From these past few weeks that I have began working in the office, I have learned much about the practice of Body Tuning. Unlike the typical physical therapy office where you see a multitude of exercise equipment with patient repeating exercises to re-strengthen muscles after injury, Dr. Tatz works with patients on a much more personal level, giving mobility to patients, and then finishing up the appointment with modalities. The approach to the Body Tuning practice is more about helping a patient feel better after an injury with a lifestyle change, versus simply fixing an injury and re-training the body. This integrative practice is about fine-tuning the body with small, loose, circular motions lubricating the major joints of the body. If we do not take care of our body, injuries will build up over time, eventually leading to tension or injury in other parts of the body that we may not suspect. Our bodies are like cars; we would not drive a car with a flat tire, just as we should not keep agitating our body with a small discomfort. Without taking care of ourselves, our body will degrade and become injury prone over time.
For all Yoga Practitioners and Teachers the article below is very very important and useful. Couple of weeks back the entire Yoga Community was rattled by an article in New York Times by William Broad titled “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” and while there was a big debate for and against the article, I found the following letter by Shmuel Tatz to New York Times best explains how we need to go about addressing the issue of injuries in yoga without getting overtly emotional about the original article.
Throughout the years of practicing Body Tuning, I have heard the same story, with only a little variation, from my clients: “I saw an orthopedist… I had an MRI… I was given exercises…I didn’t get better… I tried acupuncture, chiropractic… nothing worked. I finally decided no one could help me. I’ve been walking around with pain for a long time until someone recommended that I come to see you.”
What I know from listening to these personal stories is that musculo/skeletal problems are not getting serious attention from the medical community. Physicians are trained to deal mostly with life threatening conditions. And, indeed, it is a good thing that we have experts who can recognize serious illness, save our health, and often our lives.
But for many who suffer from pain and discomfort in their musculo/skeletal systems, the early stages of their problems are difficult to diagnose. Conventional tests are better for diagnosing a problem when it is advanced and needs surgical intervention. Many physicians are trained to see the worst case scenarios, but not to deal with the small, uncomfortable conditions about which the patient is complaining. If the patient complains of a muscle ache…the doctor may think of a torn muscle, or if the patient has a nerve inflammation the doctor may think of something more serious requiring an MRI or CT Scan to diagnose correctly.
I receive many emails and calls from young people who want my advice as to how to become a good physical therapist. So, I’ve decided to put down a few of my thoughts on what I believe it takes to become a successful practitioner, to enjoy it and to make a good living.
A Creative And Artistic Profession
To become a better physical therapist, just like becoming a better pianist, you have to practice. Physical therapy is a creative and artistic profession. In medicine there are perhaps ten different drugs for a particular condition, and several surgical techniques that could aid the patient. In physical therapy, there are therapeutic modalities and active and passive movements the physical therapist can use. In the use of manual therapy, learning to touch and move a patient’s body, there are a hundred different possibilities for each condition. This means that physical therapists need to have more experience and knowledge of movement.
Studying Physical Activities
In the area of movement, which is a large part of the practice of physical therapy, the study of physical activity is necessary. You need to learn to study Western sports activities and Eastern physical education, like Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Yoga, plus modalities, like cupping and shiatsu. In sports like tennis, for example, it is better to study the movements of table tennis where you have slow and then quick movements. Racquet sports require control of both racquet and ball which teaches coordination. But the physical therapist needs to have a feeling for all sports in order to be able to do better manual therapy.
After a week of fasting and meditation, I found that I had many insights, one of the most important of which is that I want to share my professional experience with people who are interested in studying the art of body tuning.
Over the years I have received countless emails and telephone calls asking to study with me, to learn from me, asking if I have written a book on body tuning. The decision I have made will make it possible for those who wish to learn what I have been doing for many years to do so.
Age or profession is not the deciding factor. Anyone with interest is welcome. You do not have to be a physical therapist or a body healer to do this work. You can be from any walk of life. To be interested in the practice is all that is needed.
There will be no ‘classes.’ A program of body tuning study will be designed for each person. You can be with me for one hour and up to 2000 hours. If you are already a physical therapist, it may only take 500 hours for me to teach you what I do. If you are a massage therapist, perhaps 700 hours. Should you be a psychologist or an accountant, then it would take 2000 hours to learn the art of body tuning. To put that in perspective, to learn the practice of Feldenkreis, it would take a student 3500 hours; to learn the Alexander technique, 4000 hours; Rolfing, 2000 hours; Massage Therapy, 1000 hours; Shiatsu, 300 hours; Yoga, 200 hours.
Not all of the work you will do will be with me. The ‘faculty’ in this venture will include the practitioners of the Body Tuning Studio, Viktor Jeriomenko, Valery Kovalenko and others to whom I will refer you. The more education and knowledge of body work you have, the fewer hours you will need to study with me. Of the 2000 hours, you may be studying with massage therapists, or with Feldenkreis practitioners, or acupuncturists. If I have determined that you need to study anatomy, I will refer you to classes that teach anatomy. If I see that you are not sure of yourself, I will refer you to a psychologist to talk about your insecurities and to help you become stronger and more secure in your own practice. We will decide together how to expand your knowledge of how to help and heal the body.
In the course of your study with me, you will observe for 10 or 20 hours and then have a session on the table to have the personal, hands on experience of what I teach. Later on in your study, you will start to practice body tuning under my supervision.
At the end of your 2000 hours I will no longer be your teacher, counselor or supervisor, but your colleague.
You can begin immediately if you choose, or let us know when you would like to have your first hour of study with us.
The cost of your study will be determined in consultation with me when I know what it is that you wish to study and how long you can commit your time.
If you are interested in learning the art of body tuning, please email your credentials and tell us what you wish to study or call the office at (212) 246-7308.
I look forward to hearing from you.