Tuesday, April 30, 2013


..actually, the clip of that 86 year old gymnast reminded me of the quote from The Protean Body: A Rolfer's View of Human Flexibility - Don Johnson (Great book!):

"You don't stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing"

The book is about the 'radical plasticity' of the human form throughout a lifespan (within reason), and how much of what we take for 'normal' aging is influenced largely by sociocultural conditioning, which works like a self-fulfilling prophecy if we accept what we are told is the way things are.  So play! 

To my delight I recently found a giant swing at a playground in Chatswood; and immediately starting swinging on it (of course).  Man, it was fun (the chains are like 4 metres long!).  So.. whilst having fun (playing) on the swing I noticed a number of adults looking on with expressions that ranged from mild disapproval, to amusement with a hint of 'Dammit! I'd like to go on that swing too, but am worried about what my wife/friends/kids will think'. 

If you live in Sydney the swing is still there to the best of my knowledge - why not go and check it out?  You could even sneak out there at first light if you care what people think.  If anything the swing was more fun than I remember it being when I was a kid, as I am heavier and stronger now and can get much higher. Cheap thrills. :) 

86 Year old gymnast!

If you haven't seen THIS already, this lady is truly inspiring.  Definitely a poster-child for biological aging vs chronological aging.  I'm sure her bone density measurements are off the charts for her age and sex. 

Dude with massive synthol biceps makes a guest appearance for the trainspotters out there. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Complexity Theory & Panpsychism


Manual Taste Enhancement

So one day a couple of years ago I was doing some manual soft tissue exploration of the muscles of my jaw and face (as you do), when I came across something very interesting.  I had found a number of trigger points in my masseter and pterygoid muscles of the standard eye-wateringly painful type, when suddenly I found one slightly out of the ordinary (probably don't do this if you don't know what you're doing).. 

This one referred sensation down into the mouth cavity and tongue region, but wasn't particularly painful.  I waited and listened to the sensation.. slowed my breathing down to enhance the parasympathetic mode.  When it was gone I got that nice spacious feeling you sometimes get after a trigger point release.  There's only so much jaw work you can/should do at one time, so I decided to end my exploration for the day and grab a bite to eat..

Now, the interesting part.  I normally have quite poor taste bud sense, and so was quite interested to note that when I ate straight after the jaw exploration, and release of that trigger point, I had a hugely improved taste sense.  No joke it was at least double, if not triple the awareness of taste.  Trigger point phenomena and referral zone effects are known to have a sensorimotor dampening effect, but this was quite something. 

It really got me thinking - if that one trigger point (which I didn't know was there until I palpated it) could have such a dampening effect of one of the special senses, perhaps there were other latent trigger points lurking in my system doing all types of odd and unhealthy things.. 

The weighty Tomes that make up Travell & Simons' Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual makes an awesome and interesting read (especially when reading Chinese Medicine books at the same time), if you have about 4 years worth of time (the books are massive and quite dense to read) free.  The anatomical illustrations in the books are works of art. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Expert Generalism

I read THIS article on expert generalism a month or so back (thanks to Simon of Ancestral Movement for the link).  An expert generalist is a term normally applied to someone who has a wide range of knowledge and creativity, and whose innovations rest on a foundation of this broad knowledge base via the ability to jump between these different fields of inquiry quickly and effectively. 

The article lists:  Openness to experience & love of the learning process (defined in the article as 'Need for cognition', but I like 'love of the learning process' more) as two of the primary traits of an expert generalist.  

Despite at some times running dangerously close to being 'jack of all trades, master of none',  I find the approach of the expert generalist works well when applied to the broad area of movement training and physical//somatic exploration and cultivation (and Life in general!).

For me, expert generalism in a physical culture context consists of both theoretical knowledge (of a wide range of topics) and body knowledge. This body knowledge consists of both sensory (sensuous) information that can be cultivated with increasing accuracy despite its subjectivity, and also the sensori-motor patterns to do all types of different physical activities and movements (something I call a movement lexicon).

An example of the sensory awareness body knowledge is the cultivation of the awareness of visceral sensations (visceroception) that is key to my 'early warning' system for illness. I find this body knowledge very useful.  I can't give you any studies about this, as I mentioned, it is by nature a subjective knowledge. You'll have to practice, explore and see what happens for you.

I feel that embodied knowledge has a realness and aliveness to it that make me personally rate it more highly than theoretical knowledge (Just my opinion! Most likely not shared by many!).  I'd much rather be able to do something, and not know how it works; than know about how something works and not be able to do it.

Now that being said, obviously the best combination (especially with things related to the physical body) is to be able to both do them and to know how they work, and be able to explain both aspects  to others - as I'm sure most people will agree.

The best people I've met in the field normally have a high degree of both theoretical and practical knowledge.  This practical knowledge doesn't necessarily mean they are amazingly talented at the physical skill-set, but that they have a high degree of experience with the physical skills, and teaching them to others, too. 

Interestingly, in Michael Gelb's awesome toilet book How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci, Gelb states descriptions of everybody's favorite renaissance man (super expert generalist), Leonardo - proclaiming his amazing strength, dexterity and body knowledge of things like equestrian, fencing and swimming (to go with his well know intellectual brilliance and artistic talent). 

Indeed, the book details how Vasari describes the citizens of Florence turning out to just watch Leonardo walk down the street, such was his "more than infinite grace in every action".

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Challenge accepted!

I challenged my friend, colleague and mentor, Kit Laughlin, to a 90 day blog challenge ..he has accepted!  Blog at least once a day for 90 days.  Should be interesting! Let the games begin. 

Check out his handsome blog HERE.  He's a professional photographer, among other things, so his site has a much more polished look than mine.

I got the idea for this off my beautiful and amazing wife, and I think it will be an interesting experiment in Intention and creating a new habit.  My goal is that Kit and I generate some (hopefully!) useful, interesting and/or insightful posts and attract like minded people to talk to, learn from and connect with. 

This should be fun! :) 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Product review: Tiger Shoes [New Balance Mens Minimus 10 Trail]

Recently I picked up a pair of the Minimus 10 trail on sale (Still ~$125).  Originally I was looking for a pair of Mizunos, that Steve Maxwell had worn to the workshop I attended and rated highly (and the man knows his shoes!). 

So, I was in the shoe store, and these Minimus shoes caught my eye, and I tried them on - they felt amazing.  So I promptly didn't buy them and continued searching for the Mizunos. That night I was visited by the ghost of regret.. why didn't I just buy the shoes that felt amazing?! 

Next day I got up early, went back, and got me some badass Tiger Shoes. Having worn mostly Vibram 5 fingers and Volley-type shoes for the last 5 or so years, shoes with a bit more support felt interesting in the first few days. Definitely not bad, just different. 

These are the most comfortable and best shoes I've ever owned.  I still wear 5-fingers a lot, but I find I really like wearing these (and another pair of a different model of Minimus that I picked up in the States this week...maaaan, we get screwed hard on shoe prices btw.  I got the new pair for $50US.).   

I love the wide toe base, the overall shape and fit. My pair are an auspicious orange and black tiger-style colouring.  You can put them in the wash to clean them.  They provide the additional support needed for agility work and Freerunning/Parkour, especially on concrete; whilst still being light and mobile enough to not restrict movement too much.  You can still feel the ground texture through the sole quite well, though obviously not as clearly as in 5 finger Classics. 

The one downside I've found is, despite the intricate tread pattern on the sole, they have lost grip a few times when it was raining.  This is really the only downside that I have personally found with them. 

As with a lot of things that I find and like, a few weeks after buying the initial pair I found another pair on sale - and decided to buy them too!  I ofter have two of the same item of clothing, because I can go a fair while without finding another that I like. 

From what I've heard from others with the same model, they are quite slow wearing and last a while (under 'normal' wearing conditions, I guess).  The model shown hear (the Minimus 10 Trail) is last seasons model, so you might still be able to find some in stores.  I know that Shoeologist (505 Kent St, Sydney CBD) had some left on sale last time I checked (about 9 weeks ago).. 

Actually, looking at the search results, Shoeologist have actually reviewed this exact model! WATCH CLIP.

As I said in my review, I have to disagree on the slip control aspect mentioned in the video review, based on my experience.  As mentioned in the video review, the shoes have a minimal heel - so as to give a more natural foot placement. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wiggle those toes Part 2: The Ministry of Silly Walks

First off, there should seriously be a Ministry of Silly Walks.  Thanks to Simon and Craig for this awesome second part of the 'Foot Awakening' video series.  Simon showed me these ones when we caught up in Canberra, sometime last year.  They are gold.  This video also contains heaps of gems of foot training in general - thanks Simon! 

As Simon says(!), there are so many benefits to doing these exercises, including but not limited to:

• Enhancing proprioception - 'feeding the nerves stimulation'
• Improving joint mobility in the foot, leg and hips
• Building resilience and injury-proofing into whole leg movements
• Strengthening and awakening sleepy deep posterior compartment arch-stabilizing and arch-creating muscles (Tibialus posterior; Flexor Hallicus Longus & Flexor Digitorum Longus)
• Nerve gliding (freeing adhesions from the fascial sheathes of nerves (neuro-vascular bundles) throughout the lower limb)

Don't do them if they give you pain (esp. knee), but otherwise explore! They make great play and movement patterning exercises for 'light' or 'rest' days.

If you're in Canberra, get along and have fun at Craig and Simon's Natural Movement Classes

Technical Note: Blog links (colouring)

Hi Every Body,
I've received two messages this morning about the links away from some of the articles: i.e  'Stretch Therapy Principles'; '3 Step Glute Activation' & 'No news is good news' posts. 

All the links are working, but the hyperlink colour for the links is quite hard to see on some screens, and is very close to the normal text colour. 

I'm currently trying to figure out how to make the link highlight colour more garish.. will let you know when I figure it out. 

Thanks for the feedback guys!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Ishmael

I normally bring about five, normally non-fiction, books on holidays or trips with me - and promptly don't get time to do more than flip through one or two whilst on the toilet.  On my recent trip to Chi-town, I originally decided 'no books' as part of a great plan of 'low informative dieting' and to be in alignment with my current idea of diminishing returns on intellectual knowledge (more later). ..however, I decided to bring one book, an odd novel by Daniel Quinn entitled Ishmael: an adventure of the Mind and Spirit.

I picked this book up whilst Kit and I were trawling through his vast library of musty tomes, but hadn't got around to reading it.  I figured, what with two 12hr flights and multiple stop overs and smaller flights, I'd get a chance to finally read it, and am very glad I did bring it (and read it).

" Teacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person."  

Reads the blurb on the back, and indeed this is the advertisement that causes the Narrator so much cognitive dissonance in the opening pages.  The book is centered around the dialogue between teacher and pupil (the Narrator); and, as Ishmael (the teacher) states - the main teaching of the book is captivity.

Traversing ecology; history; anthropology; socio-cultural conditioning; cultural amnesia and the mythic structures of societies (especially our own, current, society), it is a truly fascinating read, and at 253 pages is almost a straight read.  As one of the reviews from the back cover says, you get entrapped in the dialogue as chapter builds upon chapter in a perfect 'peeling the onion' type way. 

Another review, this time from the front cover reads:

"From now on I will divide the books I have read into two categories - the ones I read before Ishmael and those read after" - Jim Britell, Whole Earth Review

If I hadn't read so many other books on the topics in this book it would have had a more profound effect on me.. quite possibly it would make a paradigm shifting read for those who are still looking around at society and wondering why they have an eerie suspicion that something akin to The Matrix is happening, for real.  It would be perfect as an English novel for high school students (the only one I liked, or even remember, from my schooling was Brave New World).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No news is good news.

Read this (if you haven't already). I've been doing the 'low/no-News' diet for about 2.5 - 3 years now (since re-reading The 4hr Work Week).  I've had trouble giving up reading so many non-fiction books (more strict Low Information diet), which I want to write about later.  In the meantime, read this article. 

It really is amazing doing this (if you haven't already) - you really don't get out of touch so much.  Anything of real importance pops up in conversation with people, or on facebook feed, or if you glance at the news headlines when you are in line at the shops.  Not having a TV really helps in this (I don't have one - I just watch things I enjoy with no ads on DVD on my laptop).

Baby Zen

.. :D

.. okay, okay - no more baby related posts today..

Baby Feldenkrais

Here's a video of a baby learning to move(!). Watching my own daughter learn to move has been a profound lesson for me.  The section on vestibular reset patterning at the Fundamentals of Human Movement seminar in December, was one of my favorite segments, and had many, many crawling variants - some of which are very muscularly and/or neurologically challenging for some people (especially if they missed that phase of development). 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wiggle those toes!

Here's a video by my mate Simon on different toe, foot and lower leg 'awakening' proprioceptive exercises.  These exercises are great for a warm-up, or on low intensity days.  The walking drills, which Simon will most likely show in video two or three, are awesome, too.

I personally do a lot of toe, foot, lower leg training - often in combination with forearms, grip and neck training.  All these anatomical areas (foot, lower leg, hand, forearm and neck) are under trained by most people, and as such have many muscles underdeveloped, weak and/or 'asleep'. 

A fair amount of the muscles in these areas are quite small and delicate (at least in the beginning), so you should possible start of slowly and lightly - but all of the areas can be build up in strength and awareness (sensory and motor function).  Indeed, I once heard Kit refer these areas (ankle; wrist and neck) as the '3 necks' of Chinese medicine.. no idea where he got that reference, but the idea of it stuck with me.  They can make quite a good theme for a Stretch Therapy/yoga/movement class, too.

Often if I turn up for my workout, and find my nervous system is not up to the planned heavy workout, I'll switch to my 'plan B' workout - which normally involves less intense but more complicated movements for lats (rows; etc); forearms; feet and lower leg; neck and abs.  I've had many great and profitable workouts this way, when I'd have just had a mediocre one if I'd stuck to the intended workout of heavy chins, squats, gymnastics or whatever the 'A' workout I was planning was. 

Foot training (like that in the link above) has seriously changed (for the better) how I use my whole body, especially from feet up to lower/middle back.  If you don't do foot training, you should! Same goes for forearm, hand and neck training (obviously if these areas are injured you need to get that sorted before going to deep into it - but often these areas are injured because they are weak and have low/no awareness). 

The 'toe-squat' exercises at around 9:20 in the clip are awesome (if you don't have knee pain in them).  They are, IMHO, not meant to be taken to failure or have much weight added - and are more like strength-awareness builders and advanced joint mobility exercises, than exercises for strength and conditioning.  Very nice 'injurey-proofing' and resilience aspect to a lot of the drills shown. Niiiice one Simon. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Diminishing Returns

Another interesting thing that I picked up at Steve Maxwell's recent Fundamentals of Human Movement certification course (December 2012), was the concept of diminishing returns in exercise programming. 

More specifically, Steve referred to a physical standards test developed to assess the capacities of candidates for Russian Special Operations fighters (spetznaz), developed by Anatoly Taras.  This list of 10 exercises contains an entry level 'pass' score, then a secondary number of repetitions for the same exercise for which he felt there was a point of diminishing returns for that exercise - for which any time/energy spent furthering the exercise was, for all intents and purposes, redundant.

The baseline entry scores for the standards test are pretty intense, and are decent goals for experienced people to work towards.  A few examples are:

• 25 rock bottom one legged squats (as the entry level - diminishing returns over 50 reps!)
• 25 one-arm snatches (with a 16kg bell for people under 80kg; 24kg for above 80kg) entry; 50 diminishing returns point. 
• Underwater swim - 25 metres entry with 50 metres being the diminishing returns point. 

Now obviously this concept doesn't work so well if your goal is to improve at a given strength-sport, or to maximize conditioning exercise for its own sake, ad infinitum.  If you want to be as strong or powerful as possible as your primary goal//sport (Powerlifting; Olympic lifting; Strongman; etc), or have quantitative strength goals then that's totally cool. 

When this concept comes more into play, is when your goal is improving you bodies performance for a given sport or activity, where you need to keep most of the quanta of your energy for the specific conditioning and movement patterning of said activity; or improving health as well as strength & conditioning; working at functional longevity; and/or you have limited time/energy for physical training.

For myself, I like working on strength, flexibility, mobility (less so general conditioning - which I do mainly via walking) and specific movement patterning - within the parameters that I want my training to enhance my immune system function and my soft tissue health & quality (balanced myofascial tonus; relaxed strength; healthy and springy connective tissue system).

I like to explore different movement systems, for their fun enhancing and life enriching capacity  - martial arts; Parkour/Free-running; dance; etc., but I also like physical training and strength & conditioning exercise for its own sake.  Learning new movement patterns also has a healthy, neuro-plastic element to it. 

Trying to do everything at once doesn't work so well for most humans, so you really have to ask that question - what do you want?  Then you plan a progressive and realistic way of getting there (if your goals are realistic for you, with your current resources, in the first place).

Using the concept of diminishing returns can be quite helpful with this process.  I keep up strength & flexibility training all year round, as a foundational physical conditioning, resilience (injury proofing) and rejuvenation (soft tissue health) practice.  Any conditioning I do, beyond walking (of which I do a lot), is specific to whatever movement activity I am exploring at the time.

In no way am I saying this is the best way to go about things, it is simply the way I go about things.  I find I can continually make strength improvements month to month, year to year; though the rate of improvement is obviously slower than if I spent more time on strength (usual at the moment is 40 - 80 minutes per week, which is less than a lot of peoples' workouts in one day).  I am making strength gains at the same time as reducing the amount of old injuries in my body, without creating new ones. 

I am a patient man, and moreover I am planning to be stronger, healthier and have better movement pattern quality and a larger movement lexicon in a decades' time - so no rush! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Today's Introduction to Monkey Gym workshop

Just got home from teaching and assisting at the one-day Introduction to the Monkey Gym workshop; held at Andrew Cattermole's Crossfit Sydney gym in Alexandria.  Great set-up out there. I had to constantly refrain from jumping up onto the many, many chin-up bars and high rings strung up throughout the warehouse.

I really loved Olivia's new and improved 'bodyline' gymnastics segment of the workshop.  Some of the methods in this segment require some novel (in that we don't do these movements with our bodies regularly) but very useful body-weight exercises.  The wrist prep sequence before 'baby' (modified) handstands was especially cool, too.  I will definitely be teaching these variants in my S&F (Monkey Gym) courses this semester - as they require no equipment at all!

One thing that Kit emphasized, which a lot of us know intuitively or via practice, is, when we are trying to coax an inactive neural pathway back into awareness, we want to use the smallest possible amount of force/resistance that generates the desired sensation (so we don't fire adjacent muscles too much, thus add more stimuli to confuse fine detail focus; or, force the previously dominant disadvantageous pattern to partially re-activate at the same time).

Great work, too, by all who attended.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

3 Step Glute Activation

A super-special, secret technique.. passed down for centuries from master to master.  The 3 Step Glute Activation technique (now with Swissball). So powerful is this technique, that Kit has even seemed to have sprouted a somewhat flowing Daoist beard from doing it!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Stretch Therapy Principles

Here's a great little article on the principles of one of the systems I teach, Stretch Therapy™, and had the good fortune of being able studying and work closely with the innovator & creator, Kit, from 2007. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Notes on Side Splits training

Yesterday, in Cherie's advanced Stretch Therapy class at Sydney Stretch Therapy I had one of the best side splits stretches of my life - top 3 for sure!

Cher's class consisted of advanced piriformis on floor (with micro-movements in the stretched position around the fixed femur - circles & figure '8's, done slow and at a simmer), then squashed frog.

Next was your choice of floor, supine one-leg hamstring - for which I opted for Bhairavasana.   I haven't tried this pose for a long while, and surprisingly found it relatively easy to get my foot behind my head. More interestingly, I got a great hamstring and adductor stretch out of it, and figured out some nice PNF contractions and re-patterning movements doing my stuffing around. 

Next I did some back to the wall 'headupownarseasana', which also goes by the name parasarita padottanasana IObviously this stretch has some safety constraints to it for some people (balance and inversion), but if you practice it regularly and are confident of your skill, the back to the wall version is great as you can do PNF contractions where you match thoracic extension (isometrically into the wall) with hip extension; or rowing patterns of the arms with knee flexion as you relax the back onto the wall.

After that build up I felt the urge for strong side splits stretching building; and gave in to it! Three strong, long side splits ensued. Each time I did multiple (greater than 8) PNF contractions of medium to strong intensity,  and with differing muscle groups/movement patterns - but never fully relaxed the muscles post contraction (you modulate the tension via 'over-contracting' then ease off a bit).  I find this aspect to be very important for me, as to stop the knees from hyper-extending.

I've also found that tensing the pelvic floor strongly (all together and in different combinations); then calibrating the lumbars into an optimal alignment, and then waiting (30 - 90 seconds normally), produces a strong relaxation effect in the adductors without even doing PNF hold-relax or contract-relax contractions for the adductors themselves (not sure if the pelvic floor reciprocally inhibits the adductors..).  I play a lot with the tension of different muscles in the whole leg, too.  Very much a tension-regulation exercise. 

Other strategies I use include controlled mirco-movements of the lumbar spine; pelvis; femur; tibia and fibula and feet and ankle bones - which all have interesting effects. Lining these movements up in specific sequences can really give you some interesting sensations and quite profound increases in range. I am still very much in the experimental//play phase with a lot of the variants in this pose, and a lot of them are difficult to describe anyhow.  When I am more comfortable with the most effective variants I'll write something up more formally. 

For the final two stretches I finished sitting on a bolster to 'relax' in the final position.  I was about 5-6 inches from the ground.  Side splits this year seems highly plausible!

As often happens after a *big* stretching session of this nature (breakthrough range of motion; un-winding of old injury; new pattern established; etc) I could feel body and brain processing heavily for the rest of the day (one place of note was in the fascia around the liver, interestingly enough, for Anatomy Trains and Chinese medicine peeps).

This morning I had greatly enhanced psoas awareness and glute activation (all 3 glutes) and generally felt more mobile, agile and connected (lower to upper body).  Awareness in my lower leg and feet was also greatly enhanced, and I also had that 'lightfootedness' sensation I love - like someone turned down the gravity for the day.

Tuesday's 3 exercise workout in nature

Tuesday's workout in the park.  Two other guys dropped in on the session to do chin-ups of their own.  It's great to see some many people exercising out in nature. 

A1) Weighted Chin-ups w 20kg:  3 sets x 6 reps
A2) Weighted Single Leg Squat (SLS - pistol variant) w 20kg:  3; 2; 1  (both legs)
A3) Kettlebell Swings w 20kg KB: 3 x 30 reps.

So adding swings in felt good..  6 reps of 20kg felt significantly harder than 5 reps.

This minimalist style of training very much appeals to me at the moment, as I am making great gains and still have plenty of energy to practice/play with other different sub-conditioning level movement patterns through-out the day, without fatigue effecting the performance of them.  Personally I've also found it to be easier to keep motivated whilst training alone when you have a small selection of exercises and keep the workout duration between 15 - 25 minutes. 

I may switch to longer, more volume based workouts with more exercise variation in winter.. we'll see. 


Monday, April 1, 2013

The Joy of Illness and Body Exploring

Ever after overcoming post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome a few years back I have had an enhanced bodily awareness of when my immune system is faltering from its, now, resolute defenses.  Most often I catch the early warning signs (which I will talk about in a later post), change my plans for the day, and begin the methods I've found help my immune system recalibrate. 

I'm quite happy with my success rate as it stands, and am always researching and trialing new methods to enhance this, but alas - sometimes life has other plans and you can't get in the rest and rejuvenation time needed.  Last week this very thing happened, and I got the early stages of the cold virus that is doing the rounds at the moment.

Firstly, this is not a problem! As a body explorer I am interested in what happens in my body in all the different states on the health spectrum.  I actually have quite a fun time these days when I get sick - different, novel areas inside the body get tight and sore, and I play a game and see if I can relax them.

If you have a working Sitting (or other mindfulness) practice, it's reasonably simple to dis-engage from the rambling 'woe is me; this is the worst cold I've had in years; blah blah blah' style internal dialogue, and get down to the fun bit - feeling the sensory landscape in the body as it is being afflicted by whatever virus is in this season.  You can learn interesting things from this, IMHO.

Another fun (ok, I find it fun) thing to do is see what muscles and soft tissue structures have tightened up due to the virus.

I usually use a single acupressure ball (my favorite super-firm tennis ball) and explore around a bit, RollStretch style. Travell & Simons' talk about the links between viruses and myofascial trigger point phenomena in their epic two volume tome; and there are various maps of the body from oriental medicine and Ayurvedic perspectives that can be fun and interesting to refer to for this, also. 

Most important to me are the enormous, personal (subjective-experiential), somatic differences I notice in my body when it is ill versus doing the same thing when I am healthy.  From my explorations, I also find it interesting that different viruses/bacteria lead to different patterns of internal tension and sensation.

I'm sure I read this in Job's Body, or somewhere like that; but it is fascinating to explore how much of the feeling of being sick is actually these altered tension patterns and sensations + the mind complaining (the story of 'me' being sick). Surely there are viral particles within you, but you are feeling your bodies' response to that, are you not?  If you watch a really great movie, or are doing something else fun when being sick, the feeling of illness quite often momentarily disappears as you focus on the event - only to return when you are no longer fully engaged in whatever fun activity you were doing.  

I'm back to health again now, so I'll leave it there.  Don't take this as a recommendation to get sick either!  It's more a game to play when you find yourself ill.