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Deconstruction of "Z-Health Performance Solutions"

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  • The problem I have with Z-Health is the amount pseudo-scientific claims made by it's proponents who can't back them up with any real science; they can only use scientific sounding words that sound good to the average fitness or health enthusiast.
    Keats, nice to have you back.

    I received an email about becoming a "Master" with the group and all of the "levels" that would go with it. In the email was a list of the recent "Master Z-Health" Trainers, with a full article about how one young woman failed on her first attempt to pass the final test and had to spend 2 more days being "grilled" by the founder, asking her question after question for 2 hours. Thankfully *whew* she passed after the whole ordeal.

    Man, I was pulling for her! Passing an un-recognized certification offered by one man. Makes me think all of that time in grad school was easy!

    Nate
    Nate Mosher, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS
    Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy

    Comment


    • The good "Dr" Eric Cobb has a blog. He doesn´t like people questioning his systems claims of "science" he just want to them to pay good money and shut up.

      http://www.zhealth.net/node/376

      It´s quite obvious that his blog entry is a response to a certain thread that has now surfaced on the dragondoor forum

      Nice to know that the good doctor reads this forum. Quotes Winston Churchill as well does he. "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

      Better hurry on doctor, hurry on :clap2:
      /Martin

      Comment


      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d977d7NmOyQ

        ...thoughts?

        there are plenty more vids:
        http://www.youtube.com/zhealthvideos

        Comment


        • I?m very disappointed in the video: http://www.youtube.com/zhealthvideos

          Dr. Cobb tests the hamstring strength of a person lying prone. The first test at :38 seconds into the video is done with a very mild push to seemingly ensure a strong test result. Next, he ?shuts off? the hamstring at 1:09 by ?jamming? the heel bone and retests with more effort, and from a slightly different angle, to make the hamstring appear weaker. At 1:32 into the video he ?makes the hamstring stronger? by mobilizing the heel and appears to once again push softly to guarantee the results. Lastly, at 2:02 into the video he ?turns the hamstrings back off? by gripping the heel and REPOSITIONS HIMSELF to get more leverage and the person?s hamstrings test weak. It?s very obvious, at least from my perspective, that Dr. Cobb is trying to (unconsciously) get the result he wants.
          ________
          Ford Focus (international)
          Last edited by regnalt deux; 30-01-2011, 05:37 AM.
          “Don’t believe everything you think.”

          Comment


          • Todd- This is the classic Applied Kinesiology trick with a different name.
            Jason Silvernail DPT, DSc, FAAOMPT
            Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
            Fellowship-Trained in Orthopedic Manual Therapy

            Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist


            The views expressed in this entry are those of the author alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

            Comment


            • If this rationale was actually valid, every time I squat (total body joint jamming) I would crumble to the ground....

              or should I use the DRX-9000 to increase my PR's......:thumbs_do
              "The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer."

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Jason Silvernail View Post
                Todd- This is the classic Applied Kinesiology trick with a different name.
                Exactly, Jason.

                Btw I was recently gifted a few of the Z-Health products. Essentially, Dr. Cobb has combined, in no specific order, different aspects of Scott Sonnon's Intu-Flow (talk about a guy with a questionable background!), Pavel Tsatsouline's Russian Mobility Drills, Vision Therapy, AK, Hanna Somatics, bits and pieces of neuroscience, and a few other "ingredients" as well. I've studied most of this stuff too, with the exception of AK, and a lot of it has merit IF used within the proper context. Long story (somewhat) shorter the overall issue I have with Z-health is that it's completely based on a bio-mechanical, mesoderm oriented, construct...there's no somatic awareness through motion ala Feldenkrais/Hanna, but "fixing" the nervous system with joint mobility. I could go on forever, but you get my point....
                ________
                BMW E38 specifications
                Last edited by regnalt deux; 30-01-2011, 05:38 AM.
                “Don’t believe everything you think.”

                Comment


                • I have a few VHS tapes from Scott Sonnon when he labeled this stuff "Zedrovye", apparently after the Soviet mobility secrets. There are several maneuvers on those tapes that look familiar to the "Z" health stuff....I'm sure that's what the "Z" refers to.
                  Nate Mosher, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS
                  Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy

                  Comment


                  • I guess the RKC community and Z health have been having some hiccups. Since someone had mentioned Brett Jones earlier in the thread I thought I would post his little statement about it all.


                    http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/m...m_nooverride=1
                    Scot Morrison
                    Physical Therapist
                    Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist
                    - @Scotmorrsn - Twitter -

                    Comment


                    • ...and I guess this is Cobb's attempt at an answer:
                      http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/568/

                      Comment


                      • Jason,

                        I will admit I am skeptical about the validity of the tests shown in those vids. I have tried them myself with little success, although I know of many others who have tried them and believe they work. In any event, I believe there is a great amount of value and a solid scientific support for the vast majority of what Cobb teaches.

                        Regnalt,

                        I agree with your description of the sources for Z material, and would add in David Butler and Lorimer Mosely. As such, I disagree with your statement that Z is primarily a mesoderm based system. The Z mobility exercises do not target the mesoderm, they target the ectoderm. The focus on the joints is only a means to activate mechanoreceptors and talk to the nervous system. Although Sonnon’s exercises are very similar, he explains their benefits in mesodermal terms – stretching and lubricating fascia, synovial fluids, etc. Cobb’s intention is purely to affect the CNS.

                        As to the idea that Z has no somatic focus like feldenkrais or Hanna, I agree to some extent that feldenkrais will focus more attention on sensory experience than Z. However, this is also an aspect of Z, as a primary goal of each exercise is to feel movement in a certain target area. As a second year feldenkrais student and someone who has done several Z certifications, I see far more similarities than differences between the two approaches. In essence, both use slow, safe mindful movement to target the CNS, attempting to change movement patterns and body maps, and hopefully reduce pain and increase movement efficiency. In case anyone is interested, I blog about these issues in relation to Z, feldenkrais and general physical training at toddhargrove.wordpress.com.
                        Todd Hargrove

                        http://bettermovement.org

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by toddhargrove View Post
                          Jason,
                          I will admit I am skeptical about the validity of the tests shown in those vids. I have tried them myself with little success, although I know of many others who have tried them and believe they work. In any event, I believe there is a great amount of value and a solid scientific support for the vast majority of what Cobb teaches.
                          Hi Todd,

                          First, as I posted earlier, the videos are very concerning. Dr. Cobb bases his method, in large part, on the arthrokinetic reflex. However, if ?jammed joints? don?t cause a problem, which is the case in many situations, then it brings Z-Health into question. On that note, Dr. Cobb mentions on his blog that ?jammed joints? will decrease performance and eventually cause pain, but what scientific evidence supports these statements. He?s boldly stating that people should correct a problem, that?s not proven to be a problem, before it becomes a bigger problem. And I see this rationale as problematic!

                          Originally posted by toddhargrove View Post
                          I agree with your description of the sources for Z material, and would add in David Butler and Lorimer Mosely. As such, I disagree with your statement that Z is primarily a mesoderm based system. The Z mobility exercises do not target the mesoderm, they target the ectoderm. The focus on the joints is only a means to activate mechanoreceptors and talk to the nervous system.
                          I don?t see how David Butler and Lorimer Mosely fit into the Z-Health paradigm. The joint movements are done to activate mechanoreceptors and not tension/slide the nerves. The connection between Neurodynamics-Z-health is no greater than the connection between Neurodynamics-traditional stretching. I?m not sure how you?re fitting in the work of Lorimer Mosely.
                          Originally posted by toddhargrove View Post
                          Although Sonnon?s exercises are very similar, he explains their benefits in mesodermal terms ? stretching and lubricating fascia, synovial fluids, etc. Cobb?s intention is purely to affect the CNS.
                          I agree that intention matters a great deal, but don?t see much of a difference between Cobb/Sonnon. Sure, Dr. Cobb focuses on precise joint movement more than Sonnon, but you're taking the liberty of extrapolating that this will somehow purely affect the CNS. Furthermore, Dr. Cobb mentions muscles A LOT when performing his exercises. For example, the lateral-middle-medial toe pulls are meant to ?open? joints in the foot to ?turn on? muscles in the leg. Point being it?s not to increase awareness, reduce brain smudges, and reorganize the body schema, etc.
                          Originally posted by toddhargrove View Post
                          As to the idea that Z has no somatic focus like feldenkrais or Hanna, I agree to some extent that feldenkrais will focus more attention on sensory experience than Z. However, this is also an aspect of Z, as a primary goal of each exercise is to feel movement in a certain target area.
                          And a bodybuilder wants to feel the burn and pump in the area their training, but that doesn?t make it a somatic based experience. Dr. Cobb is focusing on feeling movement in target areas of the mesoderm and not exploring the perception of a felt sense within the context of a specific movement. Big difference, IMHO.
                          Originally posted by toddhargrove View Post
                          As a second year feldenkrais student and someone who has done several Z certifications, I see far more similarities than differences between the two approaches. In essence, both use slow, safe mindful movement to target the CNS, attempting to change movement patterns and body maps, and hopefully reduce pain and increase movement efficiency. In case anyone is interested, I blog about these issues in relation to Z, feldenkrais and general physical training at toddhargrove.wordpress.com.
                          I?ve extensively studied, ?officially? and/or via self-education, many somatic movement therapies and must disagree that Feldenkrais and Z-Health share a lot of similarities. It?s a matter of opinion, but I don't recall Feldenkrais fixing joint dysfunctions, training for sports performance, and throwing KB?s around.

                          Take care!

                          Reg
                          ________
                          host and design
                          Last edited by regnalt deux; 30-01-2011, 05:39 AM.
                          “Don’t believe everything you think.”

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by atx4 View Post
                            ...and I guess this is Cobb's attempt at an answer:
                            http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/568/
                            " I have often said, both privately and in public that Pavel is one of the few authorities in our industry that I have read everything he has published ? cover to cover. His work in sifting through scientific and experiential data to build the RKC system is unparalleled in the strength training industry in my opinion. Additionally, I believe he has done more to bring neurology into the forefront of strength training than any other author ? a difficult task that I am immensely familiar with."

                            Apparently Dr. Cobb's response included a lot of a-- kissing. I've read a lot of Pavel's work too. He's a bright guy and rather insightful, but his books are the most self-promoting and sales oriented on the market. He plays up the Russian comrade bit to ridiculous proportions and purposely panders to the lowest common denominator. Also, perhaps Dr. Cobb forgot, but Mel Siff got his MSc in brain research and PhD in physiology/bio-mechanics and has influenced A LOT more people regarding neurology/strength training than he and Pavel put together, IMHO.
                            ________
                            iolite portable vaporizer
                            Last edited by regnalt deux; 30-01-2011, 05:39 AM.
                            “Don’t believe everything you think.”

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by regnalt View Post
                              I’ve extensively studied, “officially” and/or via self-education, many somatic movement therapies and must disagree that Feldenkrais and Z-Health share a lot of similarities. It’s a matter of opinion, but I don't recall Feldenkrais fixing joint dysfunctions, training for sports performance, and throwing KB’s around.
                              I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

                              Todd, you are of course entitled to your opinion, but imo. saying that Feldenkrais share a lot of similarities with Z-health is really stretching it.
                              /Martin

                              Comment


                              • Regnalt said:

                                “I don’t see how David Butler and Lorimer Mosely fit into the Z-Health paradigm. The joint movements are done to activate mechanoreceptors and not tension/slide the nerves.”

                                Butler and Mosely are required reading for one of Cobb’s advanced courses. In that course he teaches how to modify his joint mobility exercises to slide or tension all the major nerves in the body. Cobb likes Mosely’s concept of the neuromatrix and it is a central paradigm to teach Z’s focus on the CNS as the target for change. The basic idea is that most of how Z (or any other modality) accomplishes anything is through “threat modulation”, i.e. reducing threat to the nervous system in a way that will encourage it to be in a less protective (e.g. painful and stiff) mode. He further stresses that each CNS is very individual and is affected by a huge variety of inputs and interpretations.

                                Regnalt also said:

                                “Dr. Cobb mentions muscles A LOT when performing his exercises. For example, the lateral-middle-medial toe pulls are meant to “open” joints in the foot to “turn on” muscles in the leg. Point being it’s not to increase awareness, reduce brain smudges, and reorganize the body schema, etc.”

                                Just because the end goal is to increase joint function does not mean that his method is not to do so through the CNS. Cobb’s makes extremely clear that his intention is to use joint mobility exercises to improve motor and sensory maps. This is almost all he talks about at a cert.

                                Regnalt also said: “It’s a matter of opinion, but I don't recall Feldenkrais fixing joint dysfunctions, training for sports performance, and throwing KB’s around.”

                                I’m not sure what you mean by “fixing joint fixations” but if what you mean is to improve movement and therefore joint function, then obviously both feldenkrais and Z each do this – both by affecting brain maps, not by changing the structure of the body. As to training for sports performance, again each can be used for this purpose. Although Cobb has developed some specific exercises to train common sporting movements such as split stops, a trained feldenkrais practitioner will obviously work with clients on sporting movements if that is their intention. As to “throwing kbs around”, I’m not aware that Cobb ever teaches KBs as part of Z training. Of course, you could use Z drills and principles to get better at KBs, but this goes for feldenkrais as well.
                                Todd Hargrove

                                http://bettermovement.org

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