Demystifying the FMS
FMS is the skill training and certification program run by Functional Movement Systems. It is a continuing education option for wellness professionals (personal trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists, and similar modalities) such as myself to better understand human movement and motor programming. FMS Certification distinguishes the professional as someone able to identify issues on movement patterns and suggest experience based program design to correct problems and encourage proper movement.
It is a means to learn how to identify mechanical and motor problems and retrain clients/patients to move in ways that re-work their motor skills. In essence we look at how you move and use a bag of nifty tricks to correct problems and allow you to tell your brain what’s what and not the other way ‘round.
You can learn about it all from the horses mouths at www.functionalmovement.com . In fact they just posted an overview http://functionalmovement.com/articles/Podcasts/2012-03-26_fms_overview. The program was developed by people who accrued a lot of research watching children move, from simple pushing up to lifting objects as toddlers. They saw that we all went through these milestones of learning how to move without once being “taught.” Sure, some level of mimicry and observation are likely at work but rolling, pushing, and walking all come on their own time and with levels of perfection that we slowly begin to lose as we mature. From there you throw in athletic training and physical therapy expertise to arrive at the current FMS program, which also has a clinical arm (SFMA).
What these experts saw was that as we age we stop doing things naturally and start thinking about them, taking shortcuts, fearing what comes next, and occasionally injuring ourselves. We start to be led by our reptilian brain instead of our innate sense of motor mechanics. That reptilian brain is all about self-preservation and the second you start doing something that seems counter to its mission it kicks in and steers the boat.
For example, your brain always wants your visual field to be horizontal… always looking for the horizon. What happens when you have a broken ankle? You limp. But you don’t let your head slant with every step. You start to compensate, adjust how you lean. You learn to walk improperly and strain other muscles and joints to keep your eyes on the horizon. This probably isn’t a problem if your injury is acute and heals quickly but what about something that takes weeks or months to heal, like pregnancy and childbirth? You learn a whole new movement pattern to avoid pain and compensate across your whole body. Then what? You heal but in the process you throw your system out of whack and the next thing you know you have either created a new injury or pain or have stopped using the muscles and pathways you spent those formative years training yourself to use to get around magnificently.
This is where FMS and FMS certified professionals, like me, come in. We perform a quick movement “screen” to evaluate what you are currently doing well and what could use some improvement to alleviate your current movement issues and prevent injury. We put you through seven movement patterns and some additional movements to be sure they aren’t painful. Pain is a pathology that needs to be treated by a licensed physical therapist or doctor. If we see pain and are unqualified to further examine or treat you then we refer you out until you are cleared or being properly treated.
Since learning the FMS and administering the movement screen I have become one of a very small percentage of professionals certified to evaluate and program exercises to help correct your movement issues. Our goal is to get you moving again and doing it as well as when you were a toddler. I currently work with a group of Hennepin County employees in an on-site Functional Movement Training Class. Some of them only practice the exercises while we are in class, twice a week for 30 minutes, and in that time they have seen dramatic results in their feeling of well-being and in their ability to move in ways they didn’t think possible.
Contact me for a consultation and free FMS screen (valued at $300 at some facilities).