Old Ideas of Health - Jun 27, 2017

Per Henrik Ling's New Ideas of Health

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 It has been said in many different forms, and many times before, that there is nothing truly new in the universe as all of infinity cycles through itself.  K-Os, a Canadian Musician, says there is, “Nothing new, but the old pursued,” and most everyone has heard the saying that, “History repeats itself.”  Even today, modern findings are proving truths of old ways.  As for this moment, our journey invokes Per Henrik Ling of Sweden (1776-1839).

Per Henrik Ling started a bodywork revolution at the turn of the 19th century.  Although he never became a doctor, he studied anatomy and physiology extensively and developed what is known as Swedish Gymnastics.  This movement system is comprised of four categories: Aesthetic, Educational, Medical, and Military.

Aesthetic is the giving expression to feelings, emotions, and thoughts.  This is an important part of the modern Holistic movement in honoring these components of human life.  Modern day machismo sees to it that these aspects are repressed, denied, or kept in a closet, but Ling recognized them as worthy of addressing in the 19th century.

The Educational category focuses on developing the innate potential of the body with good posture and control.  This is the study of the human body and understanding of human anatomy.  It has been said that once human kind began to name the parts of the human body, humans began to heal themselves.  This is so because of the ability of humans to insert consciousness.  Quantum physics shows that at the particle level, an observer, a consciousness, can affect the outcome of anything by simply observing.

Medical is the third category of the Swedish Movements.  This category focuses on correcting bodily defects with active, passive, and duplicated movements.  It is interesting that it has nothing to do with medicine, but rather more associated with exercise and stretching.  Active movements were activities in which patients exercised and moved their own bodies.  Whereas, Passive movements referred to the patients being relaxed and having their bodies worked on through movements or manipulations by an attendant (therapist).  These terms “active” and “passive” are still used today with the same definitions to describe movement.  Duplicated movements required physical work from both patient and attendant where the attendant physically resisted the patient’s attempts to move their body.

Lastly, there is Military.  This actually had nothing to do with guns or warfare, but had to do with strengthening and toughening the body.  The old saying, “Use it, or Lose it,” holds true for the human body.  If muscles and bones are not stressed, they go weak or “out of shape.”  This Military category was Ling’s recognition of the necessity to continue physical training to maintain the health of the body.

Eventually, these Swedish Movements gained popularity and became known as the Swedish Movement Cure.  It is, also, most likely the source for modern day Swedish Massage.  However, this system developed by Per Henrik Ling has been recycled through time, and is similarly close to the Holistic Movement.  There is a focus on many aspects of the human being as a multi-faceted organism acknowledging feelings and emotions while looking at the physical body, as well.  Two centuries ago, human health was undergoing a revolution where no doctors were involved at all, and today, countless people pursue alternative forms of healthcare away from doctors and chemical medicines.  Is it time, perhaps, that the next generation seek the old once again to create a new health system?


Further Reading: Nothing New - if this seems like old news reported as new, there's a reason
11 Health Tips- a few tips to put your health in tip-top shape