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Functional Movement Screen

Basic human development is based on
patterns of movement that begin as an
infant on your back, rolling over to
your abdomen, pushing up, creeping,
then crawling, squatting, standing,
then walking.

The Functional Movement Screen
tests your functional movements,
or  “primal patterns  that every
human body is designed to have.

Baylee participating in the FMS certification

What if I have physical limitations?
The FMS helps correct or improve limitations.  You can make corrections at any level, any age – and avoid future problems!  The effects of dysfunctional patterns often don’t become visible until much time has passed.  At first, you may sense that your body can’t do what you want it to – with a feeling of a lack of strength, a bit of pain in a joint, a back that feels weak.  Then it may go into injury.  Eventually, daily movements become a challenge.  A Functional Movement Screen gives you the testing and feedback you need to shift patterns confidently with the proper corrections.


What are “primal patterns”?
Primal patterns are universal movements across all populations.
  That means that anyone’s body has the ability coordinate these movements.  It’s nature’s design.  Yet, too often past stressors create gaps in our somatic nervous system development resulting in “SMA”.


What is SMA?
Sensory Motor Amnesia.   It means that we have lost our ability to not only Sense our body’s tissues, but to Move them.  Thomas Hanna coined that term.  That’s like saying, “when I get in my car, I don’t know where to put my keys, or where the gas pedal is”.  You would be alarmed if you found yourself unable to locate these basic functions, and perform them.  And yet, that’s what happens in our bodies, and we don’t even know its happening. We can’t locate our muscles and connective tissue, and therefore we can’t move them well – resulting in decreased functionality.  These movements are that basic to the body.  The full engagement of your body is not only important for your physical health, but for your emotional wellness.   It is a foundation of your sense of well-being.



Can’t I just keep working with lunges and squats?  Aren’t those part of the Functional Movement Screen?

No, the screen includes a Deep Squat and an Inline Lunge.  Designed specifically to test nervous system engagement, these “screen patterns” are not exercises for strength.  Strength works on muscles. We are measuring whether your nervous system responds in quickly in a connected way during a movement.  Patterns reveal the communication from your nervous system to the postural integrity of your fascia. A pattern screen measures whether your body reacts, like tapping on the brakes.  Measuring your strength would be more like asking you to press hard to lock your wheels.


Is a pattern a reaction time?
Sort of.   The FMS has roots in physical therapy principles.  We are gauging nervous system responsiveness through lenses of  “closed kinetic chain” patterns that tell us whether the body is talking from head-to-toe fully and properly.   Closed kinetic chain means that the distal ends of your extremities (your hands and feet) are in a fixed position.  This means there’s a pressure signal that’s being applied back into the body’s joints.  This joint force-coupling in closed kinetic chain exercises tend to be better for joint communication and for stabilization.


Does this tie into Core Training?
True core training is not about isolating your transverse abdominus, or having a strong abdomen.  It’s about having awareness around the activation of the nervous system’s sensation channel and its 4 sub-channels:  kinesthetic, proprioceptive, vestibular and visceral.   Activate these, and you’ll have improved force coupling in the joints, which creates more stability, better muscle sequencing, and therefore core development.  Core development is developed in chains anteriorly and posteriorly, from feet to legs to hips to abdomen to pelvis to  shoulders to arms to hands.


What does this mean in layman’s terms?
That means, with proper core development, you won’t have leaks in the joints of your pipes.  Ever had water leak from pipe joints in your house?  Disastrous.  We have the same thing going on in our bodies.  We need to clean up these “energy leakages” and stop wasting energy like water.


Sounds like I may end up having more energy?
That’s a very good possibility.  Healing the leaks in the nervous system and its tissues is like getting the internet back online.  In being connected, not only do you have access to a lot more information, but it’s more fun and you can go on about your day with less hassle, more freedom.  Connection is freedom.


And how will I know if I am leaking energy?
You’ll receive a score on the screen, from 0-21.  If you score less than 14, chances are your body is really asking for change.  You’ll receive corrections to activate your body, to prevent injury, and to improve sports performance.  If you score over 14 we’ll give you corrections to refine your movement even deeper.

I take Yoga and Pilates – is that enough?

You won’t get this kind of training in most yoga or pilates classes, or general personal training.   Only at Eight Elements West do we understand the need to activate the “end range” of a movement in closed kinetic chains – this is called MOBILIZATION Activating the end range of a movement is like a car with aligned wheels – if is the base of stabilizing the car, by activating a sense of balance.  Then, we work with STABILIZATION, meaning a proper sequence of muscle firing.  In other words, you don’t get into the car and press on the gas before you turn the key to turn on your car.  And yet, this is often what happens in the body.  We press the gas way up before our nervous system is fully engaged.


This sounds complex. Is it necessary for me to know?
Yes it is, if you value the vital element of developing foundations of physical wellness and inner emotional security.  This is what we call a sense of inner well-being.  And, when needed, you can call on this self-awareness to heal your body, whether you experience an accident, auto immune condition, joint pain, weight issues, depression, irritable bowel or any other chronic issue.  This base of working with your sensation channels allows you to tune in, and easily make adjustments in what you know your body needs.


I think I’ve heard of this in Nia class, in the 5 Stages ?
Yes, they are in essence one and the same.  Nia’s 5 Stages stimulate the same development of the somatic nervous system.  It’s a right-brain way of checking these patterns, while the FMS is a more left-brain approach.  It’s nice to have both the measurement of FMS and the freeform spatial experience that Nia offers.


I’m convinced this is meaningful to my well-being. How do I sign up?
You can receive a 50-minute private screen with corrections which will include one free follow-up within the quarter.

There are 2 professionals on the Eight Elements certified FMS Team – choose the trainer that best suits your needs:

Firmen Sowers heads up the program.  He specializes in strength training for functional movement and he works as a coach to enhance athletic performance, and he’s also an Aikido Black Belt.
Gloria Gonzalez is a Nia Brown Belt, yoga instructor and the founder of Eight Elements, and she specializes in working with trauma through Somatic Experiencing, Visceral Manipulation and Craniosacral therapy.

Call 858.459.0899, and speak with a Somatic Educator at Eight Elements to find out how you can get started.

To reduce risk of injury, in your case, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE BEGINNING ANY HEALTH OR WELLNESS PROGRAM.   The information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.

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