Book Review: <i>Move Your DNA</i> by Katy Bowman

Book Review:by Katy Bowman
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Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman, M.S. is a pioneering and necessary book and an instant classic, presenting insights and practical information about how human movement -- in ways that have little to do with formal exercise -- provides essential "nutrients" necessary for human health and well-being. Katy Bowman, a biomechanist of 20 years, has an unparalleled ability to translate and distill a range of seemingly-complex concepts and scientific literature into digestible, good-humored take-home messages, including the one that even small changes can make tremendous differences in our health and how we feel. Her conversational, accessible, and richly knowledgeable discussion make the journey of reading Move Your DNA a pleasure.

Mechanotransduction, the physiological processes in which mechanical loading forces generated by movement and our environment translate into the both the physical form and the intracellular and biochemical processes of our bodies, significantly influences how we feel and function and whether or not we may experience disease. This basic concept is so obscure in mainstream culture and largely ignored by Western allopathic medicine that this book may provide a lightning bolt of insight for people who experience not just pain, but a range of physical symptoms or illnesses. Bowman accurately refers to many of our common modern afflictions as "diseases of captivity," citing an analogy of killer whales confined in tanks and develop floppy dorsal fins not because their dorsal fins are genetically defective, but because they are no longer moving them to swim a hundred miles or more every day. Similarly, feet confined by high heels or any rigid footwear, bodies sitting for most of the day, and eyes tracking the screens of electronic devices for many hours, are contributing to human diseases of all kinds, and this is in spite of seemingly rigorous exercise and fitness regimens that, in contrast, typically add up to no more than several hours per week. Our genes are programmed for movement, and an estimated 80 percent of our genes can be switched on and off via epigenetic processes. Bowman provides practical suggestions and creative modifications with which to reconceptualize, outfit and inhabit the environments that shape our bodies and health -- at home, at work, outdoors -- exploring standing workstations while noting the movement dilemmas presented by treadmill desks, considering pared down sleeping and furniture arrangements, and outlining ways in which to incorporate walking, restorative exercises, and other movement "nutrients" into our everyday lives.

In my experience as an osteopathic physician and holistic OB/GYN treating a full range of women's health issues including pelvic floor dysfunction and female pain, movement prescriptions are an essential part of any treatment plan or wellness program, and I am already recommending Move Your DNA to my patients and colleagues.

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