I first came to the Body Tuning clinic as a patient, looking to improve my posture and relieve my back pain. I laid down on the table, and the therapist, Daniel, began working on my problem areas, gently swinging and stretching the limbs, massaging tight muscles, applying pressure into critical points, and stimulating the tissues with electrical and electromagnetic devices. I felt my breathing become deep and relaxed, as though years of tension were melting away. I felt that I was in the right place.
As Daniel worked, he also talked with me and helped to resolve my doubts and questions, gave me pointers as to the causes of my discomfort, and how to correct my structure. He pointed out the imbalance between the left and right sides of my body, and prescribed an exercise to correct it. He also gave me an exercise to deepen my breathing, and one to straighten my spine. After some time of working with both Dr. Tatz and Daniel, I have learned much about my body, and I have seen my body change in noticeable ways both externally and internally. I feel distinctly different now. My spine is more straight, I can breathe more deeply, and I feel more balanced and harmonious within my body than I have felt in a long time.
I was very impressed with my treatment results, and I wanted to learn how this is done. So I decided to volunteer as an assistant and student at Body Tuning. Now, since I have had the opportunity to observe and assist Dr. Tatz and Daniel, I have been able to see how the physical therapist assesses each patient, and observes where the imbalances are which cause pain and discomfort. I can see that, through much experience working with people’s bodies, along with study of anatomy, the therapist develops an intuitive knowledge of how a healthy body should look, feel, and move, and how to correct imbalances.
Dr. Tatz once brought me in front of a large diagram of a human skeleton in his office, and said to me, “The world is always changing, many things come and go, but this (he points to the diagram), this never changes. The human body has been this way for millions of years. This is the way it’s supposed to be.” A 23 year old is not supposed to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. A human spine, should not be arched radically forwards like a bow bridge while standing. A healthy person should not have a back full of knotted muscles, or a spine that is rigidly calcified like a rock. A healthy body should move gracefully and feel relaxed, comfortable, alive, and in tune.
Therefore, the first step in any Body Tuning treatment is assessment. The therapist uses his hands to “see” inside the patient’s body, in the same way that a medical doctor uses an X-Ray. He feels the muscles, bones, tendons, and facia. He gently moves the skin side to side, to detect restrictions in the facia, or connective tissues. He applies pressure, to detect tension, knotting, or spasm in the muscles. He moves and stretches the limbs, to assess the range and smoothness of motion in the joints. He also takes into account the way that the patient moves and walks, and always looks for subtle differences between the left and right sides of the body.
The second step is treatment. After assessing the patient, understanding what is out of balance, the therapist then works to relax the tight muscles, restore the natural range of motion, bring circulation into dehydrated tissues, bring the bones into the correct alignment, and most importantly, make the patient feel better. Treatment is done by various techniques of manual manipulation (massage, stretching, moving limbs, stretching the neck and spine, etch), as well as with devices which employ electromagnetic pulses, electrical currents, lasers, or vibration. Periodically throughout the treatment, the therapist reassesses the critical areas to check if the treatment is working, and may even show the patient how their bodies have changed over the course of just a few minutes, “Look, see how I worked on the left leg and now it moves so much more smoothly than the right?” Results can be seen very quickly. I have noticed, in my own treatment, that there are some body parts which are painful and sensitive when touched, but by the end of a session, they no longer feel painful even when a large amount of force is applied.
The third step is education. This is an important step, because even though the therapist may bring the patient one step forwards towards health, the patient will often take two steps backwards by reverting to their old habits which caused the problems in the first place. The patient needs to be educated on how to correct their issues on their own, and how to avoid the pitfalls which have caused their problems in the first place. The Body Tuning therapist will, therefore, educate the patient about their structural imbalances, teach them how to walk, stand, and sit properly, and prescribe stretches and exercises to practice at home. Some patients are also given more specific recommendations. For example, one patient may be found to be carrying a briefcase half their weight, so the therapist recommends them to reduce the load. Another has injured themselves from too much running, and it is recommended to give the body time to rest and recover. Every patient is different, and the exercise regimen and lifestyle recommendations are tailored to each person.
The goal of Body Tuning is to make the body more healthy, more comfortable, and more free. To make it sit, stand, walk, and move in a way that is graceful and feels good. Body Tuning improves the overall health of the patient: mentally, physically, and spiritually. Dr. Tatz’s message to me was simple: “The body needs tuning!” And he is right. Many of us tend to neglect our bodies until the point where they are so broken that we are becoming sick. Many of us are not even aware of the bodily handicaps which we live with every day. How much better our lives can be if we simply invest in our health by keeping our bodies in tune. When the body is tuned, we not only feel better, but our lives become better in every way.
By Micah Frier