TBM, Total Body Modification, AK, Applied Kinesiology, BSA, body specific analysis, body computer, energetic medicine,

Talking to the Body

Talking to the Body

I once read that the best sermons are those that God first works out in the life of the preacher. The thought resonates with me because so many of the resources I draw upon to help individuals restore and maintain their health were acquired through personal necessity. They were added to my armamentarium because I was facing a health challenge that failed to respond to measures with which I was already familiar.

Such was the case with a technique called TBM – Total Body Modification. Early in 2008 I developed a painful right sacroiliac joint. The cause was not obvious. I suspected I had twisted it while lifting something or carrying a grandchild, but I could not point to a specific event that had triggered the condition. Nutritional supports to help the body clear inflammation failed to resolve the pain. Energy appliances directed to the joint gave minimal relief. The joint felt as though it needed to pop, so I visited a chiropractor friend who is normally able to fix skeletal issues with a simple adjustment. This time his attempt to correct the condition only worsened the pain.

By avoiding lifting I could keep the pain at a level I could live with. Nevertheless, it was clear that something was wrong. In March Rosalie and I drove 14 hours to Atlanta. We were there for only two days before driving 14 hours back to Oklahoma. Two days after we returned home we drove ten hours to Austin, Texas. The hours of riding in a car had a profoundly detrimental effect. By the time I arrived in Austin I could not stand upright because of the pain.

I managed to get through the weekend. On our return trip we stopped in Dallas to pick up some items from one of our suppliers, Fred Van Liew. Fred saw my bent posture and said “come here”. He touched a few points on my body and tested my muscle response. He tapped out a sequence along my spine, but never touched the troubled sacroiliac joint. Immediately the pain was gone and I was able to stand and walk normally. The pain has never returned.

I was amazed. It was clear that Fred knew something about assisting the body’s healing mechanisms that I did not. It was also clear that I needed to learn the technique.

In August I returned to Dallas to learn TBM. As I began to integrate it into my practice it quickly became clear that I had discovered another key to the wellness puzzle. People have reported more immediate and lasting results from the technique than any other single strategy I have employed to help them restore their health.

A woman who had been feeling tired for two years despite an excellent nutritional regimen called the day after her visit to report that she felt great. Individuals with a history of severe food allergies have been able to return to a normal diet. Others have been able to reduce the amount medication they had been taking for arthritis pain.

A mother brought in a six year old girl who was crying loudly. She could not tell me what had happened, but she could not move her right knee. Within seconds of tapping the appropriate spot she stopped crying, jumped up, and began playing.

Those are but a few examples. I know there will always be exceptions, but the overwhelming majority of people who allow me to run the basic TBM test sequence and correct weaknesses as they are found are amazed by how much better they feel at the end of the office visit.

The theory behind TBM is quite simple. Computer programmers use languages that allow them to communicate with machines. This allows them to create effective operating systems and an infinite variety of applications on which the machines may be put to work. TBM was developed as a way of communicating with the body’s computer system. It is a programming language of the body.

Once a computer program has been written it should continue to perform the functions for which it was designed. Unfortunately, program files can be damaged, causing the application to operate ineffectively or not at all. Almost everyone who has ever used a computer has experienced the frustration of being unable to access a document or open an application because the file has been corrupted. The most common causes of corruption are said to be bad sectors on storage media, lost clusters, cross-linked files, malfunctioning antivirus software, viruses, and system crashes.

Most of the functions of our bodies are being directed by a central computer rather than by conscious effort. As I am writing this article I am contemplating the words I will put down on the page; I am not thinking about the many processes that must operate to keep me alive and functioning properly. I am not telling my heart to beat at a specific rate moment by moment. I am not orchestrating the interaction of the many hormones necessary to maintain a stable blood sugar level. I am not dictating what my blood pressure should be or how my blood is being filtered by my kidneys. I am not directing the activities of my immune system nor am I consciously supporting my body’s energy needs.

The human body has been programmed to effectively repair itself and maintain optimum health. Unfortunately, just as programs written for machines can become corrupted, so can the programs that manage body processes. Unlike machine programs that generally become completely inoperative when files are damaged, human programs typically continue to operate to varying degrees.

It may not be readily apparent that a particular body program has been corrupted, but the fact that it is not performing optimally will severely compromise the body’s ability to maintain itself. Over time, symptoms of disease will appear. Addressing symptoms when they arise may bring temporary relief, but true healing will not take place unless the damaged program is repaired.

TBM is a system that identifies defective programs within the body and effectively restores their normal function.

In researching this article I discovered that there are thousands of programming languages for interacting with man-made computers. This does not mean that one is right and the others wrong. Someone who is fluent in a particular programming language is able to produce results using it. Results will vary depending upon the sophistication of the language being used and the skill of the person using it.

It is therefore not surprising that a number of systems capable of interacting with the body’s central computer have emerged. While most of them were developed in the latter half of the twentieth century, their roots date back to the mapping of the meridian system of energy flow in China over 5,000 years ago. Body programming languages may be as simple as applying pressure to a few acupuncture points or they may involve checking dozens of body points and using sequential maneuvers to correct errors that are detected.

There are many ways the body’s computer programs can be damaged. Just as software viruses or power surges can disrupt the smooth operation of programs on a personal computer, viral infections and other physical or emotional stressors can cause glitches in the programs that are designed to keep the systems of the body functioning at peak efficiency. Consequently, directing the body to restore those programs to their original state will have as great an impact on the activity of the body as repairing a defective program will have in the operation of a man-made computer.

Total Body Modification and similar techniques use manual muscle testing to communicate with the body. Although some who have not bothered to research the technique suggest that it is some sort of parlor trick being played on gullible subjects, the mechanism of manual muscle testing is closely related to a test most physicians perform in their offices every day.

I have been doing physical examinations for nearly forty years. The aspect of a routine examination that is most intriguing to the person being examined and any family members who may be present is the elicitation of deep tendon reflexes – the knee jerk for example. Children are particularly amazed when their arm or leg jumps without any conscious effort on their part.

Some suggest that I am a magician.

While a reflex response to a tap just below the kneecap may appear magical, it is not. Several reactions occur instantaneously to cause the limb to move. When the tendon is tapped sharply the muscle to which it is attached is stretched. A nerve carries the message that the muscle is being stretched to the spinal cord where it is linked to an outgoing nerve that carries a signal back down to the muscle telling it to contract. Another nerve simultaneously delivers a message to the muscle on the back of the leg telling it to relax. The result is a muscle twitch that causes the arm or leg to jump. A message is also delivered to the brain, reporting that the tendon has been tapped, but by the time a person can consciously react the knee jerk has already occurred.

It is well-documented that stimulation of the skin can trigger reflexes that affect internal organs. For example, if the body is suddenly immersed in cold water the heart rate immediately increases and there is an uncontrolled inspiratory gasp. This gasp reflex is believed to be the cause of death in many kayaking mishaps.

Talking to the body’s computer system relies upon a muscle reflex that is linked to the body’s autonomic nervous system – the system that automatically controls breathing, heart rate, and other body activities.

The activity of skeletal muscles is mediated by nerve cells that lie in a section of the spinal cord called the anterior horn. Anterior horn nerve cells can be voluntarily activated from the brain, but they are also influenced by information arriving from the skin, joints, tendons, and internal structures of the body.

If all is as it should be muscles are kept in a state of readiness. When a stimulus, like touching a hot stove, appears they react instantly. If the anterior horn cells are receiving information that something is amiss with an organ, however, the muscles are not prepared to react reflexively when stimulated. Muscles that are ready to react are said to be “conditionally facilitated” and those that are not are said to be “conditionally inhibited”.

If a muscle that is facilitated is challenged it will respond by locking up to resist the challenge. If the muscle is inhibited, however, it will not react reflexively and the lock will not occur. Therefore, by manually challenging a muscle and feeling for a reflexive lock it is possible to determine whether it is facilitated or inhibited.

Manual muscle testing was introduced by physical therapists Henry and Florence Kendall in 1949. In 1964 Dr. George Goodheart began testing individual muscles using the techniques described by the Kendalls. He soon discovered that he could restore strength to a weak muscle by simply applying pressure to trigger points within the muscle. He subsequently noted relationships between muscle weakness and disease or weakness of internal organs and found that by correcting the muscle weakness he was often able to trigger improvement in the function of the organ that was linked to that muscle.

Some who studied Goodheart’s work refined and expanded it. Dr. Victor Frank and Dr. C. Harold Havlic worked closely together to develop the system known as TBM. They adopted stringent criteria for determining whether a test and its associated corrective technique were incorporated into the system. Not only did the test results need to be reproducible from practitioner to practitioner, but the corrective procedure had to restore function in 1,000 successive cases or it was abandoned and a more effective solution sought.

Today there are thousands of practitioners who have been trained in various systems of therapeutic touch – languages that talk to the body in much the same way programming languages allow software developers to talk to computers. Restoring the functional activity of body programs is another piece in the wellness puzzle. When the body’s internal processes are functioning effectively and efficiently healing is able to proceed unimpeded. Nutritional supports are utilized more effectively and health challenges resolve more quickly. If you seem to have reached an impasse on your wellness journey you may find it helpful to visit someone who can talk to your body and restore your central computer to its original settings.

Addendum:  Dr. Victor Frank, under whom I originally studied body programming, died in 2010.  Since that time I have been attending trainings given by another brilliant practitioner, Dr. Robin Hyman.  His system is called BSA (Body Specific Analysis).  Dr. Hyman is located in Dallas, Texas.  


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