THE MAGIC OF MOTION
3-15-04-feature article by: Leslie May Shumate
Since the beginning of time mothers have instinctively known the beneficial effects of motion… rocking babies to sleep and comforting little one's upsets with body hugs while swaying from side to side.
A series of devices has now been invented to simulate those nostalgically familiar motions and lull the body into a state of total relaxation.
Larry Shultz is the visionary behind the inventions and has been intrigued with the developmental aspects of motion since the very young age of four when he discovered a temporary mood of fear and abandonment improved after riding in a mechanized playground fun car that moved in a circular three dimensional pattern. That perceptive experience stayed with him as he encountered an exceptional Jr. High School coach who was tuned into development of sensory movements in terms of sports. He later found that sailing and the motion created by rolling waves provided a welcome relief in an otherwise stressful environment. While on active duty in the Navy he experimented with tuning his body to the motion of the ship, as opposed to resisting the motion, and took note of the neurological re-patterning sensations he attributed to stimulation of the inner ear and other gravity sensitive mechanisms.
Through years of research and experimentation, Shultz has concluded that activating motion sensing inner ear mechanisms causes connections into the brain stem and cerebellum to be exercised. The cerebellum is now being recognized as being significant in the brain's logic circuits, which provide such functions as reading and speaking. When cells within the inner ear mechanisms are activated, neuro-chemical signals are sent into the portion of brain stem that acts as a transmitter to other areas of the brain. Research shows the motion mechanism is also helpful in balancing the sympathetic and para-sympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system.
Modern sedentary lifestyles, eating habits and ever escalating stress levels have caused a general restriction of motion mechanism stimulation. Shultz feels that lack of stimulation falls into the "use it or lose it" category with losses that could lead to degenerative diseases of the nervous system.
Many years ago during his search for validation of his theories Shultz was looking for a patient not yet locked into adult patterns and a foster mother provided just such a subject. A six-week-old baby in her care was suffering from the effects of his mother free-basing cocaine on the way to the delivery room. The child had rigid muscle tone, couldn't sleep and cried all the time. Shultz designed a cradle, based on earlier designs of an adult size motion based exercise system. The motorized cradle produced a three-dimensional wave featuring side to side and head to heel motions. After three days of cradle use the baby was sleeping all night. Within two weeks his muscle tone was near normal and the constant crying had ceased. Shultz saw that neuro-chemical changes had definitely taken place because of motion and his theories were confirmed.
He was then asked by a dyslexia treatment center to design an adult version of the cradle. The result was a flat table with a central balance point and motorized motion. Sound was later added to the design and it became the Vibro Acoustic Motion Bed that produces not only motion stimulation but sends musical vibrations throughout the body.
A similar and more advanced acoustic feature is available in the Symmetron Motion System which is a lounge chair that combines sound, vibration and movement, producing total relaxation and neuro muscular training. Shultz said, "I felt like the cortex really needed some entertainment to stop the boredom. I put it [the sound] in as a way of fascinating the cortex and getting it out of the way so the body could take care of doing the work it needed to do to get it back into balance."
Achieving balance is the goal of all Shultz products and the Chi Chair is a major case in point. Shultz said he was refining the lower pedestal of the motorized Symmetron lounge chair and in an effort to find a center of gravity for the new model he disconnected the motor and sat in the chair. What he discovered was that with just a slight movement of his arm, the chair drifted into a new position and Shultz knew he had at last found the motion feeling he had been seeking for 20 years.
That serendipitous discovery was the beginning of the Chi Chair. "When any part of the body is moved, it is going to shift the center of gravity and anytime the center of gravity shifts, the chair is going to do something." Reclining in the chair and concentrating on its motion changes brings a sensation of floating weightlessly in space and a tremendous release of all tension. The end physical result produces gravitational movement of all body fluids including those present in the lymph system and spinal cord… a huge range of stimulus to the body's inner ear motion mechanisms as well as muscular exercise without any negative impact effects. "It's very comprehensive and it's pretty simple."
Shultz equates the Chi Chair 's action/reaction movement to benefits experienced in therapeutic riding programs where the horse is trained to move in a way that stimulates a specific area of the rider's body. The difference is, there is no horse to feed and the chair can live in the house!
Shultz does not make claims of healing existing conditions...he views the systems in terms of a maintenance program and as absolute stress relievers. "It certainly will assist nature in doing whatever nature can do in reestablishing a balance."
At an age where many choose a lifestyle of vegetation between breakfast, lunch and early dinner, Shultz is striving to make his alternatives to better health available to as many people as possible. The perfect "storefront" for his products continues to be elusive however, that fact hasn't slowed his search or his desire to improve the quality of life for those who care about such things.
The one "store" Shultz does possess is an Internet website where pictures, descriptions and testimonials about the Symmetron systems can be viewed along with a variety of ways to contact Shultz for additional information.
Article published with permission of the Author - 19 March, 2004