When I was young, I spent hours practicing handwriting. My goal was to make perfect, beautiful letters. I even practiced with my non-dominant hand, thinking if I ever broke my dominant arm, I could easily write with my other hand. To make things more interesting, I practiced writing upside down and backwards.

Luckily, I never broke my arm and didn’t need to put my rigorous handwriting practice to use, but it was a very memorable and enjoyable experience.

It is believed that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. It appears that the right side of the brain sees the world in more holistic, intuitive and creative ways, while the left side is more logical, linear and scientific.

Chinese medicine considers balance between both sides to be healthy. Some studies show that the communication link between the two halves of the brain is larger in children who play a musical instrument. I know from playing the violin that you use both hands, each doing something different, plus you are listening and coordinating the sound and placement of your fingers and reading sheet music at the same time.

One famous music teacher from the Central Coast of California started all his students on the violin, regardless of what instrument they wanted to play, in order to teach them to hear and create the correct sound.

On another note, I have a friend who took up baking gluten-free items during his retirement and spent an enormous amount of time and energy creating the perfect cookies, cakes, breads and pies. His efforts resulted in the best-tasting gluten-free products I have ever eaten.

Lately, I have paid attention to how my body feels when I stand and move. I observe the symmetry, preference for order of movement, posture, body effort, flexibility, tension in my muscles at rest and other things. I find I am strengthening small muscles in my feet, my balance has improved and range of motion in various parts of my body has improved.

My awareness and attention to detail is better. My thinking is now consistently tuned into what I am doing, rather than moving in a mindless manner. I feel more in tune with my surroundings. I realize there is a way of looking at life that includes paying attention to details.

We can make things better by improving one small detail at a time. Before we know it, we have created a big change that improves quality in a significant way.

Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years, specializing in integrative manual therapy, utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave., Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. She offers a qigong “Chinese energy” exercise class. Your first class is free. Call (626) 576-0591 for more information or visit www.yonemoto.com.

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