Physical therapy for foot and ankle injuries

Thanks to Shmuel Tatz! A Healing Story

The day that I became injured is still very clear in my mind but unfortunately even more clear in my body.  I had gone to a chiropractor that I had very little experience due to the fact that my long time chiropractor in New York City had moved to California a few years ago.   Since this new chiropractor was a few blocks from my home, I thought I would give him a try.  Unfortunately, something terrible happened while lying on my back on his treatment table.  He grabbed one ankle and pulled very hard – I screamed in pain – but without even a hesitation he then grabbed my right ankle and again pulled very hard.  I heard an audible pop sound and again the pain was excruciating.  But this time my heart sank, because something felt very wrong in my foot and ankle.  All the energy seemed to drain from my foot and leg.  When I returned home the ankle began to swell and it felt very much like a severe sprain.

I could not put my weight on the foot without experiencing pain.  A week later I went to a podiatrist who said I had a sprain.  He taped it up and sent me home.  By the second night I had to tear the tape off because of the pain and swelling.  A few weeks later I went to an orthopedist, who again determined that I had a sprain and told me to wait a couple of weeks.  He then ordered an MRI which showed no fractures or breaks.  He told me to go to physical therapy. I found a local physical therapy unit and went 3 times a week for 2 months.  Still my ankle was painful day and night.   I spent long hours researching this type of injury on the internet.   To make a long story short, I ended up seeing an acupuncturist,  another podiatrist and yet another type of physical therapy with no relief in site.  I spent many long days in severe pain, crying while lying on my couch.   I could no longer sleep without Tylenol PM and always woke with the same pain in my foot. This brought on a severe depression.  Now almost 5 months had past and I still could not walk without experiencing pain.  It felt like a nail was shooting through my ankle.  My life had changed so drastically.  I used to walk at least a mile or 2 a day – and now I could only hobble around my apartment.

One day after spending a few hours reading and researching on foot and ankle injuries on the internet I came across Shmuel Tatz’s website.  I read with interest the relief that many famous ballet dancers had found at Tatz’s studio.   These were professionals who needed to dance again – I just wanted to walk again – perhaps he could help me.

Entering the studio in Carnegie Hall, you immediately feel the presence and an atmosphere of healing.   Shmuel introduced himself and made me feel relaxed and at home in his treatment room.   I then lay down on his treatment table and for the first time felt someone with truly gifted hands on my foot.  He worked on my foot for a good 45 minutes – but really this was like nothing I have ever felt before.  It was as if his hands have x-ray vision, going exactly to the stuck places and working, working and finally moving the position of the bones, tendons and ligaments.  And then the relief.  A little wave of relief.   By the third visit with Shmuel, I finally felt my foot in the proper position so that I was not longer in agony 24/7.   My pain after 5 visits has been reduced 95%.   I still feel pain after walking but to a lot less extent then before, and I am confident that with Shmuel’s help – I will get better.   I have so much gratitude for the talent and healing abilities of Shmuel Tatz.  He is a truly gifted man.

By Jill Siegel

Double Acts

Shmuel Tatz is the favoured physiotherapist of many of Manhattan’s Leading Musicians, among them New York Philharmonic Violinist Hanna Lachert

Physical Therapist Shmuel Tatz and Violinist Hanna Lachert

I WAS INTRODUCED TO HANNA ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO THROUGH her husband, the Manhattan violin maker David Segal; she has been a regular client ever since.

Eighty per cent of her treatment is using hands only and for the other 20 per cent she gets individualized exercises. Just like a violin pupil plays a sonata at their lesson and the teacher after listening to it makes some suggestions, big and small, so only when I am touching or watching the body can I maneuver it and give some suggestions, some ideas. Hanna’s a very good student as, like most musicians, she has the discipline needed to practice. You don’t need to rush to the tuner, you can do self-tuning – if you have problems you need to go to the master, but mostly you can do it on your own.

I wish in our sessions we could talk about the interpretation of music – I can only listen, to hear how in tune the body is. When I’m working on a musician’s body I’m listening with my fingers, my hands; I can feel the vibrations of every muscle, every joint and every organ.

One thing I have learnt from Hanna is not to wait when we have some little problem – the sooner you go to the tuner, the less time it takes to get better. With Hanna, any discomfort in the body – perhaps she feels something a little bit out of tune – and she immediately calls and makes an appointment; it takes a couple of sessions and everything’s OK. She doesn’t wait until the body starts to scream and needs to takes some drug straight away.

I often hear Hanna play. I recently heard her in piano trios by Rachmaninoff, Chopin and her composer brother Piotr. I’m crazy about piano trios, so I enjoyed that very much. Fortunately she’s a very active chamber player and doesn’t only work with the Philharmonic. But not long ago I also heard her play in Verdi’s Requiem. Afterwards we were having some supper together and she was so excited – she said, ‘This time not only you had fun but I had fun.’ It’s a great piece – 90 minutes felt like 15 or 20.

I’ve learnt so much from Hanna and other musicians about their particular physiological challenges and ailments – things that other health professionals haven’t always grasped. For example, I’ve had violinists with shoulder problems who have been to very well-known orthopedists. One of them had a session following a famous tennis player who had got over a shoulder complaint by switching arms – so the orthopedist suggested the same for the violinist! It shows such little understanding of violinists! Hanna knows to phone me before she has an injection or gets some medicine; she knows to trust me.

THE FIRST TIME I SAW SHMUEL WAS AT MY HUSBAND’S SHOP; he was with a violinist friend of his who was one of my husband’s clients. That fellow was raving how fantastic Shmuel is. I was skeptical at first – just another physiotherapist. He insisted on demonstrating right there on the floor what he could do and it was encouraging. So I said alright, I’ll try. And true enough I was very much impressed and have been going to him ever since, whenever I have a problem.

In my case it’s often my shoulder, but recently I had some swollen joints and he was able to help with that – which borders on a miracle! My husband, David, once twisted his ankle so that he was on crutches, painkillers – you name it. The next day we called Shmuel, who said to just come over; we drove there and an hour later David walked back to his work.

My sessions with him don’t involve me playing, but he will show me exercises to improve my condition. On a basic level he told me always to pay attention to the way I sit, the way I drive, what’s happening to my shoulders when I write or am at the computer – basic things about posture that we tend to forget. That’s on top of his manipulations. He also uses some electronic devices – I’m not sure what they are, but I trust him!

“When I met Shmuel he insisted on demonstrating his treatment right there on the floor.”

We usually talk about music, because Shmuel loves it and he goes to many, many concerts. He’s very knowledgeable and strongly opinionated about who he likes and who he doesn’t and why. He comes and hears me with the New York Philharmonic perhaps once or twice a month, and he comes to practically all my chamber music concerts. He doesn’t like too much new music, but at my last concert at BargeMusic I played a piece written for me and my piano trio by my brother, and Shmuel said he liked it. It was only written last year, so very contemporary – I was happy that he could appreciate it.

We’ve long been friends and he sometimes comes to us for dinner or festivals such as Passover. We have a tradition on the first of January of an open house; all our friends come with their instruments and we play chamber music, accompanied by food and wine. He’s been to that several times and he even surprised me once and revealed e can pay the piano.

The Strad
Interviews by Matthew Rye

Shmuel Tatz: The Divine Touch

Shmuel Tatz PT PhDHeadlined as the “Therapist as Shaman” by The New York Times, Shmuel Tatz, P.T., Ph.D., is a physical therapist providing relief for his clients when they have been unable to find it elsewhere. Located on the eighth floor of the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City, Tatz is the star of his own show, the Tatz Studio—a healing arts studio—attracting numerous celebrities, classical musicians and prominent business personalities throughout the world.

Practicing his unique system of Body Tuning and physical therapy, Tatz has treated such glitterati as renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, singers Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed; actors F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Berkley, Elaine May, Marlo Thomas, and Kathleen Turner; Mets baseball star Mookie Wilson; world-class violinists Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Isaac Stern; prima ballerinas Nina Ananiashvili, Alexandra Danilova and Susan Jaffe; German soprano Christa Ludwig; Bach specialist Rosalyn Tureck, and TV personalities Peter Jennings and Jane Pauley.

Isaac Stern, who had seen Tatz for two decades, described him as a genius. “Not only is Shmuel Tatz an enormously gifted, highly trained and experienced physical therapist, he is also knowledgeable of the unique needs of artists who so often have problems that are caused by professional work over the years.”

More impressive than his illustrious client list is the list of ailments he has been able to treat. His Web page lists almost 100 of them, everything from back and neck problems, sports and occupational injuries, stress- and tension-related problems, age-related stiffness, to neurological and orthopedic disorders. He also participates in the integrated treatment of depression, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, allergies, acne, insomnia, osteoporosis-the list goes on and on. Despite his extremely busy schedule, Tatz never makes himself too important or preoccupied to personally return phone calls and answer all questions with earnest sincerity.

*

At 58 years young, Tatz possesses an uncanny ability to assess the physical situation of his clients solely by scanning their bodies, and, as if by divine guidance, his hands intuitively know where to begin the healing process. Tatz is hesitant to attribute any of his healing abilities to anything other than hard work, dedication to his craft and years of experience. In today’s glitzy new-age health world, his impeccable integrity, Yiddish sense of humor and earthy hands-on approach is refreshingly real and tangible. Nothing about his treatments are so ethereal that a layman cannot directly experience the impact.

“I tell people, that if you have come to my office to tell your story, you are in the wrong place. If you have already been to 10 places and you have told everybody your story and you are still here, so everything you are telling me I don’t need to know. I need to know what you are not saying. Now, on the table!! With my hands I’ll figure it out.”
It is rare that any client leaves the Tatz Studio without a marked physical improvement. His goal is to reeducate detrimental patterns in the body and teach the client new ways of living and using muscles. Through treatment and education, Tatz restores health and balance and seeks to wean the client away from outside intervention.

Using a cross-modality of different techniques, Tatz combines the best of Western medicine with the more energetically based practices of the East.

“Every patient who comes to me is experiencing pain or discomfort at a different level,” he explains, “and in order to assist each one appropriately, I must have a large repertoire to draw from. One modality is not enough to help every person who walks in the door.”

Some of the modalities he utilizes are: Auriculo therapy, shortwave diathermy, magnetic therapy, sound therapy (ultrasound), light therapy (ML 830® Laser), electrical stimulation and manual therapy, as well as Postural Integration®, tai chi, lyengar yoga, reflex therapy and hydrotherapy.

For clients who come from out of town for Tatz’s special Body Tuning® techniques, he recommends treatment twice a day for one week, once in the morning and then again in the early evening. Eighty-five percent of his clients suffering from acute pain are relieved after five days. He also treats clients who are hospitalized after an operation and need some fine-tuning. “Like a car after an accident, the body has parts replaced and then needs a tune-up. Especially if the patient is lying in a hospital bed for too long, the body becomes uncomfortable. The neck and back become disjointed and need some adjustments.” Tatz suggests body tuning twice a week for these cases.

Tatz’s therapy office resonates with European flavor and is staffed with mostly other Russian practioners. Marina, his receptionist, Russian as well, greets patients with, “Allo, how can I help you?” Tatz laughs about this. “You can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy.” He may have found success in America, but he is still a Litvak at heart. Fluent in six languages—Lithuanian, Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, English and German—Tatz is proud to assume his Hebrew name and honored to have the opportunities that American freedom has availed him. “There is no question that America is the goldene medina,” Tatz adds. “Americans are very lucky and don’t even realize it. Their biggest problem was the War of Independence and life has been a honeymoon since then. In Europe, people today are still fighting about existence.”

Fiercely independent, Tatz realizes he needs to be at the top of his field in order to succeed. He is hesitant to make referrals unless he is absolutely certain that the referring physician is top-notch and trustworthy. He always encourages his clients to thoroughly check out doctors who are recommended by other doctors as “friends.” The idea of kickbacks infuriates him, so for the most part he operates as a sole proprietor. “Americans are naive. If you go to see a doctor with a big degree from Oxford or Cambridge and he has a British accent, what does this mean? You need to ask questions.”

*

Shmuel Tatz PT

Born in Lithuania in 1946 to two Jewish Holocaust survivors, a secular father and Zionist mother, Tatz knew from the age of 5 that his destiny was to live in Israel. Lithuania, at that time, was not a friendly place for a Jewish family and Tatz reminisces that he was reminded in the streets a few times a day that he was a Jew. “My father was a partisan and my mother escaped from the ghetto and they met in the woods in 1944. They each had had previous spouses and children when they met, but all known family members had been killed.”

Life behind the Iron Curtain was extremely limited and even the mention of immigration before the early ’70s was a violation resulting in a sentence to Siberia. So when immigration did finally start to open up, Tatz applied and had to wait two years before receiving his visa. With much encouragement from his family, Tatz immigrated to Israel in 1973 to build a new life, with his family planning to follow after him. “My mother was a very strong Zionist—she was Shomer Hatzair—and we always had talks about Israel in my home.” Tatz’s mother was the only one to actually follow him to Eretz Yisroel, as his father passed away in Lithuania and his brother continues to live there till this day.

Tatz spent the majority of his time as a young man in Lithuania learning how to work with his hands as a healer. He remembers conversing with his father that the only thing he could take with him to Israel were his hands, so this is where he should invest his time and money. After training as a dancer, Tatz transferred his interests and studied for four years to become a medical exercise physician. He later moved to Moscow to study medical massage and in the early ’70s, he worked on the bodies of Soviet Olympic athletes.

“The Eastern European techniques at the time I was in college were much more advanced than their counterpart schools in the West.” Tatz continues, “However, there is one thing that cannot be taught in these schools and that is how to touch. Impossible.” Tatz contends that like learning piano, or any other instrument, touch can only be taught one on one. So Tatz found himself a good shaygetz hands-on healer and followed him arouna Russia to learn the trade.

Upon moving to Israel in 1973, Tatz received a full scholarship from the Sochnut to study traditional physical therapy at Wingate Institute in Tel Aviv. Tatz recounts these times as some of the happiest in his life.

“Many of my old teachers in Israel were immigrants from Germany, trainea in the Eastern European traditions of touch therapy, while the young teachers in Israel were from America and brought the hi-tech therapies like ultrasound. So this was the combination of the highest standards of training available.”

He also had the opportunity to study acupuncture, tai chi and yoga as well as Feldenkrais technique with the native originator of the modality, Moshe Feldenkrais. His first job out of Wingate was working with critically injured people in Jerusalem at Hadassah Hospital, and later he moved on to become the physical therapist for the Israeli soccer team, Beitar Yerushalayim.

Tatz smiles. “Every Jewish mother wants her son to become a doctor or a lawyer. I just didn’t have the talent for these professions. So, my cousin recommended that maybe I would enjoy physical therapy, since it involves a lot of ergonomics and movement. And since it’s a little bit like medicine, my mother would be happy, too. So I have been practicing this profession for almost 35 years and I still enjoy it and learn every day.”

Tatz’s superlative talents transverse many worlds. While concurrently working with the Israeli soccer team, Tatz opened up a private practice in Mea Shearimthe ultra-Orthodox section of Jerusalem. “I still remember my address, Shifteh Yisroel, shloshim vashmona,” he smirks.

“My office there was a three-ring circus. At the same time I was a Shabbos goy running with the soccer players on Shabbos, I was treating yeshiva bochers sitting and learning all day. The soccer players would come to my office in their shorts and the bocherim would come with their Gemorrahs. I will never forget this in my life. I had the honor to treat the Gerer Rebbe, the Slonim Rebbe, and many other talmidim chachamim. These people are always leaning over their books, learning and thinking, and this creates tremendous tension in the neck and back.”

Because Tatz spoke fluent Yiddish, all the most prominent rabbis and rebbetzins came for treatment (in Orthodox tradition, a woman cannot touch a man, but a man can touch a woman as her medical practitioner) and his popularity blossomed amongst the am kashei oref-the nation of stiff-necked people. As a result, numerous articles were written in Israeli newspapers about Tatz’s healing services amongst Israel’s most religious.

Tatz was also a tremendous advocate of physical activity in the yeshivas. He introduced baseball, soccer and basketball to many of the boys. “I saw in the color of the boys’ faces that they had zero physical activity, that their musculoskeletal system was in terrible condition, and that this brings other health problems.” Tatz admits that he received his Jewish education working in this ultra-Orthodox community. “On the holidays, the rabbis would give me wine, kosher brachas and invitations to their homes.”

An attractive young classical pianist, Golda Vainberg, also a fellow Litvak studying at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, once came to his office in Jerusalem. She had been suffering from tendinitis and was unable to play. After only one month of treatment, she was back to her piano and shortly afterward they married. Lucky for Tatz, Vainberg referred to him many of Israel’s finest classical musicians, as well as some of her fellow students at Juilliard. Yehudi Menuhin, Midori, pianists Bella Davidovich, Leon Fleisher, Richard Goode, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Isaac Stern and Rosalyn Tureck came by word of mouth, hearing about Tatz and his intuitive sense of the inner life of a classical musician. When Vainberg received a scholarship from Israel to study at Juilliard in New York City, the Tatzes packed their bags and in 1984 headed west.

Arriving in New York, Tatz had a difficult time reestablishing his practice. He had much experience and knowledge, but no license. One of Tatz’s friends suggested that he establish his practice as an unlicensed (he has since become licensed in New York) “body tuner.” Tatz continues, “Alexander did it, Feldenkrais did it, so I figured, why not me? So let’s make a name that sounds more musical-how ’bout, ‘Body Tuning®’? Now that’s geshmack,” he laughs. Two of Tatz’s patients, Isaac Stern and James D. Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank and then chairman of Carnegie Hall, got him an office there. Twenty years later, Tatz continues to practice his body tuning in this same studio.

“Some people say I have a gift. I only know that I put my life energy into my work and I truly want to help. When somebody puts their hands on you, you can tell if this person wants to help or they are using their hands as if this was just their job.” There is a Jewish saying: “Those who bless, too, shall be blessed.” And after visiting Shmuel Tatz, they feel that they have been blessed with the divine touch.

Lifestyles Magazine
By Leslie Russel

The Best of Both Worlds

Alternative and traditional approaches can be incorporated into a physical therapy career

From inside his clinic in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Lithuanian native Shmuel Tatz, PT, works his wonders on the likes of renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Weber, ABC news anchor Peter Jennings, violinist Isaac Stern and prima ballerina Susan Jaffe, as well as a full roster of “regular” folk.

They come seeking relief from performance-related injuries: pianist and writers appear with neck and shoulder strains; dancers with hip, knee and back pain. But more than half of Tatz’s clients have more standard ailments, such as arthritis, slipped disks and Parkinson’s disease.

Continue reading “The Best of Both Worlds”

Auricular Therapy

To Feel Peace In Your Body

The traditional systems of medicine from the Asian cultures have always included some type of massage stimulation to the ears. When you work on your ears you will notice that within two to three minutes of vigorous massage your ears will get hot. This is caused by the increase of blood flow to the area. The Chinese say that when the blood is increased to an area, the healing energy is increased to that area as well. The increased energy to the ears is thought to stimulate the acupuncture reflexes, which in turn stimulate the related organs, tissues and glands. This is because the ears are heavily laced with reflex nerve connections through the brain to all parts of the body. Ear reflex stimulates the productivity of important neurotransmitters such as endorphin, which is known to be a natural painkiller and an agent causing a sense of overall well-being.

Auricular Therapy

Continue reading “Auricular Therapy”

Shortwave Diathermy

In health care, there’s no substitute for clinical skill, judgment and decision making. These essentials help you diagnose, manage and treat a host of patients. But sometimes, you need help to achieve treatment goals. In those cases, you can turn to modalities to jumpstart the healing process. The following is a brief primer on shortwave diathermy.

Shortwave diathermy uses high-frequency electric current to produce heat using either a condenser field or an induction field. The condenser field uses the patient’s tissues as the dielectric between two electrodes. With the induction field, the patient is in the electromagnetic field so that current flows between the patient’s conductive tissues.

Shortwave diathermy heats the tissue by causing oscillations of electromagnetic energy of high frequencies. With the changes in the new diathermy units, therapists can now provide treatment over pins and screws, prostheses and other noncircular metals. These areas were previously contraindicated.

Shortwave diathermy can reach deep tissue, a primary advantage of this modality. The diathermy head is approximately 25 times the size of an ultrasound head, thus allowing therapists to treat a large muscle group in less time.

Producing a variety of physiological changes, diathermy increases local metabolism and white blood cell concentration to the injured area. It also removes bacteria and toxins with increased cell membrane permeability, reduces muscle spasm and sedates nerve endings. In addition, it increases connective tissue elasticity, body temperature, respiratory and pulse rates and decreases blood pressure.

Diathermy is indicated for subacute and chronic inflammatory conditions of superficial joints, subacute and chronic traumatic muscle inflammation, indirect heating for peripheral vascular disease, contusions and post-surgery sites, sprains, strains, bursitis and tendinitis. It also can enhance epithelialization.

Very young and very old patients aren’t candidates for diathermy. Nor are those who are pregnant, have cardiac disease, a known cancer, an infection, an existing fever or a tendency to hemorrhage. Diathermy can’t be used over any metal that forms a circular pattern or has the same circumference as the diathermy coil. It also shouldn’t be used over the epiphyses of growing bones.

Therapists must remove electronic or magnetic equipment from the condenser field or induction field. Be careful with patients who are poor judges of heat, are obese and have sensory impairment. Avoid ischemic areas, open wounds or moist dressings, uneven spacing of the electrodes and uneven pressure of the electrodes.

Advance for Physical Therapists & PT Assistants

Making Progress: Modalities can jumpstart the healing process

By Danielle Montbriand, MPT, and Jessica F. Broussard, OTR/L

Ultrasound

In health care, there’s no substitute for clinical skill, judgment and decision making. These essentials help you diagnose, manage and treat a host of patients. But sometimes, you need help to achieve treatment goals. In those cases, you can turn to modalities to jumpstart the healing process. The following is a brief primer on ultrasound.

Ultrasound is a form of deep heat generated through a piezo-electric crystal soundhead. Sound waves cause vibration of the cells in the soft tissue, therefore increasing temperature and inducing vasodilatation. Ultrasound can separate collagen fibers, thereby increasing tissue extensibility, or it can increase membrane permeability, increasing ion exchange. Ultrasound waves can cause thermal and nonthermal effects.

As a thermal agent, this modality can increase the tissue temperature to depths of 5 cm or more. By increasing collagen tissue extensibility, it promotes circulation, relaxes tight muscles, changes nerve conduction velocity, reduces pain and decreases inflammation.

In rehabilitation, ultrasound serves many uses. For the patient with joint contracture, ultrasound can help raise tissue temperature. The combined effect of heat and stretch will promote greater tissue extensibility, thus increasing range of motion.

Ultrasound is indicated to treat soft tissue shortening (joint contractures, scarring); subacute and chronic inflammation; painful conditions, including muscle guarding; neuroma; trigger points and warts.

Ultrasound is contraindicated in people with poor arterial circulation. It can’t be used over an area with bleeding or infection, on someone who is pregnant or doesn’t know she’s pregnant, on someone who has known cancer, over the spinal cord after a laminectomy and over the carotid sinus or cervical ganglia.

Advance for Physical Therapists & PT Assistants

Making Progress: Modalities can jumpstart the healing process

By Danielle Montbriand, MPT, and Jessica F. Broussard, OTR/L

Electrical Stimulation

In health care, there’s no substitute for clinical skill, judgment and decision making. These essentials help you diagnose, manage and treat a host of patients. But sometimes, you need help to achieve treatment goals. In those cases, you can turn to modalities to jumpstart the healing process. The following is a brief primer on electrical stimulation.

Various types of electrical stimulation exist: microcurrents, interferential, Russian current, functional electrical stimulation, high-voltage pulsed stimulation and variable muscle stimulation.

Electrical stimulation uses electrical current to provide active exercise to muscles that are incapable of voluntary contraction. E-stim promotes blood flow to the muscle to maintain nutrition, slow the atrophy process, decrease fibrotic muscle changes and decrease muscle spasm.

In addition, it can strengthen healthy muscle, increase range of motion, promote circulation and provide proprioceptive input. For someone with upper trapezius tightness, e-stim can decrease muscle trigger points and increase circulation.

E-stim offers numerous advantages. The electrodes can be used multiple times, the intensity and type of current can be individualized, and treatment can be done in the clinic or at home with a home unit. Most insurance companies will pay for home units. On the flip side, an e-stim machine for the clinic can be expensive, and uninnervated muscles will atrophy over time.

Although many different modalities exist for treatment, familiarize yourself with studies of the latest findings to best serve your patients. This article merely touches on the indications, contraindications and precautions. To learn more, familiarize yourself with the literature on these modalities. This will help you choose the most effective method for your patients.

Advance for Physical Therapists & PT Assistants

Making Progress: Modalities can jumpstart the healing process

By Danielle Montbriand, MPT, and Jessica F. Broussard, OTR/L

An Unusual Therapist

In previous articles I have reported on exceptional wellness programs and what contributed to their effectiveness. I’d like to add a most unusual health practitioner to this group.

His name is Shmuel Tatz and his patients consider him to be a remarkably talented and sensitive hands-on therapist. He is first and foremost a licensed physical therapist – but with a range of skills and knowledge that has grown and matured from years of study and experience – topped off with the confidence of a master and a proud dedication to his craft.

Tatz is no ordinary physical therapist, limited to the modalities that consumers have come to expect. His menu of therapies includes magnetic therapy, manual therapy, light therapy, sound therapy, shortwave daithermy and auriculo therapy to name a few of the treatments he employs. Tatz was trained as a physical educator in Lithuania, then migrated to Israel and studied physical therapy. Since 1985 he has been helping his clients in a comfortable and carefully designed studio at Carnegie Hall. So it’s natural that among his statisfied patients are performing artists that include Lou Reed, Kathleen Turner, Peter Jennings, Mstislab Rostropovich, Eli Wallach, Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern.

Before coming to see Tatz for help, the typical patient has already seen 2-3 physicians, 2-3 chiropractors, and an acupuncturist, says Tatz. The question arises then: Why have so many so-called therapists failed to diagnose and remediate their long endured health condition(s)? How has Tatz succeeded in providing the harbor of last resort?

These questions provoked a strong emotional response from Tatz – tingled with a hint of animosity toward the health insurers in particular and at the system that prepares people to become physical therapists. Both, he says prevent the development of maximum competence and severely restrict the employment of modalities and equipment so freely and expertly employed in the Tatz Studio.

Tatz feels that patients cannot be healed by a physical therapist that after four years of special training goes to work in rehab program or some doctors office. In his opinion, what future therapists need goes beyond the issuance of a license to practice.

Like Md.’s, physical therapists should broaden and sharpen their skills while working under the supervision and tutelage of a master physical therapists like Tatz. It takes a ling time, says Tatz, to develop the sensitivity and skills required to learn the art of palpation and other hands on skills that enable a physical therapists to become a capable diagnostician and healer.

Tatz points out the dampening effects if health insurance programs that set the rules for the use of “approved” modalities as well as the incompatible payments to physical therapists. To Tatz they (the health insurance industry) are business, business, and business. According to Tatz, the insurance company tells the physical therapists what he is allowed to do, how many times he can see the patient and how much he will be reimbursed for his services. “He (the therapist) is a human being … he has to pay rent and electric bills. Can you imagine a physical therapist gets $20 for a treatment? Do you know what this office costs me for one hour? How can a physical therapists run the business?”

What Tatz would like his profession to do is to extend the learning time period for physical therapists after licensing. That would require a post graduation apprenticeship for 3-5 years with an experienced physical therapist then employment for six months with other successful physical therapists. Then and only then is the physical therapist ready to go solo. Finally, the physical therapist opens his own practice in a “small room” and works independently, under no obligation to any health insurance company. This would enable him/her to devote one hour for every patient. This, says Tatz, is how he did it when he started 25 years ago.

Since Tatz has received a great deal of commendable publicity (articles, TV, radio), I expected that members of his profession and organizations representing physical therapists would have invited him to speak at their conferences and conventions. Given that Tatz incorporates other modalities such as chiropractic and massage, I asked him if he has received entreaties from schools that train chiropractors and massages therapists. “Nobody invites me. Why should be invited? I don’t have nay connections with organizations. I’m not interested in politics. I’m interested in helping people.” People, he said, call him for treatments; schools and professionals, none.

In addition to poorly prepared physical therapists there are patients who go from therapist to therapist and don’t get better. Why? Tatz tells the story of a patient who suffered from health condition for 15 years without relief during which she had gone to five chiropractors, four acupuncturists and a massage therapist. Numerous treatments: but no one bothered to educate her on how to sit and get out of a chair. This, Tatz says, is like physician giving pills. This lack of patient education is one reason why Tatz is now working on his doctorate in physical education.

Tatz expects his patients to actively participate in the healing process. This, he says, is essential to maintaining good health and increasing the quality of life. Tatz teaches his patients how to move their bodies in a variety of life situation and expects them to do the exercises at home to support the therapies he is providing. He also doesn’t hesitate, when appropriate, to recommend a yoga program or another specialist to meet the patient’s need’s.

While I understand what motivates Tatz to adopt the “Lone Ranger” approach to his practice, it is a choice he has made – and for him it may be the best choice. Despite his arguments about he need for post school training and apprenticeships for physical therapists, and the unfairness of health insurance policies, other organizational arrangements are evolving as conventional and integrative medicine narrow their differences. We have learned about the advantages offered by programs with a multidisciplinary staff, working together and sharing their knowledge and experience. Ultimately, this should benefit the patient who, depite the talent of a single individual therapist, will require the combined wisdom of a team approach. What comes to mind are two programs I observed and wrote about in previous issues of “To Your Health”: Olive Leaf Wholeness Center and The Center for Health and Healing. While health insurance does cover some of the costs at these centers, it does not appear to appreciably diminish the overall quality of care.

As reflected by the many patients, who gladly put their faith in this highly gifted professional, surely there is room fro Shmuel Tatz’s in the world of health care. But given that Tatz represents the upper level of exemplary therapists, and given that the system that produces physical therapists is not about to change any time soon, the creation of a healing environment where therapists can exchange information with knowledgeable members of their team, is worth critical study. This said, some of the sensible changes in the education and placement of therapists that Tatz proposes deserve a serious study and debate. Also, his condemnation of restrictions imposed by private and public health insurers needs better publicity and active consumer advocate pressure on government to change a very flawed system that robs patients of greater treatment potential and therapists of a decent return fro their services.

From April L.

I was injured from an accident in 1996, I tried many therapists but pain persisted, in addition to the pain I could not move reach or lift anything. The constant pain was disconcerting to say the least.

Someone who heard of his wonderful ability to focus on problems led me to Shmuel Tatz.

After one visit I felt some relief. I saw Shmuel 2 times a week for 4 weeks. His amazing fingers found problems I was not aware of – such as stomach difficulties and other parts of my body that I never realized were related to the distress my body was suffering.

I now have total mobility, can lift, stretch and am feeling great. In addition to this my sinuses have cleared from the magnetic therapy Shmuel uses.

*

From P.S.

I had a broken foot that was treated by an Orthopedist who by the way could not believe the progress I made with Shmuel so quickly.

I saw Dr. Tatz 2 times a week for 2 months. I think the aspect of the healing that was most beneficial was the way he manipulates the area and his ability to concentrate on the painful and disturbed areas of the body.

I am totally fine now and recommend Shmuel to everyone who needs help.

After the publication of the article title “An Unusual Therapist”, we received many letters. Therapists Shmuel Tatz responds to some of your questions:

Do you do massage?

In physical therapy massage is called soft tissue mobilization. It is a big part of my practice. About 25-35% of most treatments is massage.

Do you do adjustments?

In physical therapy adjustments are called manipulations. They are the same as adjustments with a major difference. Adjustments can sometimes be traumatic for the joints. By applying mobilization, which is small intra-joint movement, there is usually good improvement, which avoids the need for adjustments.

Is yoga a part of your practice?

Everything I do when I am teaching people how to move is based on yoga tradition.

Do you sell magnets?

I use high tech electronic magnets. The machine costs many thousands of dollars and is only for professional use.

My pediatrist has advised a bunion operation. Can you help me with this?
I can help both before and after an operation. Ideally i would trat you before and avoid the operation altogether.

Do you treat Parkinson or MS?

The first day after a diagnosis of Parkinson, MS or any other neurological condition, a physical therapists should be contacted for an intensive course of treatment.

Do you treat migraines?

I have success 85-90% of the time.

I live far away and have acute sciatic pain. Does it make sense to travel three hours to Manhattan?

It is possible to do physical therapy twice a day. You ca stay in the city and work intensively for a couple of weeks and expect 90-100% improvement.

How do I find a therapist in my neighborhood?

Try to see an independent practitioner not primary affiliated with a hospital or insurance company, and who is working in solo practice. After the first treatment, listen to your body, think about what the therapist did and if there is a physical improvement continue.

 

To Your Health!
by Milt Chaikin

Physical Therapy – Body Tuning!

Body Tuning is the most profound development in healing in decades.

Dr. Shmuel Tatz does not use physical therapy machinery of any kind in his therapeutic approach. He uses touch. His hands touch with a gentleness that can only come from a true instinct and awareness of what is going on in the body. It’s a fact he is more in touch with a patient’s body than the patient. He is aware of the body’s language and what it conveys. By conversing with the body, reading balances and disharmonies, he can fine tune it. He feels the bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons evaluating what is needed and then gently reeducates the body into a more harmonious balance. “The first step is to feel the problem.”

As one patient explains, “My personal experience with Dr. Tatz was rather remarkable. When he first touched mu stomach I wondered what he had in mind. Almost immediately there was a sensation in my spine. As he very gently and ever so slowly maneuvered my head up and down and from side to side (similar to Feldenkrais movements) he softly muttered “lengthen your neck” as a healing mantra. He later explained that he was teaching my body to work with its innate wisdom to heal itself. The morning after my session I woke up with no pain. This was a first for me in a very long time.”

His work is a compilation of many modalities. His system may not be readily evident but one look at his face, when he concentrates on the body, reveals his genuine ability to pick up one needs. As he explained, he feels that our bodies tell us what exercise program will help rather than do more harm. (Perhaps one needs someone lie him to set up the correct program.

He, correctly, asserts that one cannot heal or touch another person if we are not in perfect harmony ourselves – centered and emotionally sound. This attitude comes from a healthy soul who is truly in touch with his need to be a focused whole person. There is totally relaxed countenance that Shmuel Tatz possesses that immediately makes you relax and go with the flow.

He sees a limited number of clients a day as he knows one can only give from what there is to draw from. The urgency to make oodles of money is not uppermost in his mind as he considers his clients part of his family.

He uses magnetic pulse therapy as part of his treatment regimen. As Dr. Tatz explains, “Physical therapists know the positive effects of magnetism on the body. Scientists have developed a machine with different programs so we can adjust for every situation. We put electrodes on the body for example on the hip joint for about 15-20 minutes to provide a very mild relaxation sensation and the pain decreases. Physical therapists can do reflex therapy.”

Originally from Lithuania, Shmuel Tatz studied Western physical therapy in Jerusalem. In the 20 years he is practicing in the United States he has broadened his scope of learning considerably.

To Your Health