Real Balance Starts from the Ground Up

Every month I struggle with what to share with you. Not because I don’t have anything to talk about but because I have too much. My strategy is generally to narrow the topic down to a big Aha moment or a significant trend. This month it’s one and the same.

Those of you who work with aging active adults may have noticed there is a heightened attention on postural stability. More and more of my clients are listing “sense of balance” as a concern and part of their wellness challenges. It’s obvious from the buzz that many therapists, health care providers and other wellness professionals are starting to focus on this proficiency as a priority. Vestibular concerns dealing with dizziness and balance retraining therapies are taking center stage. We are even starting to see Physical Therapy Centers add “Balance” to their name.

The big news is that this shift provides an opportunity for us to integrate our skills with these other therapies in order to attain client’s goals of improved balance and stability. Based on my client feedback, I have gathered that other disciplines are not addressing the flexibility of the feet and ankles as much as I do. This is a great opportunity for me to step in (pun intended) with my modalities and establish my impact in an integrated approach. For me this means that many of my treatment sessions have a renewed focus from the ground up. Here is my base protocol that all my other groundwork builds on.

Loosen and Liquefy Foot Protocol

I like to start with a little “Therapeutic Spa” (that’s why it’s called therapeutic) in order to bypass any vigilance. Apply 1 Tablespoon BIOTONE’s Muscle and Joint Relief Creme to both feet. Cover with plastic and place in heated booties. Heat for 15 to 20 minutes.

Foot routine

“Loosen and Liquefy” is how a lot of us describe simple back and forth rhythmic work for the entire length of the feet and ankles. It is universally used by Massage Therapists and Reflexologists alike.

I also take the ankles through the motions of the entire Cursive Alphabet. When I used to work in an Occupational Therapy clinic, this was successful homework assignment for the patients. Thank You Theresa Hebert OT extraordinaire for sharing that and so many other things with me.

Follow this with addressing the loosening of all three arches, toes and the diaphoretic line of the plantar side. Wring, twist, rock, and roll everything you can, pain free.

Address the cause of any deviations such as calf restrictions, shin splits, and common eversion/ inversion patterns.

Finish with a refreshing and quickly absorbing massage medium. I like Polar Lotion.

I’m not being very technical here because I do not want you to get bogged down on how well you know your kinesiology. Instead, I want you to slow down your work. Sink in and really feel what is going on in these tissues. My mantra for this is a quote from Dr. Ida P. Rolf “Healing is the intuitive art of wooing nature.” I have been practicing a long time and I am still rewarded when clients become reconnected and grounded from this work. It’s mindful and meditative in a way that I don’t always get to enjoy.

In the short span of time since I have been following this trend I have noticed an increase in referrals from a couple of Physical Therapists that I have never contacted. These referrals are a direct result of feedback from shared clients. Evidence is in the results right?

Be well, Do good work, and write us about how important you think groundwork is.