Friday, June 29, 2007

"Anything Can Cause Anything" one of the tenets of Z-Health.

Within the last couple of days I read on a forum that malfunctions in one joint are usually resultant as mobility/flexibility issues in the joint above.

Sometimes this is true, sometimes it isn't.

Here's the thing: The body is a very complex system and we as humans often feel the need to control our environments so we put things in boxes. We try to put the body in a box: "If this than this..." And while that's true sometimes, it may not be true all the time. The body is it's own universe and just like the universe in which we live, we don't currently know everything and are constantly and daily discovering new things about both.

Here's another Z-Health example which will vividly prove that point:

Client: Super-athletic female with high work capacity and less than 18% bodyfat (she has a well-defined six-pack) pulled/strained left quad playing tennis.

What would the "normal" protocols be?

Ice, stretching, massage, self-myofascial release, JM for the ankle and hip, etc.

What was the real problem?

She tore a callous on her right hand performing KB snatches and then went and played tennis afterward. Result? Limited mobility in her right hand and wrist leading to elbow, shoulder, and thoracic spine immobility.


It's not always as simple as "left quad pull: stretch L quad, mobilize L foot, L ankle, and L hip." How do I know? Because I tried that (with the exception of stretching). Although it provided some relief it didn't fix the problem.

Here's the thing about Z-Health: It's a complete system that focuses on making changes by directly targeting the CNS. The vehicle for change is joint mobility, first isolated (R-Phase) then integrated (I-Phase and beyond). Within that system is a rationale and explanation of how and why the body works and what cues and signals to look for from the body to help it decrease its pain and improve its performance. It's not a joint mobility program. It's a performance program. It's not a step-wise cookie-cutter program. It's a complete system that offers an explanation for the things we see as fitness professionals every day but aren't quite sure how to interpret those things. For most of us involved with the program, Z-Health confirms our intuition--the things we know we're seeing but either ignore because someone with more letters after his name (but less experience) tells us should work, but doesn't.

The Z-Health experience is like the movie, The Matrix. Once you're inside, the rest of the fitness world is like the Matrix itself to you and Dr. Cobb is like Morpheus--he'll show you how the body really works but won't promise you'll like it. (Sorry EC.) The info is yours to do with what you like. Z reveals the true physiological world and the mechanisms that make that world exist. The problem is, you can't see this until you actually step inside.

And as for me, one of my close friend says he'll believe that Z works if it allows me to load my body to a pre-Z levels and beyond--in other words, if I'm back to routinely squatting in the high 300s to mid 400s and snatching mid 200s and cleaning low to mid 300s. I've always really thought, OK, I'll show him. My response should have been, if what you're doing is so good, how come you're not further along in correcting your injuries? And how come the methods you are currently using, I've used on myself (and others in the past), but I still broke? (By the way, my MRI reveals true mechanical defects with my quad tendon and my patella--structural issues that only surgery will probably fix.) So far, I've squatted 396 with no problem, power snatched from "the hang" 242lbs, and power cleaned 308lbs and 286lbs from the hang. Those aren't great numbers for sure, but they're better than I could've done 18 months ago when ALL I could do were KBs.

Admittedly, the knowledge that "anything can cause anything" isn't exactly the answer we'd like because it doesn't fit in our box.

It is liberating though.

I no longer have to expect a certain result--I can just let the body tell me what's going on. This means nothing ever really "goes wrong," especially when evaluating a client or myself. I just have to have studied enough to interpret the answer and be willing to say, "I don't know, I need to study more" when I don't know the "answer."

Ultimately though, anything can still cause anything no matter how much I study. There's a certain comfort in knowing I'll never truly know...


Blogger Mike T Nelson said...

I know I felt like I took the blue pill (or was it the red pill) after the first weekend of R Phase last year.
Mike N

11:58 AM  

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