I love the word “grounded”. I think that it refers to a number of different things in how it relates to the human system and speaks volumes about the physical, emotional, and balanced state of a person. I liken it to being in a state of neutrality. Grounded also refers to the ability to feel, appreciate and be able to use the ground and gravity to its full benefit. Our bodies have to be malleable to the surface we are on, to create flush contact as best as able. This helps to use as much—and yet as little—effort as is necessary for function. Think of water flowing over rocks.
I also feel like the use of balloons helps keep us grounded in many ways. Let me explain:
The use of a balloon for diaphragmatic training and establishing a Zone of Apposition (ZOA) helps us to create a closed looped system. As the output in the feedback loop is blown into the balloon, it provides the system with something to push against providing neurosensory enriched information back to the body.
As it relates to machines, a closed loop control system is defined as: a system, for controlling the operation of another system, with a feedback loop which is active. In this case, the actual behavior of the system (the body) is sensed (via proprioception and interoception) and then fed back (afferent info) to the controller (the brain) and mixed with the reference (center, i.e. the balloon through the body into the ground and whatever other reference centers being used) to adjust it to its desired state (neutrality).
It also creates more effective use of “dead space” and reducing the possibility of dead space collapse. Anatomical dead space is where there is air flow, but no gas exchange (between O2 and CO2) during respiration. As we inhale a certain amount of air will remain in the conducting airways—free floating air, if you will. This area of “dead space” could be perceived as neutrality as well and it is an important part of a stable system. Our bodies are looking for a balanced state of gas exchange with inhalation providing necessary O2 to the alveoli in our lungs which will diffuse into our blood stream, and exhalation which allows the waste CO2 to diffuse from our blood stream back into the alveoli to expel back out. Balanced blood flow and gas exchange = grounded.
The other analogy I like to relate the word grounded to is from electricity. Specifically as it refers to how when one charged item has a different charge than the other, that it can pick up electrons from the other source, creating a balance of charge….making it neutral. Touch a live wire with feet planted and you become a conductor between the wire and the ground. Blow up a balloon and you become a conductor between the balloon and the ground. You become grounded, regardless of whether you were supine with feet on a wall, sidelying, short seated, or standing.
Balloons also create closure. Closure is a sense of contentment after a resolution of an event and could very easily apply to having established a Zone of Apposition, as well as how much better people feel after using balloons.
The only thing I don’t like about the word grounded……is that it reminds me of when I was in trouble in high school :)