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Playing with Movement for Adult Physical Recovery: What We Can Learn from the Sciences of Pain, Complexity, Motor Control and Play : EDMONTON

February 7, 2020 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

$125 – $235

Presented by Todd Hargrove


The mainstream approach to treating pain and improving function is all work no play. It is focused on movements that are boring, repetitive, highly structured, and intrinsically meaningless. This stems from viewing the body as a machine to be “fixed,” instead of an organic system that can evolve, grow, and learn. This workshop reviews evidence drawn from diverse fields of study indicating that movement health is best maintained not by tracking data or following algorithms, but through curious and playful exploration of the physical world.

Workshop Outline

Why play with movement?

  • Play defined and distinguished from “work”
  • Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation
  • Variability versus repetition
  • Exploration versus following directions
  • Complex problems versus complicated problems
  • A Feldenkrais-style Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lesson to illustrate some concepts

The complexity of movement health

  • A BPS view of physical health and function
  • A model of movement health with multiple dimensions: structural, fitness, coordination, cognitive, emotional, social, environmental, etc.
  • Playful physical activity as a multidimensional intervention

The complexity of pain

  • Basic pain physiology
    • The role of the nervous system in responding to physical threat: nociceptive processing in the periphery, dorsal horn and brain
    • A pain alarm “supersystem”: complex connections between the nervous system, endocrine system and immune system in responding to threat
  • Concepts from complexity science that are relevant to pain
    • Non-linearity, feedback, variability, self-organization, etc.
  • Why complex physical problems (e.g. NSLBP) often have simple solutions (e.g. general exercise usually works just as well as specific interventions)

Overrated factors in pain: structure, posture and motor control

  • Review of research on how these objective and easy-to-measure factors are overemphasized, and why they tend to discourage a playful approach.

Underrated factors in pain: psychology, social relations, and physical environment

  • Review of research on how these subjective and hard-to-measure factors are underemphasized, and why a playful approach tends to optimize them.

Playing with Movement versus Correcting Movement

  • Review of research on motor control interventions for pain and why it may be better to think in terms of giving clients options for more variable movement, instead of prescribing “corrections” for “dysfunctions.”
  • A Feldenkrais-style ATM to illustrate some concepts



Todd Hargrove is a Feldenkrais Practitioner and Rolfer living and practicing in Seattle. He writes a blog at BetterMovement.org, and is the author of two popular books about movement and pain: A Guide to Better Movement: The Science and Practice of Moving with More Skill and Less Pain and Playing With Movement: How to Explore the Many Dimensions of Physical Performance and Health. He is a featured author at Physio Network and has been a featured speaker at the San Diego Pain Summit, Pain Cloud Oslo, and the Pain BC Conference.

Who should attend?

Occupational therapists, physical therapists, fitness/wellness professionals, counselors, athletic coaches and athletes.

All break refreshments are included. Handouts are provided. Lunch is on your own. Certificates of attendance will be issued to all participants.

SAOT Paid Members save $40! Not a Member yet? Register now at the pro-rated membership fee here! 


February 7, 2020
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
$125 – $235
Event Category:


Healthcare Solutions, Summit Room
5920 Gateway Boulevard
Edmonton, Alberta T6H 2H6 Canada
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57 available
Playing with Movement EDMONTON - Paid SAOT Member$195.00
57 available
Playing with Movement EDMONTON - Student/THAAA Member$125.00
57 available
Playing with Movement EDMONTON - Paid SAOT New Grad Member$125.00
57 available
Playing with Movement EDMONTON - SAOT Associate Member$235.00
57 available
Playing with Movement EDMONTON - Non-Member$235.00