Anvil or Hammer

Z-Health Session 1: Review

Posted in Uncategorized by Mike on June 10, 2008

Yesterday I had my Z-Health appointment. I went into the appointment skeptical.

Mike met me my apartment. He’s an outgoing guy, not particularly large but obviously compact. He competed in the strongman contest I had to drop out of. Given the weather we’ve had lately, I think I got really lucky.

He ran me through a long serious of questions. Questions about training, injuries, lifestyle. He was interested in some things that seem odd but had an explanations. He wanted to know about dental work and old injuries, ones that I have nearly forgotten. This is because, as I understand it, z-health operates off the theory that when you have damage to the body, especially damage that does not heal 100% naturally on is own, the believe, the body perceives the scars, dental work or implants as a foreign threat and may still respond negatively to them.

Then Mike ran me through what I will call the parlor tricks of z-health. Now, I’m sure z-health trainers wouldn’t like me calling them that but it’s kind of how I view them. He showed me video of a client who had an injuried shoulder. You see the client struggle with a moderate weight dumbell. Then he told me he did some z-health stuff on the guy and showed me a second video of the guy blasting through the weight. Even the guy looks surprised. I didn’t think Mike was lying or anything, I’m just skeptical and I think perception and the brain are powerful and deceptive tools.

Parlor trick 2 was to have me lay on the ground, Mike placed his hands on the outside of my right leg, then asked me to resist him pressing my leg back to the start position. He easily overpowered my leg. Then he did a little manipulation on my foot and we repeated. I felt stronger but again, I’m a skeptic. We went through the maneuver several times, he alternated between doing the z-health move to strengthen or weaken me. It felt real but I’m a skeptic. I was getting a more positive feeling about this z-health thing but so far I viewed it as just tricks.

Now the real session began. Mike videoed me walking, repeatedly and each time he seemed to gather a little information about what he needed to do next. For the first major portion of the session, he ran me through a full body workover. In z-health this meant doing specific movements with each joint. There were enough of them I couldn’t remember them all if I had to. Some of them reminded me of stretches we all do naturally when we are waking or warming up, not the kind that you are taught to do by coaches but the kind you would see anyone do naturally. Some of the other movements seems to have no real purpose but Mike had specific goals for them and seemed to know what he was doing.

He kept recording me walking. I had to admit I felt looser and lighter as we went on. Still the skeptic, I figured it was just because this was the most thorough movement program I have had in a while. Then Mike came back to a challenge I had offered him. This was about 45 minutes to an hour into the program and I had assumed he had forgotten about it or was trying to not go down that road.

In email I had offered Mike a challenge by which I promised he could impress me. Since before I started getting treatment, I have been unable to cross my left leg onto my right to put my shoe on (placing the foot on the opposite knee). It’s literally been months and it really has not gotten any better with therapy. I told Mike that if he could return that range of motion, I would be impressed.

So he asked that I show him this movement that I couldn’t do. I was able to comfortable go further than I had efore but the top of my foot was still a good four inches from the top of my knee. I told him it was better and he replied that it wasn’t good enough. So we went into about 20 minutes of work that focused intensively on this particular motion. Each time showed more progress. I got to the point that I could momentarily place my foot on my knee. I was ready to call that good. He did a few more movements and sure enough, I could place my foot on my knee. As I had said I would be, I was very impressed.

Having spent over an our with me and having convinced me that Z-health has a place in a legitimate recovery maintenance program Mike went about setting up a program for me. He came up with a few exercises but rather than throw me some exercise names I wouldn’t be able to replicate, he emailed me two pages of detailed text that contained my exercises.

Before I wrap up, I want to mention that the good feeling and calmed sciatic nerve didn’t end when the session ended. As the evening went on I continued to feel relaxed, pain and nerve issue free. We ran some errands, drove around, took the long way home and I enjoyed it. I have to say that after my PT session today, I almost felt like a some of that had comfort and calm had left me. I used Mike’s Z-health to bring it back. The traction is important but seems to stress my body too. The two together are almost certainly more potent than either by itself.

As I said earlier, I was skeptical going into this session. The claims of Z-Health are pretty fantastic at times. I think most of those claims are from the parlor tricks of Z-Health which look cool but can easily be over stated or misunderstood. I do believe that, based on my session yesterday, that there is a place in anyone’s recovery program for Z-health. I also think that Z-health can do a lot to help with those little nagging owwies we all get.

I do believe that real injuries: tears, ruptures, sprains, breaks and herniations, do need medical treatment. Mike would not have been able to do his job three weeks ago. I would not have been able to participate in the session in the necessary ways because of the pain then. I’m glad that I got a proper diagnosis, it allows me to know my limitations as I progress back to normalcy and that is the most important thing. But, I see Z-health staying with me as I continue to rehab my body.

So, yeah, there is something to z-health. I would encourage any “healthy” trainee to look into it. I would also recommend that anyone give z-health their consideration as they rehab any future injuries, after they get to a point that any pain or real physical limitations are manageable on a daily basis.