A collective path towards health!
1:26 pm

The ABC’s of the Human Wellness and Vitality

In 1994 as a struggling junior Aeronautics major at Dowling College, I got a job as a Direct Care Counselor in a residential setting in NY. While I was there working with teenagers with autism, I received training in Applied Behavior Analysis, (ABA) a type of behavioral modification which uses positive reinforcement and other ideas developed by the late behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner.

In ABA the A,b, and c were short for Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence. Due to my ABA training, I applied to a school built for research for Columbia University’s Teachers College. We used ABA in this setting to help modify behavior of toddlers and preschool aged children with autism.

Simply put, if you give a command (antecedent) and the child elicits a desirable behavior, you reinforce the behavior using positive social cues or at times something tangible the child really wanted, like a cookie, which is the Consequence. Our work was predicated on finding the function of the behavior. All behavior is functional. We trained the behaviors we wanted, and did our best to replace the maladaptive behaviors with more desirable behaviors. Results could be seen in speech, physical movement, cognitive ability and social interactions.  I saw consistent change in all the students I worked with, and miraculous changes in some. Due to the individual nature of the education we provided, we were led to find exactly what would work with each student.

In my private massage practice and bodywork I see similar issues with the structure and function of the Human Body. All of our habits are functional, and adaptive to outside influences or internal health. Some of these habits are desirable, others aren’t.

Using the ABA lens to peer within the mechanical structure of the body, if we sprain an ankle (antecedent) and we attempt to walk on that ankle (behavior) we immediately recoil from pain (reinforcement). So we adapt our posture and gait due to conditions (A) and walk (B) we feel less pain (C).
Taking this point further is to see this gait as a pattern that's reinforced and made a part of our new walking habit. We reinforce this habit, sometimes for years. This is where I come in.

In a myotherapy session, gait and posture analysis is a way of seeing your body’s histories of reinforcement. Through this analysis, we can see how you have changed a smooth easy gait into one that is less desirable, less efficient and often leads to major problems that need surgical repair. Once we see what is moving well and what isn’t, we can use manual therapy to both interfere with the pattern as well as correct and balance the pattern with precision. Within each session we give body tissue specific pressure as an antecedent. The brain picks up on this pressure as a signal (the behavior) and eventually, the tissue changes (consequence), either by releasing or tightening (at times tissue needs to be “awoken”). If this placement and pressure doesn't change the tissue, we adapt until we find a sequence of placement and pressure that leads to desirable state of the tissue as positive reinforcement. Changes can be felt and seen as they happen. This can literally save you and insurance companies tens of thousands of dollars if done before it’s too far gone.

Generally, this balanced state of tissue leads to a healthier lifestyle with increased vitality and longevity. When the body is aligned, it has incredible abilities to self-heal. Western medicine has seen this happen, mostly in the sports and performing arts world where access to the finest Manual Medicine as well as technology has increased performance and longevity for years. Anyone watching the NBA playoffs can see this at work, where LeBron James has capitalized on all that's available for his tissues to recover and work harder than ever. On the other side of this, we also see in Western medicine an incredible use of Opioids that mask the pain, very little to no use of true Manual Medicine, and a gaping hole in finding the root source of pain, which at times may even have an emotional component to them. If you have the financial means, you can have access to the finest care one could buy.  Many M.D.’s have left typical insurance based medicine practices for concierge care which caters to a well-educated clientele that wants precise functional analysis of their issues with planned solutions. 

Creating new behaviors requires more than just one session. It is a commitment on both therapists and clients to determine what is needed, and for how long. We need to be willing to see if our work together is creating the positive changes or when to make changes. We recommend the use of a multidisciplinary approach that includes Manual Medicine, Therapeutic Yoga, Acupuncture, Alexander Technique and various massage and bodywork approaches for best results.

With our help, we can give the antecedent (our work) to elicit a desirable structural balance (behavior) and voilà, you feel a positive change (consequence).

Eli Peltz BS, LMBT
Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

9:38 am

Pelvic Health Class with Eli

Eli demonstrates techniques from his Manual Medicine class focusing on pelvic health. This continuing education course will be held on April 23rd and April 24th. Sunday, 10 am - 6 pm Monday 9 am - 5 pm If you're interested in attending or learning more about our educational offers, check out our Facebook page and official site. Call us at (828)-406-7060 232 Furman Rd, Boone, N.C.

11:40 am

Whiplash by Eli Peltz

At Alchemy, one of the most frequent cause of visits is neck pain. We handle all kinds of chronic neck pain, but the most challenging of them all is when it is caused by whiplash. Whiplash is a rapid acceleration extension injury where the head is forcefully and quickly snapped back and forth. It can start from a rear end or front end collision, typically in motor vehicle accidents. One can also get whiplash from a fall, a sports injury, blast from explosives or being hit in a fight (think rabbit punch, or back of the head blows.)

The issue with Whiplash is that it is typically seen as a neck injury. A good Manual therapist will wisely look at other areas as well, particularly the abdomen area. This is where the rapid acceleration begins. This is where it has quietly (in most cases) caused lesions (slight strains) of the organs in the area, which cause dysfunction all over the body. Treating just the neck and spine isn’t enough. One must treat all of the body to achieve the best results.

The best treatment starts 7-10 days post incident, which allows for the swelling or inflammation, if any, to recede. It is best to get an x-ray or MRI to see the damage, if any, that was done.

At Alchemy, we train our therapists to utilize thorough assessment and treatment strategies that historically, have yielded excellent results in returning people to their pre-injury condition. Everybody is different, but we tend to see positive results immediately, and over 10-15 sessions we are usually able to return people to their MMI (Maximum Medical Improvement.)

What makes this possible is our commitment to excellence and training. Our strategies include:

Gait (walking) and Posture (upright standing position) analysis. This helps us to see the relationship between different parts of your body. We look for compensations while you are walking as well as how you stand from 4-5 different angles. Most people who have whiplash are walking with their head and shoulders very stiff, due to the pain, and are standing with their head forward.
After this analysis we begin our sessions with tissue assessment and treatment. Having an eye for assessment can make all the difference between a massage and a Manual Medicine treatment. In a typical session we would assess and treat:

The 3 distinct layers to the neck, each of them are addressed individually.
The cranium, or skull, using soft tissue techniques designed to check the sutures of the skull. These techniques are being used in a study of former NFL players who have had a history of concussions. They are gentle and highly effective with generally no side effects.
The upper rib cage, where your front neck muscles connect. This is often a neglected area that is an area of trauma during a whiplash event.
The abdomen, where the organs are treated using gentle therapies as well.
Upper, mid and lower back. We test and look for muscles that are either overstretched, or over-contracted.
This is an area of distinction where relationships between areas matter. The neck area for example has front muscles that typically are shortened while the back of the neck muscles are too long. The relationship is addressed together, which immediately changes the posture of the individual.

There are other factors when planning a session, especially if the accident is recent. Was the person aware that the impact was coming? Was their head turned, even slightly, to look at the oncoming collision from the rear?

Not all accidents lead to whiplash, but the following list of symptoms (which you can also find on Web MD at http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-management-whiplash) are helpful if you have been in an event that hurt your neck:

·         Neck pain and stiffness

·         Worsening of pain with neck movement

·         Loss of range of motion in the neck

·         Headaches, most often starting at the base of the skull

·         Tenderness or pain in shoulder, upper back or arms

·         Tingling or numbness in the arms

·         Fatigue

·         Dizziness

Some people also experience:

·         Blurred vision

·         Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

·         Sleep disturbances

·         Irritability

·         Difficulty concentrating

·         Memory problems

·         Depression

If you have been in a car accident, it is possible to be covered for Medical Massage and manual therapy. At Alchemy we are set up to walk you through all the paperwork needed to get your treatments covered. It is vital that you get treated as soon as possible to get best results. See your Doctor or Chiropractor to get a referral for manual therapy. We will treat you holistically, focusing on not only your whiplash, but your nervous system as well. Typically people are on high alert following these type of events.

Even if it has been a long time since your injury, we can make progress with chronic pain, even in just a few sessions. While whiplash is one of the more difficult injuries to treat, we are proud to have been able to help so many people, even those who had surgery and were still in pain.

We also recommend combining treatments with Acupuncture and 1:1 Yoga Therapy, also available at Alchemy.

Eli Peltz, BS, LMBT.

A Board Certified massage therapist, Eli continues to learn and grow as a therapist. He is currently undergoing an extensive training in Visceral and Neural-Meningeal manipulation and has trained in Myofascial Release, Structural Integration and a host of other modalities, which he combines to form Manual Medicine. He has practiced massage since 2004 and currently runs a thriving private practice in Boone, NC.


11:45 am

Manual Medicine Class with Eli Peltz

Here are some snippets from our weekend workshop on lower leg manual medicine. Eli instructs the class on proper evaluation and massage techniques. Our next Continuing Education course will be held on April 23rd and focus on pelvic health. If you're interested in attending or learning more about our educational offers, check out our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/alchemyboone/