When I started this blog over two years ago I was fairly optimistic that the future would contain a better balance of my work with my passions, and that I would begin again to really move forward with my somatic explorations.

Kind of ironic that I’ve been working 7 days for most of the last two months.

One of the things I’ve been wanting to explore for years are my flat feet.  Towards the end of last year, I started to experience what I believe are osteo-arthritic changes resulting from the structural collapse.  This spurred me to commit some time into working on this problem, and I developed a fairly effective exercise protocol as a result.  Which I worked with for a relatively short time, and am now neglecting in favour of my work.  :-S

Anyway, recently someone emailed me asing about progress, and that spurred me to at least write up some of the exercises I’ve been using & have found to be fairly effective.  Hopefully they’re of use to someone else beyond me.

Foundational exercise 1 – Figure-8

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes pointing straight ahead
  • Close your eyes & concentrate on your feet & their contact on the ground
  • Basic exercise (repeat)
    • Transfer weight into one heel
    • Roll weight around the outside of your foot towards the pad of the little toe, then onwards to the pad of the big toe
    • Transfer weight into the other heel
    • Roll weight around the outside of your foot towards the pad of the little toe, then onwards to the pad of the big toe
  • This exercise is a simplified version of walking.  As you’re doing it notice if it’s easy for you, or if there are elements that you struggle with.  Is one foot more flexible than the other?
  • Repetition of this exercise seems to loosen the joints, muscles & fascia of the feet & seems to begin to re-establish a more natural neurological control (i.e. the foot begins to adopt an arch)

Before you move onto the further exercises you should notice whether you tend to stand with your toes engaged & weight a little forward on your feet.  If you do, then the following exercises are probably not for you.

Foundational exercise 2

While standing in a stationary position, pay attention to your feet & transfer your weight forward so that the toes are engaged.  After a period of doing this exercise (20-30s), the muscles of the foot tend to become engaged in the support of the arch.  The rest of the body might also adapt to this new position.  Holding the position for a period of time leads to strengthening of the muscles which have been disengaged (inhibited) & are now weakened.

The foundational exercises should be done regularly for a period of time until the figure-8 feels reasonably natural, and the feeling of the arch being engaged is starting to feel “right”.  The advanced exercises can then be adopted in addition to the foundational exercises.

Advanced exercise 1

  • Concentrate on the figure-8 while walking, with a particular emphasis on pushing off with your big toe.
  • Can be done once the figure-8 feels relatively natural.

Advanced exercise 2

Following on from the first two foundational exercises, this is an exercise which strengthens the muscles which support the arch during walking.  It essentially involves first engaging the arch (in the position which feels right), then transferring weight into the heels, and forward into the toes (lifting the heels off the ground), then repeating.  It is critical for the success of this exercise that the arch is engaged.  What we’re doing here is repatterning movement as well as developing muscular strength & engagement.  We don’t want to develop incorrect movement patterns.  Repeat until the muscles start to become fatigued.

Can massage help people with Parkinson’s disease

I’ve just been reading a disappointing article on the response of the UN to the massive atrocity committed by Israel earlier this year.

While the response of the main-stream media to this issue did not surprise me given the clear biases that the media consistently present, I have until today had some hope that the UN could at least promote the kind of impartial benevolent governance that it claims to represent.  Unfortunately it seems that in the current political context, two of the countries who most frequently commit illegal war crimes (under international law) – Israel & the US – are able to pull the UN’s strings to prevent any attempt to hold them accountable for their actions.  And sadly, in these circumstances, who can?

An article in the national business review states…

“Prime Minister John Key has announced the government will throw out the controversial Section 92A of the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act and start again.”

Thanks to Mark Harris for the good news.  🙂

Here’s a list of great music that I’ve come across over the years which I think is suitable to play during a massage session.  Some of the music will be more suited to particular styles of massage (e.g. sports vs. deep relaxation), and of course some will be more suited to particular clients or therapists.

All of this music has been released under creative commons licenses.  This means that you can download & use it legally (although some items are not able to be remixed legally – check the individual licenses).

Massage mixes

Ambient music



That should get you started.  Clearly this is just some stuff that I like.  There is a real wealth of good music out there on the net if you want to go looking for it.  Searching using “netlabel” combined with the type of music that you want to find will get you started, but I would strongly suggest the use of a feed-reader if you’re really into your music

Please leave some comments to let other people know what you like.

I’ve just come back from Green day – a weekend of summer solstice celebration and sustainability workshops.  Wonderful weekend, wonderful people.

On the Saturday night there was a dance party, and I played some music for it.  Here are some links to the recorded music.  All music here is licensed under creative commons licenses.  I’ve needed to edit out some tracks which were not licensed in this way, because I’m not comfortable publishing them for reasons I’ve talked about previously.

Slow Build – Set 1

Ayiana McQuillan – Lala kaku bi
Ocralab – Alea (souldub mix)
Paul Keeley – Ohcen
Florian Kunze – In time
Daniel Gardener – Under the shower tower (Alland Byallo mix)
Breitbandkeiter – More

Mando Mango – Jazzy
was  a real favorite, and is a creative commons licensed track

Techhouse – Set 2

Laptop acid experience – All the right moves (303 mix)
Lukas Lehmann & LudwigCoenen – Parkverbot
Ture Sventon – Morker (Jeff Bennett remix)
Le Jockey – Fun time frankie

I ended with Professor Kliq’s – Sema, another wonderful creative commons licensed track.  The individual track isn’t available for download for some reason, but you can download the entire album here.

Normally I’d provide links to all of the individual tracks, but I need to get into the packing for our holiday.  You should be able to find any of the above with a quick Google search anyway.


Just taking a 5 minute break to spread the joy. 🙂

The Catching the Waves blog, has just brought to my attention Professor Klik’s Guns Blazing, and what an energetic, funky & meaty beat-filled album it is.  I haven’t really heard anything like this for years – it’s a bit reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, or even Daft punk at times.  Lovin it.

Right, back to work……

I’ve had collapsed arches (pronated feet) for my entire life.  At various stages I’ve been given exercises to help correct the problem which have not really helped.  I’ve also tried working on them myself with varying degrees of success.  The approach that I’ve been taking more recently seems to be really effecting some changes, so I thought that I’d document my process here in the hope that it can help others who suffer from this condition, and those who are interested in working with the flat footed.

I had completely collapsed arches when I was a kid.  Once when I was about 12, the father of one of my best mate’s (who was a physiotherapist) saw me walking with bare feet.  He was so amazed by how flat my feet were that videoed me walking. (I should get that video!)

Around this time I was given orthotic inserts for my shoes and the standard physiotherapy exercises at the time – putting a towel under my feet & pulling it towards me with my toes (strengthening the toe flexors which support the medial arch), and standing on a balance board (to activate and strengthen the muscles which laterally support the ankle).  I was not particularly motivated to do these exercises.  From memory
I think I did them for a week or two fairly regularly, and then tapered off after this.  So I guess it’s not really any surprise that no real progress was made with my feet.

The first real improvement happened spontaneously.  In 1999, while studying massage therapy in Auckland, I got into the habit of going to tai-chi classes weekly and practicing regularly.  One week during one of my tai-chi classes I felt what seemed like warmth flowing into my foot.  I became more aware of my right leg and my foot, and the structure of the foot spontaneously corrected.  Since this time my right arch has been fairly stable.  Although it remains slightly less upright than ideal, it is a long way from
where it started.

According to Chinese medical theory, chi is associated with
both awareness and healthy functioning.  Feelings of warmth
are commonly associated with movement of chi.

My left foot has never really corrected.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years working on with limited results.

Interestingly enough I recently noticed that I have less awareness of the left side of my body than in my right.  If I concentrate on how my body feels, I can more easily feel the sensations associated with my right shoulder (or insert other body part here), and I am also more aware of the positioning of body structures relative to others (e.g. my shoulder-blade with relation to my chest/neck).

I’m also aware that I have what feels to me like an energy block in the area of my left hip.  This area feels thick & sluggish to me, and below this point I have less sensory awareness of my leg.  I feel less connected to my leg than to other parts of my body if that makes any sense.  Interestingly I have noticed that sometimes following particular kinds of bodywork which focus on this area, my kinesthetic sense of my left leg has been markedly improved when I’ve gotten up from the table.

I said before that my left foot has never really corrected.  This is not exactly true.  Over the last two years I have been working with a series of somatic exercises which I’ve developed from my understanding of anatomy, kinesiology, and tai-chi as well as my own kinesthetic sense of my body.  I have noticed particularly in the last couple of months some real changes which I hope will continue.

I will talk more about these in future blog posts.

Medialens, have just published another insightful commentary on the role of the media in political propaganda.

Obama’s election has been trumpted through the media as a sign of change.  His political campaign pushed this idea, as illustrated by his campaign website – change.gov.  However he has kept his policies very close to his chest, and what comments he has made seem to be largely in-line with the policies of the current and historic American governments.

As independent candidate Ralph Nader put it in a letter to Obama

“Far more than Senator McCain, you have received enormous, unprecedented contributions from corporate interests, Wall Street interests and, most interestingly, big corporate law firm attorneys… Why, apart from your unconditional vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, are these large corporate interests investing so much in Senator Obama? Could it be that in your state Senate record, your U.S. Senate record and your presidential campaign record (favoring nuclear power, coal plants, offshore oil drilling, corporate subsidies including the 1872 Mining Act and avoiding any comprehensive program to crack down on the corporate crime wave and the bloated, wasteful military budget, for example) you have shown that you are their man?” (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10809)

I’ve been playing around with Audacity & the girls, and we’ve recorded a couple of tracks. 🙂

Here’s Shamani McQuillan’s first release – You’ve been lost.
The underlying music is O-P-Q-A by Crisopa, off his Bisagra album.
Release under the creative commons share alike license.

I had intended to put Ana’s Fairy Dance up here as well, but I need to confirm a copyright issue first.