure we give everyone the time needed.

The class size is also highly beneficial to students. Every course has a maximum number allowed, keeping the numbers small ensures a high quality of learning environment is maintained.

For those unsure about which course to take, how would you recommend for people to choose the best one for them?

James:

We have three introductory workshops – Born to Move, Born to Walk and Born to Function – dealing with functional manual techniques, gait cycle mechanics and postural to functional assessment respectively. Each of them interrelate and they do not have to be taken in any order.

I would recommend any student to jump into whichever workshop intrigues them most or where they think they would like to expand their repertoire. If you want more manual therapy and to get an impression of how the body works start with Born to Move. If understanding the role of myofascial and its interaction through the skeletal system with the forces of ground reaction, momentum and gravity excites you, try Born to Walk. Born to Function will give the therapist more visual and functional assessment skills to help see the client as a moving interconnected whole.

Owen:

Passion and interest. Take your time to read through the courses we offer and whichever one most excites go for that one. All the courses overlap a little bit so you’ll get a taste of all key concepts all the time.

What do you believe the future holds for health professionals in the realms of phyiscal movement?

James:

This is an exciting time – the last couple of decades has provided us with new languages, new tools and research to bring a more connected understanding of the body as a complex ecosystem.

Our therapists can accept ideas from a broad spectrum of interventions. By appreciating the body’s complexity, we can see that no one therapy can work for everyone but if we blend tools that bring a client’s movement pattern toward more efficiency we can certainly reduce the strain through their system to restore ease, reduce pain and give them back some of the enjoyment they once had in moving.

Owen:

Society is currently beset with a pandemic of non-movement. Never has the enabler of movement been more important. The future of this industry is bright and our heightened importance to society means we must all understand movement. At Born to Move we utilise the brilliance of the manual and movement worlds. This union creates a highly informed, imaginative practitioner able to tailor their approach for long term change and improvement.

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