A Student Volunteer’s Observations of Body Tuning

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.

The patients I have assisted with over the past few weeks have come in to see Dr. Tatz for various injuries. The most common injuries I have seen so far would be those involving the back and shoulders. This I would expect because the spine is a major support for our body. We also associate shoulder tension with the spine as the two are interconnected. With this injury, along with others, we see that the spine is not always the only thing that is experiencing pain due to an injury. There is often pain tension in the neck all the way down to the lower back. Relating back to the Body Tuning practice, patients often down on the table in a comfortable position, allowing full access to the back of the body. We begin to ask the patient where they are experiencing pain currently, and then adjust the practice accordingly. Most often, we start manipulating the area far from the injury, and slowly move towards the area in pain, as well as finding other places surrounding the area that are connected to that area, such as the shoulder, neck, or lower back. After the manipulation, we start rocking the patient, having the spine in constant motion, whether they are lying on their side or face down. With this constant motion, we are allowing the body to be free and loose. There should be no points of tension with the relaxed body, as we rock the hips, spine, shoulder, or whatever body part pertinent to the injury. Often the last part of the practice involves modalities, whether that is the cold laser, magnet pads, or the electrode remote. Depending on the severity of the injury, the proper machine is used. We are trying to make the patient as comfortable as possible during treatment. The area of injury and surrounding areas receive electricity to first stimulate, and then relax the muscles. We can also stimulate points in the ear to release muscle tension in certain points of the body. After about fifteen minutes of stimulation, the patient is asked to sit up and say how they are feeling, hopefully better than when they came in the office. We then ask them to stand up slowly, and begin to slowly twist from side to side loosely with their shoulders and spine. This movement and similar exercises can be done anywhere at any time, multiple times a day, to help improve the body’s movement. Only these exercises need to be done to help heal an injury, no additional weights or exercises needed. Simple subtle movements with Body Tuning over the course of ten to fifteen sessions depending on the injury can have the body moving at optimum performance.

These small manipulations of the body within the muscle and joints will dramatically increase the patient’s range of motion. We never want to push a patient beyond their comfort level, nor past their natural resistance. We do not stretch to increase flexibility, and range of motion. This could potentially harm a patient even more than they already are injured. The small manipulations relax and loosen the muscles to increase circulation within the joints. From there we can improve the motion of the body to relieve pain and tension. The body has its own story, and the only way to find the root of the pain is to feel the body and listen to it that way. Patients can say they feel a certain way or have a story behind their injury, but the only way to really understand what is going on inside the body, is to be hands on and work through the pain and injury manually. Exercises can typically only build up strength, versus trying to manipulate a muscle or joint for further improvement. The body is constantly changing and where you may think the injury and pain may be, could actually be in a completely different place. The only way we can find out is manipulating, and working with the body. Massage therapy is an important form of physical therapy by getting into the body and moving through the muscle and other tissues. This massage can alleviate tension of the muscles to then further mobility of the body.

by Kristen Koza