This past Saturday I filled in for Jarvis teaching the morning Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) classes. To further show the students the importance of the foot I altered many of the movements to emphasize the foot and to enhance the ability of the body to move fully through its range of motion. One of the students has scoliosis, primarily of the upper spine; while I had her sitting on the Gyrotonic Expansion System and using the wheels I had her emphasize pressing her foot down into a Yoga block. By using this exercise she was using her lower back- by the bottom ribs, and creating movement of the musculature there. The stretch sensation she was experiencing was to the Fascia at that level that had become rigid and unresponsive; once we had that at a higher level of use and response I moved the Yoga blocks to just before the ball of the foot behind the great toe. She was amazed that by her applying pressure there she was able to access the part of her spine that gives her trouble and is a constant source of aggravation. Another young lady was having trouble rotating on the disc while performing AB pull downs. Experimenting a little with a tennis ball we were able to activate a part of her back that has been "stuck" for a period of time. It looked like she was wearing a high heel on her left foot. I did this with everyone, and to one and all's delight we were able to help each and every one with the dilemma that they arrived with.
I tell you this for two reasons- the first is to point out just how important our feet are and secondly to invite all to attend our Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) classes to learn and re-pattern improper movement patterns...the only thing you have to lose is your pain.
Lets look at how important our feet are when seated! When you are sitting down at the dinner table, on a chair in your living room, or at your computer desk, how are your feet? Are they crossed one over the other? Are you rolling one to the outside and maybe one to the inside? Are they comfortable just laying flat on the floor? How many times do you reposition them to be comfortable? Does your back hurt when you get out of your car? These are all symptoms how your feet are not functioning at a high level. Every so often one must reassess the compressive forces on their spine and make sure that your feet are flat on an even pressure is being distributed through the inside arch, from big toe through the heel. When driving do you just use your toes and pivot the heel, or do you place the whole foot on the gas pedal and then move the foot to the brake? That could be one reason your back hurts, by holding the heel in one place you could be over stimulating those reflex points enough- that the low back and tailbone area are staying compressed, and holding the muscles in a shortened position which in turn places pressure on the low back nerves.
In Muscle Release Therapy, MRTh(R) we look at the configuration of the tarsals, metarsals, and phalanges (toes). The practitioner assesses and treats the individual joints to ensure movement is free and also to make sure the structures are in the right position. This is accomplished by regulating the tension on the individual ligaments and allowing the skeleton to reach a positive tension. It must begin by manipulating the sesamoid bones behind the knuckle of the great toe so that the flexor tendon is able to function. One must assess the other metatarsals to ensure that the foot is resting on the "ball" of the foot. There are reasons that they are rounded and will help form a better "footing" for the foot, and allow a cleaner roll through as the foot articulates.
In Fundamental Movement Therapy(SM) the student should be made aware of the proper foot position whenever there is "foot contact" during movement. Too often in exercise classes, the student(s) use many forms of accommodation that will compromise the spine because of improper foot positoning. I often use the visual of the space shuttle prior to take off, as the tether is released from the unit you will notice a slight descent of the rocket booster as the engines are fired up, this creates a spring board for the booster, and with the power of the ignition of the fuel will aide in launching the shuttle. The same holds true for movement, as the foot is properly compressed it too will act as a spring board and help the spine elongate.
Foot health is important, if you have any questions please let us know. Please feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment in the blog section.
Thanks and remember, there is a Reason to HOPE!