I arrived a bit early for my eighth visit with Shmuel Tatz, PT, PhD. His waiting room is a constant, relaxing oasis. There are three red velvet orchestra seats to choose from, numbered 13, 15 & 17. Or, there’s also a comfortable piano bench to sit on. Prominently placed in the waiting area is a beautiful bronze sculpture of healing hands. His two assistants are always kind, smart and soft-spoken. I’d had success with Tatz’ previous treatment, in essence with all his treatments, but last time Tatz had made a leap with my headaches. The head pain had disappeared for a few days and it hadn’t come back in its usual way. This time, my head was sore versus piercing.
Tatz whisked me into one of his private rooms, had me lie face up, and immediately placed cold laser therapy instruments on both sides of my neck and disappeared for at least twenty minutes or so. I’d become accustomed to the cold laser treatments from Tatz. From my understanding, the cold laser was first developed in Europe: A noninvasive form of light amplification. On this particular treatment I fell fast asleep.
When Tatz returned to the room, he started working on my head and neck. First he moved his hands gently across my face a number of times to assess what his body-tuning approach would be. Then, he delicately held the bottom of my head, just below the skull and above the neck. At times he would gently pulse these areas, other times, he just held my head in his hands. Later, he moved his attention to my neckline. His hands micro-focused along my neck’s blood vessels, nerves and tightened muscles. He proceeded towards my jawline, probing and massaging at first then pushing quite intensely along my gums.
Then he told me to begin opening and closing my jaw. Whenever I did this, he corrected me, “You’re doing too much, too aggressive. Smaller movements, gentle gentle. Move your jaw side to side, the smallest of motions.” These movements were so small I didn’t quite understand their point, but I went along with him. He told me, “Anytime you can remember to do these mild exercises, do them. As much as possible.”
Then his hands added additional pressure all along my neck and jaw, reaching just below my collarbone and upper chest. These points were pretty painful to endure, but I never complained. Then he proceeded to pull my arms over my head and then went to lift my legs high. When he did this, he pushed into my hiatal hernia areas, including upper and lower stomach. With knees bent, he had me sway them gently left and right while he continued pressing and pushing into my stomach with his hands. Thereafter he placed the Diapulse Machine over my abdomen and asked that I continue to sway my knees during this part of the treatment. I was becoming familiar his modalities, rotating different treatments. But then simultaneously, he added more cold laser therapy, this time directly atop each side of my jaw. An additional twenty minutes, I was beyond relaxed.
He instructed that slowly when I was ready get up, to drink a sip of water and then end the session while standing on my knees and forearms, swaying back and forth including small motions with the jaw.
I wasn’t pain-free when I left but with each day that passed, the pain began to diminish more and more. I continued Tatz’ home therapy exercises, the smallest of motions that had significant impact. When I would slowly open my jaw, with these minor movements as Tatz instructed, I would feel the back of my head and neck release. And in my impatience whenever I opened my jaw wider, it didn’t have the same healing effect – rather it was jarring to my head and neck. I continue to perform the smallest of motions every day and every night. The pain and anxiety are now fading. I’m sure there is more Tatz work ahead and I look forward to being in his hands.
by J. Baldwin