By John Trent
(As Printed in the RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL)
Got a sore back? Tried surgery, medication, new modalities?
Geoff Gluckman thinks he has the answer. It lies with simple physics and biomechanics.
"It's kind of silly to argue with physics," Gluckman says of his Muscle Balance and Function DevelopmentŪ Development® System. "If you want to argue with anyone about whether it works, argue with Newton."
Gluckman, who was in Reno recently for training and therapy sessions, believes that a person's postural alignment can be improved through a series of sequential exercises targeting certain muscle groups.
Gluckman, who has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified health/fitness instructor of the American College of Sports Medicine, says, "Essentially, the exercises remind each muscle of the function it was designed to perform."
Gluckman's system holds that bodies are a system of levers that work together to create movement. The body's alignment is the "blueprint" of how we should move. To improve body alignment, Gluckman applies a series of yoga-like exercises with the overall goal of returning the body to a neutral center of gravity.
Through an evaluation process, the Muscle Balance and Function DevelopmentŪ Development System claims to reveal muscular imbalances that cause postural misalignment, compensated motion, reduced performance and injury. From the evaluation, an individual program is devised to eliminate or reduce symptoms.
Gluckman's system is all about enhancing a health or fitness professional's ability to better understand how physics can be used in remedying alignment problems the body might have.
"The thing that distinguishes this system is that it teaches the professional to apply exercise in a sequenced projection," Gluckman says. "A lot of times, exercises that are given are wrong because the professional simply doesn't understand the physics behind them."
Although Gluckman still sees personal clients, the emphasis of his San Diego-based company is in 76-hour training sessions of other health and fitness professionals. He says the system sees results within six to eight weeks.
While most Americans are earning a livable wage working eight hours a day at relatively sedentary jobs, they are losing the battle of body alignment, Gluckman believes.
"We began as movement creatures, hunters and gatherers, dependent on motion for survival," he says. "The lifestyle changes from 10,000 years ago to the present day are enormous. We have 'progressed' into the muscular passivity of the super technological age.
"It is any wonder that 80 percent of our population suffers from some kind of musculoskeletal pain? Is it a natural result of aging?"
Instead of breaking the body down into quadrants or segments, Gluckman's system emphasizes three planes of motion for the entire body: the Sagittal Plane (the vertical plane dividing the body into right and left sections); the Frontal Plane (also a vertical plane, dividing the body into front and back sections); and the Transverse Plane (bisects the body at the top of the hip). Through the Yoga-like exercising of the more than 600 muscles contained within this three-dimensional concept, the body is taught to move more fluidly and efficiently, making muscles and tendons less susceptible to restriction and strain, Gluckman says.
"I strongly believe in the body's ability to heal itself," Gluckman says. A lot of times, my personal clients get my explanations more readily than some of the practitioners I train, because my clients live in their bodies every day. Really, it's a process of awakening a person's awareness to themselves."
Gluckman speaks from experience. He was born with his left leg turned inward, and he wore a leg brace until he was 18 months old. He says a key development in overcoming the abnormality occurred while he was still young. His parents encouraged him to partake in physical activities, which helped his leg's flexibility and strength. Gluckman played all sports, from baseball to soccer. Introduced to the martial arts at age 13, Gluckman soon realized the value of teaching himself proper alignment techniques.
"Yoga, martial arts all have had an influence on me," Gluckman says. "You find out through these disciplines that a lot of things can be accomplished by looking inward."
It's no coincidence that Gluckman counsels health and fitness practitioners to keep their clients in the moment.
"You have to get people to leave everything they have (in preconceived notions) outside the door," Gluckman says. "We can't escape the realities of physics."