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Understanding Movement through the Lens of the Nervous System: An Interview with Joseph Schwartz

by | Oct 11, 2023 | Body Positive, Interviews, Women's Health

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Understanding the body is fundamental in the world of fitness, therapy, and human movement. But what if our traditional methods only scratch the surface? I had the pleasure of sitting down with Joseph Schwartz, an expert in Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment (DNA), to delve deep into a fresh perspective that intertwines the nervous system with our understanding of movement.

From Rocks to Rehabilitation

Joseph’s journey into the depths of human movement wasn’t purely academic. From mastering the art of rock climbing in the 70s to dealing with a debilitating injury in the mid-80s, his personal experiences acted as a catalyst. His transition from an athlete to a pioneer in neuromuscular assessment was fuelled by a passion to understand injury, recovery, and performance.

Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment Explained

For those unfamiliar, Joseph breaks down DNA as a nervous system-first template. It’s a holistic approach that combines direct stimuli with a framework that keeps the “container safe”, ensuring that the treatment strategies align with how the nervous system responds.

Being Your Own Client

Joseph’s philosophy is all about introspection. By reflecting on our own challenges and experiences, we can become better, more informed practitioners. This personal insight allows a more profound connection with clients, making therapy more empathetic and effective.

The DNA Difference

With a myriad of movement modalities available, what sets DNA apart? The answer is its intricate consideration of the nervous system. Where many modalities might overlook the significance of receptor response and the parasympathetic state, DNA delves deep to ensure optimal movement without overwhelming the system.

DNA in Action

Joseph shares a poignant story of a 45-year-old female with whiplash pain. Traditional treatment modes fell short, but with DNA, a limbic association was identified, taking the client back to a traumatic childhood accident. Utilising a unique self-rescue technique, the association was toned down, resulting in the cessation of pain. This approach addresses root causes, not just symptoms.

Addressing the Sceptics

Joseph’s approach might challenge traditional beliefs. To the sceptics, he raises an essential query: If a client’s symptoms worsen after exercises, isn’t the nervous system interpreting them as a threat? DNA allows pre-assessment, ensuring the treatment aligns with the individual’s needs.

A Nod from the Medical Fraternity

Referrals from surgeons underscore the effectiveness of DNA. The results speak for themselves, offering an evolved biopsychosocial approach that targets individual-specific issues.

Skills to Take Away

For professionals eager to expand their horizons, Joseph’s workshops offer a vocabulary of movement, tools for evaluating the nervous system response, and techniques to identify false negatives and positives in binary assessments.

A Personal Note from Mish on the Pelvic Floor and Breath Connection

One of the facets of Joseph’s work that genuinely resonates with me is his focus on the pelvic floor and breath. Understanding this delicate and crucial connection is transformative for those of us, especially practitioners working with women.

For years, I’ve championed the concept of linking breath to movement and integrating pelvic floor awareness to minimise potential risks. It’s not just about physiology; it’s about empowering women with the knowledge and techniques to live life confidently and comfortably.

With Joseph’s expertise, I am looking forward to delving deeper to understand these connections at a more profound neuromuscular level. I’m genuinely excited to go to the next level, to learn from the master himself, and bring back these insights to benefit the women and trainers I work with.

To my fellow fitness professionals, therapists, and enthusiasts – if you want to enhance your understanding and offer even more to your clients, this is it. 

Join me on the weekend of 27/28/29 October, and let’s together elevate our expertise.

To sign up – please get in touch with Robin Kerr

Mobile Number: 0400050770


Golda sahaya Rani R, Aruna S, & Vijayaraghavan R. (2020). Plyometrics and lifestyle effects on bone mineral density among premenopausal women: demographic and physiological analysis. International Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 11(3), 4126–4134. Retrieved from

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