Movement Enrichment

1. (noun) enrichment
act of making fuller or more meaningful or rewarding

People are demanding more enrichment in their lives. We’re seeing it addressed at the cutting edges of many sectors, like Google’s approach to employment and the rise of social networking’s role in marketing. There is a huge outcry and demand for Healthcare that is more enriching, and while I don’t pretend to have the answers to that, I do have an approach to the enrichment of movement.

Let’s break the definition down into 2 parts and make some sense of it as it applies to movement.

1) The act of making a movement fuller
2) The act of making movement more meaningful or rewarding

Fuller movement comes through reduced limitations. Reducing limitations is about removing barriers, whether they be our own physicality (like a lack of range of motion, strength, or conditioning), from our surroundings (as in the spaces with which we must move), or contextual (as in a fear of certain movements). In general, most good physical therapists (and other movement specialists) have successful approaches to removing these barriers.

Meaning and reward imply that it’s not just about where the movement takes you but also how you got there. I would argue that self-attribution, giving yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished, having a sense that you are in control of you own actions, self-efficacy, are vital markers of meaningful and rewarding movements. I would also argue that most clinics are not enriching movement in this regard. Think about the difference between these two people, “I sure am glad that therapist is there to fix me when I’m broken” and “I sure can get myself out of quite a mess once all the road blocks are out of the way.” While both situations are likely regarded as valuable, only the second has meaning and reward to that person.

People deserve all the credit for getting themselves out of a predicament, they deserve this level of enrichment. The movement specialist should be the producer, not the director.

To go even further, I’ll suggest that this level of enriched movement can be produced when we foster these attributes:

Autonomy/Self Efficacy

I’ll be exploring these in more detail in this series of blog posts. Can you think of any other qualities that enriched or enriching movement might possess?


  1. Hi Thomas Sr.

    Have you read Oliver Sacks “Musicophilia” or “A Leg to Stand On”?

    In “Leg to Stand On' he discusses the central role music had in his recovery of leg movement after a serious injury.

    Great stuff.

    I personally don't use music explicitly in the clinic although it often comes up in discussion.


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