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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.

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