OK, this is a bit off-topic for this blog, but hey.. maybe it relates to the part about being 60?
For once, I am putting the “fix” at the top of this blog, please watch the video first.
The video was taken by Eric with me and Mary working on the video by way of Skype in Pennsylvania and California:
(Addition in Oct.2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiOdgpCnuHI )
Now, carefully read the instructions written out, and know that the sublety of this so-called stretch may evade you until you begin to find the FIRST place in the calf of each leg that feels just a little tight when you pull up into it, and learn to feel the release of that tension:
1. Walk around a little, get into the way your feet, heels and all feel on the floor, how they are meeting the floor, are the heels pulling up?
2. Find a doorframe with an inch and a half high sill, or put a couple of books in the doorframe.
3. Stand in the doorframe, putting the big toe joints of both big toes (and the rest of your forefoot as it falls evenly) on the sill or a couple of books. Your feet will be at a slight angle because your heels will be lower than your toes. Now, look straight out, not down at your toes.
4. There is tension in your calves. Grabbing the door frame as best as you can on both sides, take your plank body back until there is not a feeling of tension in either calf. (The calf of the leg is the part between the knee and the ankle. Do not try to do the two of the calves of the legs separately unless you are feeling wildly experimental; it won’t work.)
5. Slightly pull up your body with your hands and arms, until you feel a very slight bit of tension in your calves.
5a. Wait until the tension goes away, and repeat the pullup, (without moving yourself up and down or otherwise jangling) slightly pull up with your hands and arms until you feel a very slight bit of tension in your calves. Wait for the release of tension.
Do once more. 3 times pulling up is enough for one time. If you want to repeat again that day, wait a few hours. I did the sets of 3 about 3 times a day when I first was looking for the result which Stark describes.
Walk around a bit, observe your feet and especially your heels, how they contact the ground. Can the heels stay on the ground better, longer, as you walk?
I got this from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Stark-Reality-Stretching-Informed-Activities/dp/0968360718
My son gave me the book and 6 months later, feeling a little guilty because he had asked me what I thought of the innovative ideas in it, I threw it in my suitcase on the way to work at a Japanese music festival.
Two weeks into the festival, still waking up at 3:30 with no English books left and faced with watching the Seattle Mariners as the only thing on TV in English, I began to read Stark’s tidy opus.
I don’t much like his extensive quoting of studies of stretching dead tissue; I don’t think it speaks to the problem at all and of course I had no way of actually looking at the studies.
However, his point that the way we all know of stretching is not the whole story at all is one we all need to know.
This exercise above shows what Stark calls the “sarcomere slide” for the calves and he claimed it would help bunions. I had a bunion brought on by a broken big left toe, and was interested to see if the “sarcomere slide” would help.
There were other reasons why I was interested, too. From one of my early trainings on I and other Rolfers have been frustrated by bunions, they are remarkably long-lived and persistent.
This exercise helps because the bunion is living in the long attachments of muscles and tendons in the calves of the legs.
So, root it out! It took about 2 months of daily doing of this before mine was totally gone. Now I just do the exercise occasionally when I show it to someone, and the bunion is still gone, 5 years later. I believe that the “sarcomeres” can learn and retain.
By the Way, you can use this procedure of “sarcomere slide” anywhere you’d like to have a stretch. Dr. Stark is a podiatrist and his book (which I highly recommend, especially to those in the biz) is oriented to the lower part of the body.
Many thanks to Mary and Eric for figuring the above video out and how to do it with the skype session with me. Mary says to tell you that she created her bunions doing ballroom dancing in high heels, and that the pain in her bunion was gone after 2 days of doing this exercise. It never was a very big bunion, and it mostly is gone now.