Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting my Ankle Tuned

I’ve been watching people get Body Tuning for about ten days now. Sometimes it looks painful, sometimes I can’t tell what they’re feeling and sometimes it looks like it would feel really good. After absorbing so much by observing from the outside, I wanted to feel it from the inside. So, today I finally got my first Body Tuning with Shmuel Tatz.

The first thing that surprised me was that when he asked me what body part we were going to work on, instead of answering, “My shoulder,” which has been plaguing me since January ’09, or even saying my foot, where I had been having a painful cramp since Sunday, I blurted out “My ankle” I don’t know why. it was an impulse. It may have something to do with my adventure with Wally, another practitioner in the office, who alerted me to the pretty bad condition there. So, I said ankle. I didn’t really have a particular ‘complaint’ in my ankle, I just wanted a Body Tuning experience.

Shmuel pressed on what I call the heel points. These little things are so cool. They’re really, really, intense and they release a lot of tension when they’re pressed and held.
He had me flex my ankle while he held on one. Whew, it made me sweat. He also found some similar points on the top of my foot. He showed me a heel point on a client I was watching him treat. He told me it was a very important point for life. That seems pretty important. When he presses on them, it sure feels important. It hurts a lot at first and seems like it’s not going to let up, and he’s still pressing on it. But then, eventually, it starts to ease off and then it disappears pretty quickly and he stops. He asked me to move my ankle around and it did seem easier to move.

Some things he did to both ankles. He mobilized them both in all directions. And he mobilized all the toes, which was how he got involved in my bunion. He pointed out to me how my right big toe moves fully and freely and my left big toe is very restricted. At one point he was pulling my toe. It hurt, but also felt like it was going to lead to something great. Inside my head, I was cheering. “YES! DO THAT MORE!”

He moved up into my calf and was drawn to the inside of my calf. He applied pressure just posterior to the tibia, he even pounded on that area. I assume his concern was the soleus muscle because he had my knee bent to access it.

He asked me to sit on the edge of the table and he lowered the table far enough so that my feet were resting on the floor. Then he placed on hand over the top of my knee. It wasn’t actually on the knee, but on the thigh just proximal to the patella. With that hand resting on the leg, he pounded the heel of his other hand into his fingers, which went down my leg into the floor. He asked me if I felt my heel being pounded into the floor, which was kind of strange because I think I could feel it. But then it got me wondering... do I feel it? What do I feel? I could tell the pounding was going through to the floor, but I don’t know if I actually felt it. Was I supposed to? Am I numb?

Then he asked me to lift and drop my ankles on the floor and then to lift and drop the balls of my feet. When I dropped my ankles, I could finally ‘feel’ my ankles hitting the ground. And this was a relief. I wasn’t numb.

Then we went into the next room and he sat me on a chair in front of a vibrating platform and told me to put my feet on it and repeat everything he just did to me.
The vibration felt really good. I was so compelled by this pounding heel experience that I immediately started doing the lifting and dropping thing. It had helped me to feel my heel on the ground and I was interested in feeling it again with the added vibration. But Shmuel stopped me, saying, “I moved you first? NO, I touched first!” So I started from the beginning.

After the session, he asked me what I learned and I was disappointed in myself for not having a good answer. I certainly knew that my foot was in pain and that my ankle had funky sounds and movements, but I don’t know that I learned anything new. I suppose I could have answered that I learned some cool techniques to get into the soleus and a way to have a sensation of my heel hitting the floor. But I guess I assumed he was looking for a diagnostic answer, so I blanked.

He told me to look at my feet and compare them. He pointed out how the right foot, which doesn’t bother me, rests on the floor, while the left, the one with all the problems, has a higher arch and a slight inversion. I was impressed. This is the eye I need to develop. I had black socks on. I could barely see my own feet, and he was seeing this exquisite detail and pointing it out as if it were as obvious as a Rolls Royce in the parking lot.

Today I witnessed an exchange between Shmuel and a client who he was teaching me how to work on. He showed me what to do and then left the room for me to do it. When he returned he asked her how she was and she referred to me, saying “He’s good.” To which Shmuel replied. “And I hope he gets better!”

And so do I.

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