Muscles Store Memory

We can all agree that memories are stored in the brain. But the brain isn’t the only storage place. Muscles store memory as well. How does that work? If you view yourself as wholistic, no explanation is needed. You already know that everything in the body is connected.

Regardless of philosophy, this connection is available from people watching. It plays out daily in front of you. Just a note of caution: don’t over-interpret the following and play armchair psychiatrist. But here is a general observation. When we experience a traumatic event, flight or fight is activated. If we do neither (freeze), muscles store that event as an incomplete action.

For instance, rape victims frequently exhibit the “armored body” type. The outside muscles are tight and hard, and the inner muscles are soft. The “armored body” description employs a metaphor: an outside suit of muscular armor that protects a soft vulnerable center.

An unhappily married woman (or man) might carry her/his body weight in front of the feet due to a flexed ankle. The pose reminds you of a person who wants to run but doesn’t. It’s the same position that an athlete would use before springing into action. Watch children playing tag as they stand still, waiting to run.

On the positive side, a professional athlete practices his sport over-and-over to develop efficient muscle memories. When the moment of truth arrives, the muscle memory takes over. In a split second, he/she does the right thing. A boxer seems to instinctively avoid a punch. Martial artists say that if you consciously see the punch coming, you’ve already been hit. Instead, she reacts directly from the muscles.

If your goal is about health, wellness or feeling good, the same understanding applies. Remove interfering muscle memories and replace them with advantageous muscle memories. Through introspective movement, all of us can probably find non-useful patterns within the body. They may not be as dramatic as the above examples, but they are inefficient and waste energy.

As movement improves, a change in body structure typically accompanies it. Movement and structure interact. Movement determines structure, and structure determines movement. It’s a circular relationship. Expect to move toward less pain and a pleasing self-presentation.

Muscle memories formed at a very early age can last a lifetime. Don’t let them be a burden today. Your muscular/skeletal system and your internal organs will appreciate the effort.


Jack Menear