Today’s episode is a re-release of a conversation I had just over 2 years ago, a few weeks after completing the London marathon for the very first time. I have decided to re-release it because I am seeing so much online about people being injured, struggling with their running, their walking or their sport. I believe that this conversation - and my wonderful guest - can help.
My guest is my dear friend, Helen Hall. Helen is a movement therapist, she's a running coach, a pain expert…in fact, to be frank, all of these labels feel a little bit limiting - in many ways, I would call her a detective for the human body.
Helen has had a lifelong passion for analysing posture and movement, and her clients include elite athletes as well as regular everyday folk who simply want to walk or run pain-free. She combines objective clarity from motion analysis technology, 46 years of visual experience, and study in the field, to seek out the root causes of chronic pain and injury that often seem resistant to standard treatment protocols.
Helen first shared her movement philosophy in her wonderful book Even With Your Shoes On. More recently, she has launched an online course called PFM Pilot. It is aimed at both professionals working in the field of movement, pain, and injury, and also for amateurs keen to learn more and help themselves.
We look at the core principles of Helen’s approach. Awareness is everything and she teaches clients to really notice what their body is doing. Where is your head sitting? How are you using your arms? It’s only when you’ve noticed that you can begin to change. And changing means becoming more efficient – learning the adjustments that help you to move with freedom. Movement, Helen points out, is a ‘job share’. We need to be able to recruit as much of our bodies as we can to do it well.
I can testify to this holistic approach. Working with Helen hasn’t just changed my running, it’s helped me to walk faster, breathe better and stand more comfortably. It’s made me aware of how past injuries and trauma can affect you for decades. I’ve even learned how the surgery I had for appendicitis as a child played a huge part in my experience running the London Marathon.
And, this conversation is my first real deep dive into my marathon experience. It wasn’t the race I’d planned, but it turned out to be the race I needed. Helen helps me unpack why I found it so emotional and explains why my physical struggles were a sign of progress not limitation. I hope this conversation conveys just how valuable I think Helen’s approach is. Whether running is for you or not, I know it’ll get you thinking about how you’re sitting or standing right now, and noticing how you use your body for the rest of the day.
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Show notes https://drchatterjee.com/391
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