The Thinking Practitioner Podcast

w/ Til LuchauWhitney Lowe

Episode 26: Zoga: Movement for Manual Therapists, with Wojtek Cackowski

Nov 11, 2020 | Transcript | Subscribe | Comments | ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

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Show Notes:

26: Til Luchau talks with Polish physical therapist, Anatomy Trains teacher, and manual therapist Wojtek Cackowski about his innovative Zoga Movement method, and how it can help manual therapists not only with their clients, but with their own embodiment and self care.

Episode topics include: 

  • Fascial shearing and gliding, vs fascial “stretching”
  • What is Zoga? How does it relate to manual therapy and massage?
  • Til and Wojtek’s collaborative online courses combining Zoga and Advanced Myofascial Techniques

Resources and references discussed in this episode: 

Sponsor Offers:

Your Hosts:

Til Luchau Advanced-Trainings        whitney lowe
Til Luchau                          Whitney Lowe

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Your Hosts:

Til Luchau Advanced-Trainings
Til Luchau

whitney lowe
Whitney Lowe

Thanks for listening and subscribing to the podcast! Make sure to connect with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to stay updated on all of the latest! Show your support for the show by leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts!

(The Thinking Practitioner Podcast is intended for professional practitioners of manual and movement therapies: bodywork, massage therapy, structural integration, chiropractic, myofascial and myotherapy, orthopedic, sports massage, physical therapy, osteopathy, yoga, strength and conditioning, and similar professions. It is not medical or treatment advice.)

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The Thinking Practitioner Podcast:
Episode 26: Zoga: Movement for Manual Therapists, with Wojtek Cackowski

Broadcast date: 11/11/2020
©Copyright The Thinking Practitioner Podcast, Til Luchau & Whitney Lowe

Whitney Lowe:

Welcome to the Thinking Practitioner Podcast.

Til Luchau:

A podcast where we dig into the fascinating issues, conditions and quandaries in the massage and manual therapy world today.

Whitney Lowe:

I'm Whitney Lowe.

Til Luchau:

And I'm Til Luchau. Welcome to the Thinking Practitioner.

Whitney Lowe:

Welcome to the Thinking Practitioner.

Til Luchau:

Hi, this is Til Luchau ABMP is proud to sponsor the Thinking Practitioner Podcast. All massage therapists and bodyworkers can access free ABMP resources and information on the coronavirus and the massage profession at abmp.com/covid19.

Til Luchau:

Including sample release forums, PPE guides, and a special issue of massage and bodywork magazine, where Whitney Lowe and I, are frequent contributors. For more check out the ABMP podcast available at abmp.com/podcasts, or wherever you prefer to listen.

Til Luchau:

My guest today is Wojtek Cackowski. Wojtek, you and I have been doing an interesting online project where you've been reinterpreting our Advanced Myofascial Techniques, manual therapy techniques as movement classes using your own Zoga Movement form.

Til Luchau:

And Wojtek, you have a unique history and perspective, and I thought it'd be fun to talk to you about that. I thought people might enjoy hearing about it. Welcome Wojtek, thanks for joining us today.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Hello everyone. Thank you too for inviting me, and I'm really looking forward to this discussion.

Til Luchau:

You're talking to me all the way from Poland. Thanks for making the time today. You're a physical therapist, a manual therapist. You've been a director of a couple of medical spas and clinics that feature interesting manual therapy programs.

Til Luchau:

You've been a faculty, in Tom Myers' Anatomy Trains programs, and you ran the Polish Anatomy Trains school, where you sponsored our Advanced Myofascial Techniques programs. And then you've also developed a movement form from your manual therapy background. What did I leave out? What else would you like our listeners to know about you?

Wojtek Cackowski:

The only thing about Zoga that I would add is that it is a combination of movement and manual interventions. It's a blend of these two worlds where I'm trying to connect both of interventions through movement and through touch, and combining these two in helping people to find a new options for movement, new sense of balance, new sense of mutual, and finding more easy way of moving gravity.

Til Luchau:

You and I have known each other for some time have collaborated in various ways, but I've actually haven't had a chance to dive into some of your background, some of the key say, questions or queries that have motivated you to get into this work or even to do the work you've done.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I think the initial idea and initial questions that I had in my bodywork journey was my own body. I was trying to find solutions for myself. I had the 30 degree scoliosis in my body, which after being 20 few years old, started to be painful, started feeling a discomfort to live in that kind of a body.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So I was trying to find answers for myself, how can I help my body to feel better and get rid of pain and being able to enjoy life with my body rather than worrying about the next day, what it's going to bring, what kind of new discomfort or pain I'm going to feel? That was my initial questions, how I can treat myself.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And this question has led me into questions of how I can improve the work that I do with my clients and, how I can also give them tools to become more independent, to become more active in holding the results that we are achieving together in bodywork sessions, and to deepen them through movement and through the self-exploration practices. That'll be my initial [crosstalk 00:04:37].

Til Luchau:

Well, those are good. That's a really relevant questions for bodywork and manual therapy in general, as we learn more about the science or the mechanisms behind what we do. It turns out that the client's ability to live those things is just as important as anything we do on the table, if not more important.

Til Luchau:

And then they're also really relevant issues for our time, where more and more of us are experimenting with ways to work remotely, or a guide clients to take care of themselves and with self-care, even for ourselves as therapists is so important.

Til Luchau:

So, your inspiration was your own history of scoliosis and that becoming painful for you. And then you dove into manual therapy, and physical therapy, which of those came first? Did you train first as a physical therapist or as a manual therapist?

Wojtek Cackowski:

My first initial education was in medical college. I started physical education college. During that time I also did a part-time university in sport education, sport sciences. But after I finished those two schools, I came back to the idea of going to university and training physical therapy again.

Wojtek Cackowski:

First I finished a medical college in physiotherapy, and then I just went to medical university again for a physiotherapy. After I graduated that university, I started to search for more answers and some kind of paths for me to continue my education.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I knew that finishing university is just the beginning of learning and beginning of my journey as a therapist. So I was trying to find teachers who can lead me into a deeper understanding of the body, and the deeper understanding of how I can help people and how I can treat my body again.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So I was a little selfish from the beginning where I be focusing on my own problems first. So, I started as a physio.

Til Luchau:

You started as a physio, and then how did you get into say structural integration or the manual therapy?

Wojtek Cackowski:

First I'm going to come back a little bit when I was a physiotherapist, I tried to different movement methods and different sports during my lifetime. I was trying to find two different kinds of movement that are going to benefit my body.

Wojtek Cackowski:

In around 2004, maybe 2005, I started to practice yoga, and yoga was a very interesting journey for me because as a physiotherapist, I was starting to learn anatomy, biomechanics, joint movements, mechanics, muscles, and all of that information had been already in my head and I was trying to think about movement from biomechanical and anatomical perspective.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And when I found yoga, I started to, Iyengar yoga which is very precise in asana, it's very precise, how your foot should stand, what kind of rotation you should have in your femur, and how you should turn your pelvis et cetera.

Til Luchau:

Iyengar yoga.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And it was very attractive for me as a physio because I started to see why this foot position actually makes sense, to keep it in this asana and why turning the knee that way, what kind of effects it had been creating in the biomechanics.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So that kind of yoga started to be a great combination for me. I was trying to do the movement, understand it from joint-by-joint, understand it why I do those movements, and also starting to think what this asana, what this movement can change in architecture of my body, biomechanics of my body.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So I think to be fair, the yoga practice and the yoga journey was first, and then when I graduated in physiotherapy, I will say, first I learned massage and I started to learn different manual techniques like joint mobilizations, muscle energy techniques, trigger points, all of that repertoire that is available in physiotherapy.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And in 2008, I came across Anatomy Trains and Tom Myers on one of the courses that I took in physiotherapy. It was a kinesiotaping course, I was attending that course and a teacher during his lecture starting to show some of the slides from Anatomy Trains book with different yoga asanas and their influence of tensioning whole myofascial changes in the body.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And when I saw that slides in the class, I had my eureka moment, because in that time I was writing my thesis in physiotherapy university and the subject was how yoga can prevent lower back pain. So when I saw that slides, it was like, "Yes, finding the things that I was trying to understand in my body, why this foot positioning can influence my hip and my shoulder and neck.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And that there is actually a concept that lays the map on the body that can help you to understand why this kind of relationships can occur the body." That was a really breakthrough for me because when I am bought that book, and then when I started to learn more about this, I just decided, "Yes, this is the pathway that I want to take."

Wojtek Cackowski:

And I signed up for a training in the UK and I just went with my gut feeling that that's my path. So, I went to England and I did the whole structural integration training in England. And then I graduated in 2010, and that was actually new opening for me because when I came back from that training, my understanding of a body as a system, a closed mechanical system has totally changed the way I was thinking about my body and the body of my clients.

Wojtek Cackowski:

That was the beginning, and then there was of course, another 10 years of exploration, but that was the initial start.

Til Luchau:

And then I think it was maybe 10 years ago, more or less when you first had me come to Poland. And I think for me coming from the U.S. it was a revelation because we know we learned so little about Poland, if you're old enough, you were in the Cold War like me, and so there was almost no information.

Til Luchau:

And then even after the end of communist rule in the '80s, we heard about solidarity, we heard about all this going on, but there's so little known in my world about Poland, that it was a revelation to come and understand that what was happening in your country both culturally and socially and intellectually, but then also in this realm of manual therapists.

Til Luchau:

How unique is what you've done, and where does that fit in the context of how manual therapy is practice in Poland? Give us a picture of that.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Manual therapy in Poland is practiced in majority by physiotherapists. To be a manual therapist, or to be able to call yourself manual therapist in the regulations that are here, most of the time you need to go through medical training before. So, you need to be a physiotherapist, and then you need to go through schools of manual therapy to become a manual therapists.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I was trying to think how I can use movement in combination with manual interventions to support the goals of my manual intervention. So, from this perspective, I think it is a little unique, and it's also unique especially here in Poland because manual therapists are mainly manual therapist and they don't do much movement most of the time.

Wojtek Cackowski:

When I was studying in physiotherapy university, also something that strike me was that my fellow students, when we went to some kind of movement class, they haven't been very flexible, or they haven't been able to use their body in a physiological way. I'm not saying even that I thought they going to have some kind of extreme abilities but, sometimes simple movements have been challenging for them.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And that was something that was really deep in my head, how can we help people to find better movement and to find more efficiency in movement as a physiotherapist, if we do not have that kind of ability ourselves? So, my goal is also to evoke that kind of a need for movement and need of exploration in the movement in the manual therapy is because I think they will be much better in understanding what is the situation of their client and how they can support their journey of finding a better relationship with their body.

Til Luchau:

That's great. I want to get back to a couple of things you've mentioned as we go, but I want to focus for a second on Poland as a context for this where again, it's tricky to characterize cultural differences without falling into stereotypes say, I don't want to do that.

Til Luchau:

But my experience of going to Poland was realizing there's a whole different intellectual tradition here that is very detailed and very precise. And you could say very a cause and effect oriented, with very clear linear causality. And it was difficult for me as a teacher to communicate say larger holistic systemic kind of concepts across that difference initially.

Til Luchau:

Does that make any sense to you? As someone who was there when I was trying to do that, but then also in yourself, because you're working in a systemic way, this just the patterns you're describing are both linear and they're systemic, which is an interesting phenomenon. Tell me about that.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I don't know how to relate that kind of how we are as a society, but definitely people who come to our workshops they like details. Most of them are physiotherapists, they have their anatomy, they know their anatomy, they know their attachments, they know the movements that are available in joints, et cetera.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So they have all this details and knowledge already in there and as you say, the trick is to find a way to connect the dots, to help them to connect the dots, because they already have a lot of knowledge on different little ligaments around the different joints and how to mobilize this little ligament or that little ligament.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But at the same time, their big picture thinking is something that have been a journey to put through the market here in Poland. But I brought a structure integration here in 2010, and I think we met together first time in 2011, probably around that time in Poland. And at that time, that kind of systemic thinking wasn't something very popular.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But over the last 10 years we have done hundreds of workshops around Poland and I have been attending multiple conferences and giving lectures about structural integration and about that kind of systemic thinking and at the moment... And also osteopathy has grown very large in last five to 10 years here in Poland also.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So this kind of a more systemic approach in physiotherapy at the moment is starting to be more ingrained, but it's still something very new. And because also as a physiotherapist, we are very strongly connected to a medical system in Poland and we connect and cooperate closely with doctors.

Wojtek Cackowski:

This is also the way how they think this kind of systemic and cause and effect thinking also comes from various strong relationships with medicine and with doctors in Poland too, maybe three years ago, finally, we have been regulated as a profession physiotherapy, and we became independent medical profession, which means we do not need a medical doctor to prescribe.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then, anything for physiotherapy we can decide ourselves on from diagnosis to the process of, and strategy for the rehabilitation and the physiotherapy process, this gave us a lot of independence, but at the same time, it has ingrained us in this medical system even stronger, which means even when we think the systemic way, and we let's say when I treat the client and after I finished my session, I need to write that down what happened during the session.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I need to precisely explain why did I work on the foot when my client had a hip problem, and why do I think this kind of strategy was something that will benefit their hip pain? So even when we work systemically, we need to relate that to why this can help patients in pain, so maybe that can also explain a little bit your experiences here in Poland.

Til Luchau:

That is helpful, but I think you could say it's a larger challenge we have in this field, regardless of the cultural context of how do we balance the linear cause and effect thinking with the understanding that there's another level of work that there's systemic relationships that can't be reduced to that.

Til Luchau:

And so that was really eye opening experience for me to transpose my ways of thinking into the Polish context or any cultural context, understand that there's some innate differences there in our heritage and in our education systems that really make that easier or harder.

Til Luchau:

But no I've seen that change you talked about whatever it was in nine years ago, whatever that I was there first. It's very different now this last time I was there, than it was back then, in terms of the understanding and exposure to many different schools of thought. What's been driving that? What's been driving the fact that so many people that came to my workshop this last time had experienced already so many other body work and manual therapy modalities?

Wojtek Cackowski:

I think this comes a little bit from the history and after Second World War Poland had been occupied and we haven't been a free nation until 1989, when we finally dropped the communism with solidarity that you mentioned, and after that time the transformation from communism to democracy was not an easy task, and these first 10 years have been very difficult for people here.

Wojtek Cackowski:

There was nothing available, there was no money, there was no business, so we have been really struggling and I think this was also a driver for us as a nation we finally got our independence back and we want it to feel great in this country, we wanted to build up the country again.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So people have been really focused on development, on investing, on growing, on hard work, and I think this historical context made this kind of mindset in a Polish society that if you want to achieve anything you really need to work hard and it's not going to happen by itself, you need to work on it.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And so in Polish physical therapy and field people have been educating themselves like crazy. Everyone whom who finished graduate university, they knew that it's just the beginning of their education and they just have been going from course to course, from a teacher to teacher and to trying to learn as much as possible.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And this is why this market for courses in bodywork and in physiotherapy have been really big in last 15 years and it has grown crazy in this 15 years. I remember when I started to bring you or Tom to Poland first time, and there was only maybe 10 big companies that, or 10 companies that have been organizing courses for physios, now that is hundreds of them and all of them have worked.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So it's crazy that even though there's so many organizers and there are so many workshops out there, they all have students in their workshops. So that could maybe explain what happened here, and this growth of this market has led multiple international teachers to come to Poland because when they have been coming to teach in Poland, the groups have been big, it was easy to promote this.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And they'd been coming back because it was a big a need for that kind of work and workshop so I think this led to the development of this market.

Til Luchau:

And then from the client or the patient side, how does that work in Poland? Give our listeners a little sense of that. Are they self-pay or is it insurance paid, is that government paid? For most people.

Wojtek Cackowski:

In Poland, we have National Health Service and in physiotherapy in National Health Service is mostly in hospitals and NHS clinics. And then in those places you have in hospital health service and then in those places you have in hospitals-

Til Luchau:

National Health Service.

Wojtek Cackowski:

... Yes, in National Health Service. In those places you have basic physiotherapy, so you have this machine therapies like ultrasound, electrotherapy, all this physical stimulation of the body, and you have also massage and rehabilitation. And this is something that in this National Health Service provided by the NHS.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But if you want to go to a bodywork or to manual therapy, most of the time NHS is very limited in those kinds of services. So at the moment or also, most of the high-level physiotherapy is private. So if you want to go to some more sophisticated physiotherapy, the NHS most of the time, it's not going to provide for you.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Me personally, and since 10 years, I'm not working in the kind of NHS system. I just work privately and my clients pay by themselves for their treatments. And this is also true to many of my own students, they just have private clinics and people just go directly to physios, they don't even need to go to doctor to get to the physio, they just go to physical directly.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But also physiotherapist cooperate with multiple different professions of medicine, and we exchange patients or clients with them. I cooperate also with multiple different medical professionals who are sending me clients who need physical therapy, and I will send those clients to these different specialists that if they need their help at the same time. So it's a connected market, but it's more private market than a public.

Til Luchau:

You mentioned a massage therapist within the context of the NHS, are there massage therapists working outside of that? I know a lot of listeners are massage therapists.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Yes, there's also a private sector for massage and it's a combination. There are some massage therapist who are going towards bodywork and this is also part of the group of people who come to our workshops. But there's also another piece in massage that is working for NHS.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And this is just the classical, like Swedish massage, they call it recovery dative massage or something like this, where clients or patients after different injuries they go for drainage or they go for some kind of sport massage after let's say, if you had a cast on your leg and your muscles have been weak, and they stimulate to your muscles with massage to help them in training and et cetera, et cetera.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So, this is a very mixed market, it was on the beginning when I was still a beginner in physiotherapy it was mostly NHS-based physiotherapy and massage. But at the moment I would say in physiotherapy, it's 70% is private, then maybe 30% is still NHS-based, same with massage.

Til Luchau:

Great. Thank you for that, it's really interesting. A little bit about Zoga, little more about Zoga, and some of the concepts you were mentioning. What would you say... One of the words you said was shearing, what say, prompted your shift from the Iyengar model, which is probably more about stretching, at least in my understanding when I'm back in the '80s or whatever, when I studied it here in the U.S., to this idea of shearing or gliding? Is that significant for you? I'm guessing it is.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Yes, it is very important piece of my thinking. When I practiced Iyengar yoga, it was very frustrating for me to stand in a pose for a long time without movement. I'm that kind of a person who is constantly in move, and it was very difficult for me to hold this asanas for a long time.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And when I was practicing myself, I was constantly finding this little changes in different segments of my body, and that was trying to observe, "Okay, so when I'm in this downward facing dog, how is it going to influence my body if I bent one knee and allow pelvis one side to drop, how is that going to influence my spine?

Wojtek Cackowski:

How is that going to influence my right shoulder? How is that going to influence my left shoulder? How is that going to influence my left hip and et cetera, et cetera? So I was constantly moving and thinking of, "Okay, if I have that kind of movement to asana, what does that effect? What can I feel? What kind of changes I can observe? What is moving away from what?"

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then starting from this bone-oriented thinking, I moved towards soft tissue-oriented thinking. And this also comes from the journey that I took as a teacher because I started to teach for Anatomy Trains in 2014.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And in that time, first I understood the map of myofascial meridians as something static that connects the body of this are a static connections of the lines of myofascia through the body that are holding the structure in gravity and that help it to find a proper balance in that gravity field.

Til Luchau:

That's the Anatomy Trains model you say that has its roots in the structural integration.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Yes, and my first initial level of understanding its all this kind of static understanding, "Okay, this bone and this bone are connected by this line, from this side, by this line, this kind of group of soft tissues from this side." And then I was trying to think, "Okay, if the bone has moved forward, that means that this portion of the line that holds it from the front is small short.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then the part of the soft tissue that is more in the back from that bone is more elongated and tight, et cetera. So this short and long paradigm." But then when I started to teach for Anatomy Trains, but also a little bit before when I was on my pathway to become a teacher, I was assisting James Earls for a long time around all Europe. I've been traveling around Europe with him and listening-

Til Luchau:

James Earls being also one of Tom Myers' teachers and I know he was the head of Anatomy Trains dot UK.

Wojtek Cackowski:

... Yes, James Earls made another step for Anatomy Trains with his book Born to Walk, where he combined the myofascial map of Tom with understanding of the chain reaction of Gary Gray.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Gary Gray was looking in his system, in Gray Institute, he was looking on how different movement patterns are creating chains of segment reactions around of the joints that are allowing for that movement to be efficient and to spread the load on all the segments rather than putting too much load on one segment which can create pain or dysfunction.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So James studied with Gary Gray, and of course he studied before with Tom Myers and after he connected those two, it was this initial idea to create the book Born to Walk where he explained the biomechanics of walking through the lens of chain reaction and how this chain reaction is controlled by the catapults of myofascial chains.

Wojtek Cackowski:

He called this catapults because this long chains of myofascia have been loading mechanical energy, storing mechanical energy, kinetic energy in this collagenous system, and then by storing it, and releasing it into movement, we have been achieving more efficient and easier movement in gravity.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So this concept of chain reaction and looking at the body from this joint perspective, and then looking at the joint movements as essential events that need to happen to create this long chain of catapult was another idea that has blended in my head.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So, I was constantly thinking about that, and what I learned from James that, yes, you need to have a hip extension if you really want to create the catapult of superficial front line in the toe off when you walk. Or you need to have a rotation between the pelvis and the ribcage and the shoulder girdle, if you want to engage the spiral line in the push-off phase in walking, et cetera, et cetera.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Or you need to a counter movement with your upper body when you heel strike to decelerate the pronation in your opposite foot. And he was talking a lot about this essential events that if you want to create that kind of catapult joints need to move into the certain positions to communicate myofascia in the system.

Wojtek Cackowski:

If you won't be able to achieve this hip extension, for example, then the line of tension is going to shorten. It's not going to be as efficiently loaded, which means you're going to need more energy for walking, it's not going to be as efficient.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But I had that idea fixed in my head that, "Yes, I understand that there needs to be this essential events in the joints." But I was constantly thinking, "Yes, but there are also essential events that need to happen in a soft tissue for this joints to go into this essential events positions."

Wojtek Cackowski:

So I was constantly thinking, "Okay, if you want to have this extension in the hip joint, there are multiple three-dimensional changes or four-dimensional changes between this relationship of a soft tissues that move around those joints to allow the joints to go into these positions."

Wojtek Cackowski:

And I started to think about it like something that was keeping my brain active all the time. I could drive a car and think about it, I could make my dinner and think about it. Then it was constantly there is somewhere in the back of my head, how those tissues are moving around and what different spatial changes of organization of the soft tissues are alarming or restricting movement of the joints.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And that was really something that started to let my journey in this shearing that we mentioned before, because if you want to have this hip extension that we already started to give it an as an example, there are multiple movements between soft tissues that need to happen.

Wojtek Cackowski:

For example, we know that when your hip joint is inflection or you stand in the anterior foot position and that AIIS, the inferior anterior iliac spine is diving deeper in the body because the anterior tooth is pushing the ASIS forward but hiding deeper the inferior iliac spine.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So then rectus tendon that is attaching to it is going to move from the skin and back dive into the inside of the body. It's going to create this movement of going forward and back. And we know that rectus femoris as a muscle is situated between them sartorius and tensor fasciae latae and they create a rooftop just above this attachment of rectus.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So when the rectus moves forward and back, these two muscles that create this rooftop, they are open, they are sliding sideways when you go into extension, but they come together when you go into flexion, and they allow the tendon to hide and move forward towards the skin.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So there is this movement of opening and closing of that rooftop, which needs to occur for the proper movement of rectus that is in between them, for example. So I was constantly feeling of thinking-

Til Luchau:

Okay, let me jump in for a second. Keep that thought because what you've done is you've taken us from a stretching model of Iyengar or even a structural integration lineage into a three-dimensional model of compartments that needs to glide against each other to open up the space for these essential events. You said Gary Gray's term, I think about the joints to happen.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Yes.

Til Luchau:

And then you've also implied that there's a fourth dimensional picture of this, that this is what happens, I assume you mean by over time. That there's a progression at a sequencing and a dynamic element to all this.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Exactly.

Til Luchau:

All right. Thank you. Now I'm keeping up with you, good. Back to you.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I started to think about it and I started to understand that this kind of thinking of the biomechanics, it's not something that is popular, that is common. I couldn't find too many types that are explaining that kind of spatial changes between soft tissues, so I started to explore it by myself.

Wojtek Cackowski:

It was through my self-experience on the mat when I was going to different movements and palpating my body and feeling of what shape changes I could notice inside of my body when I was moving.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then I also tried to cooperate with my friend medical doctor, whom is a vein specialist. And we explored these different, spatial changes with ultrasound meeting in evenings after he was having a whole day of surgeries, I had a full day of clients and around 10:00 PM, we've been meeting in the hospital and exploring, "Oh, when I bend this way, look, this goes there and then it goes there."

Wojtek Cackowski:

It was a crazy fun exploration to find what is actually happening inside of our body when we move. Because we have quite a lot of knowledge on the biomechanics joints, we have quite a lot of knowledge of topographical anatomy of the muscles, but I don't think we really fully understand of what is happening between all the soft tissues when the movement occurs.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Because first of all, we need to understand that all the soft tissues have different special attachments to the skeleton. They also have multiple attachments to themselves, to the soft tissues. And they have areas that are holding them more tightly together, and they have areas that are allowing them for more independent movement in another areas.

Wojtek Cackowski:

There is another factor of liquid movement so, when these special organization changes are occurring, there is also liquid that needs to be pushed from one area to another area to allow for that movement to happen. So there is another layer of understanding of that.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then on top of it, there is the movement of the liquids inside of the pipes which means our vascular system, but also our lymphatic system and all the interstitium is changing their pressures inside of this areas. And even more, there is also all this changes and all this movement is not this biomechanical receptors and controlled by the nervous system.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I think it is really complicated mechanism or a system, and I don't think we are even close to fully understand how this very complicated mechanism is actually influencing neighbor-to-neighbor relationship and how this shape changes, relationship changes and movement changes are actually allowing us for freedom and grace of movement and what kind of restrictions are leading to discomfort or to dysfunction.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And I think it would be great if there would be a little bit more of the scientific inquiry towards that kind of understanding, and that this is also my goal for Zoga, to spread that kind of a thinking and to excite enough scientists to research this field of biomechanics.

Til Luchau:

I wish we had a chance to actually do some Zoga here, on the podcast for sure I'm going to go ahead and put some links in the show notes so people can see what you're up to, and maybe see a little preview of the way you're applying that to our Advanced Myofascial Techniques series.

Til Luchau:

But you just described a very complex and interesting and intricate interaction between these different mechanical systems. And then of course, all of this is impacting say much more than the mechanics it's impacting the sensitivity perception, awareness interaction of a psychosocial system, as well as the biological or mechanical one.

Til Luchau:

I know that's there for you in the background as well. How do these things you're describing relate to pain in your understanding, in your thinking?

Wojtek Cackowski:

It can relate in many ways. First of all, coming to this to pain. If you feel pain then you're going to react to this pain. I've heard an interesting doctor a few days ago who said that there is very simple rule of the body. Body always wants to be comfortable and with no pain.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So then this is very true that our body do not like to feel pain, so when we have pain in certain area of the body will try to create changes in this mechanical system in such a way that we are going to reduce the sensation of pain. So we're going to try to take the load off the area that is giving us pain.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Let's say I have a pain in my left knee, then when I'm putting somebody who have a pain in the left knee, most of the time when I put them on that pressure platform, I will see that they stand much more on the right foot than the left, because there are avoiding putting the pressure on the painful knee.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So pain is going to create this compensatory patterns that are going to try to avoid pain both in static, in standing or sitting or, and the position that we take, but also in movement. So then the pattern of walking or running is going to change because the body is going to move around the area of pain in such a way that is going to give least possible movement in the area that is causing pain to not increase the pain and inflammation.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But pain can be also caused by this restriction the liquid movement that I mentioned before, for example, when there is too much pressure inside of the certain area and by movement, we are even increasing this pressure, the mechanoreceptors are giving information to the nervous system that something is going to explode with the amount of pressure we feel.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then that stimulates the muscle receptors that tells our brain that something is going to be injured or destroyed, and the body interprets that if the brain interprets that if it is a pain or if it can ignore it. And this is also interesting thing about pain that actually brain needs to decide if it is pain or actually not.

Til Luchau:

Would you agree there's a stronger research basis or scientific basis for the gliding effects of movement therapy and manual therapy than there is for the stretching effects over time? Is that the way you think about it also?

Wojtek Cackowski:

Yes, then the science that is coming up from fascia research field is actually supporting the ideas of shearing tissues rather than trying to statically stretch them. And we see that the shearing effect is actually creating multiple changes in their biological system.

Wojtek Cackowski:

First of all, it changes the liquidity of the system, by hyalurone production by stimulation of this partial sites so the cells that are eating the collagenous intensification in it.

Wojtek Cackowski:

We know that by this kind of shearing effects, we are stimulating that kind of reactions in the tissues that are creating more liquidity, more relative movement between different layers and more loose connection between certain membranes of the body.

Wojtek Cackowski:

We know that all the membranes of the body and all the layers, if you actually think about layers in the body and not a whole system, some teachers say that there is no layer there is just only one net and there are only in areas of a little bit more loosely net and a little bit more densely organized net.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But the shearing effect is making those smaller loosely organized web to be even more loose and allow for more relative movement, and when you think about muscles again, coming to this understanding of the biomechanics of muscles, we know that let's say for example, quadriceps muscle in front of our thigh have one attachment to the tibia and it takes, patellar with this attachment.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But then it goes into multiple areas on the femur, one head is surrounding the shaft of the femur, and it's the intermedius and it's the most deep one. And then there are three heads that are on top of it, and these three heads have their own individual layers, that allow this three superficial heads to move in relationship to this deep head.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So, when you take your muscles of your thigh and you just roll the muscle on top of the bone, you can actually feel not only the movement on top of the bone but also the movement of this three superficial heads on top of the intermedius, and we know the other heads like the vastus lateralis medialis one goes to the lateral side of the tibia, one goes to the medial side of the tibia.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then the rectus is going into them then to the pelvis, to the inferior anterior iliac spine. So they have different connections when you just bend and then extend your knee, those different vectors of pull would create a different speed for the movement. So different tissues will be pulled with different force in a slightly different angle or vector, which will create the relative movement between all of them.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And when you think about this movement in the knee flexing and extending the knee, I know that if I want to have freedom on flexing and extending, I need to have this relative movement between different heads to allow, let's say rectus femoris to slide on top of the intermedius and to slide in relationship to the lateralis and intermedius.

Wojtek Cackowski:

We know that rectus also have very longitudinal fibers, it's thin and longitudinal muscle, but then the vastus lateralis medialis they have oblique fibers, they are obliquely oriented, and their lateralis goes from the outside-in, the medialis goes from the inside-out, and when they are going to be pulled.

Wojtek Cackowski:

They will not only create this movement up and down like rectus, but they will also create this rotational movement that is going to move around the rectus and hug rectus with these two big bulgy muscles on outside that are going to hug it closer and then move away from it when you go into knee flexion and extension.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So, this kind of thinking of on the biomechanics is something that is really important for me to understand why I have a restriction in the movement of the knee or a joint, which movement between the subconscious is not allowing the joint to go into the free movement.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So this shearing is actually something that is a key point in the understanding of how I treat myofascial restrictions in Zoga and not just stop the pressure that is going to try to forcefully achieve different ranges in the junk.

Wojtek Cackowski:

The only thing is that the science actually supports that you can have a better and faster effects when you stretch, not in a static way, but in more dynamic or I don't want to say dynamic because then it can lead to understanding that dynamic is going to be very rapid, fast movement, but that moveable stretching, I would call it.

Wojtek Cackowski:

That you are not just holding statically position, but you are moving around the restriction slowly to create this gentle shearing of this neighboring structures against each other.

Til Luchau:

Thank you. Tell me some of the ways that you hope to develop Zoga. It's a practice that manual therapists can learn. It's a practice that people can learn for their own bodies. It's a practice that you've been sharing with us through interpreting our Advanced Myofascial Techniques. What other ideas or plans do you have for it?

Wojtek Cackowski:

At the moment I have developed a two training pathways. First we always teach in Zoga Movement introductory workshop in the end, then this three days we are giving both kind of ideas of intervention. We are doing the group exercise experience, we are doing a one-to-one experience but with detailed biomechanical analysis, and then movement of a client that is guided by the therapist.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But we also teach manual intervention in this intro, we are combining all of the vocabulary of the Zoga to show how you can treat the body with this modality.

Wojtek Cackowski:

But then I split the training into two different pathways, because I have been teaching them Zoga in last two years to multiple different crowds, and I noticed that people who only teach classes, who only teach groups, they need a very different education than people who work one-to-one. So, I have now made a split after this intro into two different educational pathways.

Wojtek Cackowski:

One is for people who only lead groups and, this training I have a pathway where I teach, how you observe a general pattern of the group, how you observe how people are avoiding the movement that you are trying to achieve in certain asanas or certain sequences of movement, and how you can now help these people to find a way to still achieve the goals that are initially in the exercise.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then also how you can use your verbal, and your touch cues to help these people to be more in their exploration of their own body. And also if somebody has different problems that have happened through the injury or their history of their body, how you can support their system to be able to still continue to develop towards neutral, towards more options for movement, but with safety behind it.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So, if I have a group of older people with multiple restrictions, how I can lead the class to still achieve the goals that I have for the movement session, but with the safety and ability for all those people. So, then you need to make a choice if I want to split the group into two, or maybe just start with very basic thing for everyone, and then make those choices during your classes.

Wojtek Cackowski:

How you can lead them through the self-exploratory process, but with the safety and understanding of their biomechanics to help them to find a way to achieve those goals.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then the second pathway is more for people who work one-to-one, and that has a lot, not only movement and group movement, but it also has palpation manual interventions, palpation of this essential event in the soft tissues and it's much more detailed anatomically and biomechanically-based.

Til Luchau:

And have these been in-person trainings so far? Are you doing anything online?

Wojtek Cackowski:

No, only in-person training this one.

Til Luchau:

In-person training. We're lucky to have you in our online principles training, where again, you're interpreting our Advanced Myofascial Techniques into your Zoga form. We'll have to think about how to encourage you to come off for some of this, what you're describing online too, because I know there'll be a lot of interest in, and actually applying and learning what you're describing.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I'm preparing now something that will be a little bit more manually-based. I'm still thinking on the format of it. But I want to prepare something where I'm going to show the manual interventions and how we can combine not only movement, but also manual interventions in practice. So maybe some coming months, we will come up with some new idea together.

Til Luchau:

Fantastic. As we wrap it up for today, anything else on your radar, or anything else you want to emphasize to me?

Wojtek Cackowski:

First of all, I would like to say, thank you too that you invited me to this podcast. It's my first experience of this kind of thing. Second, I would like to thank you also for our cooperation that we have in the last months with this principles classes, my translation of your work into the movement.

Wojtek Cackowski:

It was really a joy for me to try to find a ways to still achieve the goals that you have been trying to achieve in your techniques for the movement, and some of them have been challenging to translate them. Some of them have been quite obvious and natural and I think it was also very good experience for me how we can create this kind of communication between these two worlds to make them a little bit more closely to connect it together.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Because I really believe that manual and movement therapists, they should be in a very close relationship as professionals to support their clients in their journey for health. Because only manual therapy is going to give us a lot of power as a manual therapist because people come to us and we treat them and they are dependent on us.

Wojtek Cackowski:

And then in movement world then the person is empowered by multiple times they come across this strong barrier in movement that they cannot move through if they do not have a good manual intervention that is going to help them to move through those barriers.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So that's why I really believe that this two worlds should be really closely cooperating together because this will only benefit the clients and also hope for both worlds to understand more their own worlds.

Wojtek Cackowski:

So movement therapists will understand their movement much more if they will have a closer relationship to manual therapy from the other end manual therapists will understand more of their client's problems and the dysfunctions they treat with their hands when they will understand that their own body, better through their own exploration of movements.

Wojtek Cackowski:

I really, I'm on a mission to help these two worlds to come as closely together as possible.

Til Luchau:

Also really stimulating and for me, in my own body, but also in my thinking, and then very appreciative of the time you've made to share your perspective and to do it, you've helped me in my experiment to do this affordably because that's been important to me also.

Til Luchau:

To find a way that it can have a broad reach and be affordable for manual therapists and body workers to jump in and experiment with movement and bridge that out from what they're doing on the table to their own bodies, but then also what they're doing for clients. So thank you for your generosity of your time and your ideas and energy as well, Wojtek.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Thank you.

Til Luchau:

So if people want to find out more about you and about Zoga, where would you like them to go?

Wojtek Cackowski:

zoga-movement.com is my website. They can find me also on social media with the same address zoga-movement.com.

Til Luchau:

And then you and I, we're about to start our fourth class together, our fourth series of classes. We're lucky enough to have three of our past dialogues in your Zoga other classes on our website, advanced-trainings.com and, the next Principles class, where I'm talking about Headaches & Migraines starts November 18th, pretty soon after this podcast airs.

Til Luchau:

And then you're starting a Zoga class with us about Headaches & Migraines on November 23rd and all of those of course are available by recording on an ongoing basis as well.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Thank you, it was a pleasure to talk as always. And thank you again, for inviting me.

Til Luchau:

Thank you, Wojtek, for taking the time again and for your sharing of ideas and for both mobilizing me and helping me share between my different concepts and ideas. For more information about the courses Wojtek has mentioned, or the ones we offer, you can check out the show notes, stop by the podcast page or our site advanced-trainings.com.

Til Luchau:

Our wrap-up sponsor of the day is Books of Discovery. Let's hear from them for a second.

Andrew Biel:

Books of Discovery might be best known for producing Trail Guide to the Body, but we're also a whole lot more. We bring you the clinical learning tools you need to inform your intentional bodywork. Check out our kinesiology, pathology, and A&P texts. They not only build the foundation upon which great educators like Til and Whitney rely, but will also support you through your entire career.

Andrew Biel:

Books of Discovery is proud to support The Thinking Practitioner and are offering a 15% discount when a listener enters thinking at thebooksofdiscovery.com checkout page. Enjoy the show.

Til Luchau:

Thanks to Andrew Biel and the Books of Discovery for their support of the podcast, and be sure to check out their great offer for Thinking Practitioner listeners.

Til Luchau:

Thanks to all of our sponsors, the show notes and the links out to the videos of Wojtek teaching the Zoga work, the transcripts of the class, and all the usual extras are on our site, as I mentioned, advanced-trainings.com, they're going to be on Whitney's site.

Til Luchau:

Whitney was not here today, but he'll back next episode, academyofclinicalmassage.com. If you want to email me or Whitney or get a message to Wojtek info@thethinkingpractitioner.com or look for us all on social media @tilluchau or @whitneylowe, or Wojtek again is zoga-movement.com.

Til Luchau:

Follow us on Spotify, rate us on Apple podcasts or wherever else you listen, and please tell a friend. Thank you, Wojtek.

Wojtek Cackowski:

Thank you very much too.

 

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