Orthotics: the real shoe bomber!

by admin on December 17, 2010

Look out below!
Orthotics: the real shoe bomber!

I ran into a friend at a party recently and he said he just had his orthotics adjusted and was experiencing some knee pain. My ears immediately perked up. As a posturologist and Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT) specialist it’s a story I’ve heard many times before. I asked if he would like to try an experiment. He agreed. As he stood there on his orthotics I checked the level of his pelvis and the right side was a full inch higher than the left! His wife who was standing beside me was astonished. Then I tested his wrist extensor strength and easily pulled both hands down as if he were a newborn baby. Then I asked him to take off his shoes and the orthotics. Like magic his pelvis was almost level, only ¼ of an inch higher on the right and he passed the strength test like Popeye after just eating spinach. How could this be? Aren’t orthotics supposed to help you? The real question is how could it not be?

Image 1: My client without any foot correction. Notice that both feet are “valgus,” with the both tibia’s collapsing inward and flattening the arch of the foot.

Image 2: My client with orthotics that she has worn for 30 years. Notice the left foot is now a “varus” foot bowing the ankle outward severely stretching all the lateral tendons in the ankle. At this point she was in extreme pain in her feet and legs, and was unable to turn her foot inward or stand on her toes.

Image 3: The same client wearing postural insoles (not orthotics) — notice the more neutral feet. My client now has much more mobility, less pain and is able to stand on her toes after only 3 weeks of postural insoles and one MAT session.

Four bad things that happen when you wear orthotics:

Bad thing #1: Usually by mashing into the arch of the foot, Orthotics shut down the sensory receptors in the skin of the foot. These receptors are designed to communicate constant and accurate information to the central nervous system about weight distribution on the feet.

Bad thing #2: Unable to get accurate feedback from these skin receptors in the feet the central nervous system re-sends this inaccurate information to body’s postural muscles causing negative postural shifts like the one in my friend’s pelvis. It’s like typing in the wrong URL address. Wrong information in, wrong information out.

Bad thing #3: Orthotics act like a cast. If you’ve ever had a hard cast on your knee, ankle, or elbow you know the problem with that. The muscles immobilized by the cast atrophy and weaken. Well the same thing happens in the feet when presented with an orthotic. The joint(s) are immobilized and the muscles atrophy and weaken. There are 55 joints in your foot and like most joints in your body they are designed to move. Movement creates muscular contractions, which pump blood and force the exchange of nutrients and waste products. Joint immobility = Joint Death!

Bad thing # 4: Orthotics make you weaker. In the health section of the January, 18th edition of the New York Times, Dr. Benno Nigg, a professor of biomechanics at the University of Calgary in Alberta, said that, ‘othotics often make muscles work as much as 50% harder for the same movement and increase stress on joints by a similar amount.’ Why would you want to work harder for maybe the same result, (see my friend’s wrist extensor test) and stress your joints out more?

So what’s the answer?

Get the muscles of your feet and lower legs activated to support you and propel you through space like they are meant to do. I have found both Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) and Posturology excellent modalities to activate muscles of the foot and lower leg and improve mobility and posture. If anyone you know is wearing orthotics please send them in. I will gladly give them a free postural assessment and show them a much healthier alternative to the shoe bomb!

IS YOUR BODY LOST IN SPACE?
POOR POSTURE AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT

For years parents have been poking and prodding their children in an effort to get them to stand up straight. Maybe you were one of those unfortunate kids on the receiving end of jabs between your shoulder blades as a not so subtle reminder from your Father to pull your shoulders back, or the sinister, “Sit up straight at the dinner table glare” from your Mother. And now maybe as an adult you do yoga, perform posture exercises you find in fitness magazines and consciously try to engage your core muscles and pull your chin back and your shoulders down and blah, blah, blah…. But no matter how hard you try as soon as you’re on your computer for any length of time or distracted by a phone call you revert right back to that slouch or sway back position right?

You see all those people that have nagged you about your posture for all those years didn’t understand two very important facts.

Fact 1: Your base posture is an unconscious event. It’s like breathing. Your brain has more important things to deal with than consciously monitoring your posture and breathing, such as dodging cars as you cross 7th Avenue.

Fact 2: Exercise only go’s so far when trying to correct posture because it’s not the muscular system that is controlling posture. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying exercise is futile. I whole-heartedly recommend exercise as it provides myriad health benefits and can certainly help keep your posture from total disintegration and help prevent you from melting into your office chair. But your tonic postural muscles, spinal erectors, abs, obliques, etc. are way down the list of factors that determine where you are in space.

It’s actually sensory receptors feeding the brain information about your position in space that are far more influential to your posture. I like to think of the body as an army. The brain is the general, the muscles are the soldiers and the sensory receptors are the reconnaissance. Think drones and CIA. How does the general determine where to position his troops? He needs information that he gets from his drones, and spies. Without the proper reconnaissance the greatest general in the world can’t position his troops properly. The U.S. finally captured and killed Osama Bin Laden because specific and accurate information allowed the military to target the exact house in Pakistan where he was hiding. We didn’t build more tanks and planes and strengthen our military and send them marauding through Pakistan. The body works the same way. Without specific and accurate information coming in from the sensory receptors the brain can’t properly organize the muscular system. This results in postural asymmetries, one shoulder is lower and forward, the pelvis is rotated, the head cocked to the side etc. Over time it is these postural asymmetries that lead to uneven joint wear, muscle tension, pain and injury.

So now what? Dr. Bernard Bricot, a French orthopedic surgeon, developed a system called Posturology that not only identifies the four main sensory receptors dictating posture but more importantly recalibrates these receptors and enhances their function to quickly and drastically improve posture.

The four main receptors that are responsible for posture are the eyes, feet, skin and jaw.

Eye muscles: It’s not the vision that is most important in determining posture, but rather the function of the eye muscles — specifically the ability of both eyes to converge toward the bridge of the nose equally and simultaneously (crossing your eyes). If the eyes can’t do that, there is a problem. You see, all muscles give the brain information about where they are in space and the position of the limb to which they are attached. For example the biceps muscle gives information about the position of the elbow and the shoulder as it crosses both of those joints. The eye muscles therefore are designed tell the body where the head is in space. So far so good? The same nerves that connect the eyes to the brain also connect the neck muscles to the brain. As the eyes go, so goes the neck. So, if the eye muscles aren’t functioning properly then neither are the neck muscles. As a result neither the eye muscles or the neck muscles can provide constant and accurate information about the position of the head. This means the body basically doesn’t know where the head is. Which is a problem because the body’s main organizing principle is to keep the eyes level on the horizon. This creates muscular dysfunction and postural shifts that literally go from head to toe as several muscles run the length of the spine, from the head to the sacrum. It’s all connected. Finally, the feet adapt to the descending dysfunction and resend the information. So, we have poor information coming down from the eyes and neck and poor information going up from the feet and a bunch of negative postural shifts in between.

EYES

Posturology is able to drastically improve eye convergence using 3 tools.

1) Magnet worn next to the eye to relax the lateralis muscle, preventing it from pulling the eye laterally. Ideally 24 hours a day 6 days per week.

2) Eye drops to promote better vision and eye muscle function.

3) Eye exercises performed twice a day. (These are exercises that actually can improve your posture. Just 3 minutes a day!)

FEET

Posturology improves the function of the feet with insoles that stimulate the sensory receptors of the skin in the center of the foot. These receptors instantly send this information to the brain which simultaneously reorganizes the body’s trunk and leg muscles. They also directly stimulate the muscles of your foot and ankle creating a more balanced stance.

SKIN

Scars can pull on muscular fascia and inhibit muscle function causing postural shifts. With essential oils we can neutralize the effects of these pathological scars.

JAW

Like the eyes and the neck, the jaw can discharge negatively on the posture as they are all inter-connected via the same nerves. Correcting the eyes and the feet can often have positive effects on the position of the jaw. For more severe occlusion issues we recommend the intervention of a neuromuscular dentist. We also have simple techniques and tools to eliminate clenching, which can have serious negative effects on posture, pain and your gums and teeth.