With show host Dr. Klatz, guest Dr. Stoxen explains the physics and engineering of foot biomechanics. Dr. Stoxen presents the concept of “The Human Spring,” and discusses its specific implications in overall health. Find out how shoes can cause damage to the foot and why “barefoot is best”
It’s time now for Second Opinion, with your host Dr. Ronald Klatz, president and physician founder of the A4M, American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine.
Second opinion with Dr. Ronald Klatz shares the latest breaking ideas in advanced preventive health.
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And now, here is Dr. Ronald Klatz
Dr Klatz: This is Dr Ronald Klatz with another addition of Second Opinion and I am very pleased to have another fine interesting and exciting guest for you today. His name is Dr James Stoxen DC. Dr Stoxen is an internationally renown and respected doctor of chiropractic. He’s the director of Team Doctors, Treatment and Training Center. Team Doctors is one of the premiere health and training centers of the world combining chiropractic care with active rehabilitation and training for world-class athletes. It is a private rehab-training center for national and international competitors.
Dr Stoxen also provides on-site chiropractic care and anti-aging consultation and care to numerous top celebrity entertainers all over the world, and serves as the meet and team chiropractor to over 70 national and world championships. In 2008 Dr Stoxen was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Welcome to the show Dr Stoxen.
Dr Stoxen: Thank you for inviting me Dr Klatz.
Dr Klatz: It’s really my pleasure. Today we are going to talk about many things on second opinion we will discuss spinal disease, herniated discs, back pain, longevity, lower limb rehabilitation and new discoveries when it comes to running. We are also going to talk about traction and what I feel is really exciting is your new book on the spring mechanism of the lower limb. What everyone wants to know about Dr. Stoxen is about your celebrities.
Dr Stoxen: Well I have received this new moniker, which is the Celebrity Chiropractor. I wasn’t seeking to be a celebrity doctor. It just happened. In 2003 I received a call to go to the theater and take care of a tour of a named celebrity entertainer.
Some of the people you may know might be the American Idols Tour, Dancing with the Stars Tour, So You Think You Can Dance Tour, the Mariah Carey tour, the Beyonce Tour, the Alicia Keys tour, Cirque’ du Soleil maybe some of you know Aerosmith tour.
Dr Klatz: We know Aerosmith
Dr Stoxen: And the Wiggles
Dr Klatz: The Wiggles. Okay! Tell us about the Wiggles.
Dr Stoxen: Well the Wiggles are a fine group you know, in fact they were one of my first clients, back in 2004. It was a pleasure to meet them. At that time most of their act was singing and some light dancing but now they are tearing up the stage with this circus act that has advanced tumbling, acrobatics and it’s almost like they’ve transformed into athletes and circus performers.
Dr Klatz: So in essence your team doctor for many of these professional tours but are you are also a team physician for Olympic athletes, professional boxers, mixed martial artists and people of that nature, isn’t that true?
Dr Stoxen: Right. What people are drawn to is this concept of the human spring mechanism approach. I developed this and it’s worked so well with developing natural sources of energy through the human spring mechanism during movements.
Dr Klatz: Now you talk about the human spring. what are you talking about? Are you talking about the lower extremity?
Dr Stoxen: Well what we are talking about is that the entire human spring is developed and designed with a spring mechanism to allow the body to protect itself from the landings. In other words, simple walking or running involves collisions with the ground. So the body has developed a protective mechanism in the foot that integrates with the entire body to protect it from those collisions.
We have approximately 3.6 million collisions or steps per year and if you weigh 150 pounds, simple walking is a 200-pound collision with every step. Running creates forces during the collisions that could add up to 750 pounds of collisions forced with each step. So the body has a built in spring mechanism to bounce it off the ground rather than bang and twist it into the ground. So it protects you.
The second most important function the human spring does is that it serves as a recycling mechanism to recycle energy through the human spring. The bodyweight lowers into the human foot through this force that descends or loads the spring. The human foot stores energy and releases the energy when the foot releases or when it takes off that recycled energy. So this allows us to walk further and run further without getting tired. Doctors are having a lot of problems diagnosing the cause of chronic fatigue. It is when patients have problems with being tired then they reach for those energy drinks and other forms of pick-me-ups when they actually have a breakdown in the spring mechanism that they are unaware of.
Dr Klatz: If I can understand this correctly. The body has a natural spring mechanism that conserves energy when we walk or we move or essentially anytime that we are up and about. And there’s something that happened to us early in life certainly before the age of 30 where we lose this natural spring mechanism which acts as a shock absorber to conserve energy and because of that we lose energy and we become more tired more fatigued etc. Am I missing anything?
Dr Stoxen: The other thing to understand is that we know if we ask 100 doctors, how many kids they’ve seen with herniated discs they would say “I have never seen one in my life.”
We know from children that if we check their feet they are very pliable and springy opposed to adults feet that become stiffer as we age. As long as we can understand this we can fight back. We understand babies and children are always kicking their shoes off it’s kind of crazy. When we get home we can’t wait to get our shoes off. We love to walk around without shoes.
The reason why is footwear by nature are a binding device that binds the human foot and restricts the movement. It doesn’t allow the spring mechanism to go through its full engineering cycle.
Dr Klatz: We aren’t just talking about the foot. We are talking about the whole musculoskeletal system as part of that spring, yes?
Dr Stoxen: Right, what we are forgetting is that when we exercise or run then we are told to exercise without binding or devices so that we can get the full extent of the natural positive stress on the joints to make them go to the positive adaptation process which makes them stronger the next day. The only place on the region of the body that does that is in the human foot.
Instead we put on a shoe that binds the spring mechanism which doesn’t allow it to go through its full natural motion. When we exercise with this same binding advice we wonder why our feet hurt and why our body breaks down from the floor. That’s where we lose, because we have lost the ability to absorb the shock and recycle the energy
You know people have asked me are you an anti-aging doctor? Yes I am. Are you an anti-shoe doctor? Yes I am anti-shoe.
This year in June I recalled as a child, that I was able to run barefoot without any problems and felt great. So instead of going from barefoot to shoes, to orthopedic shoes to bedridden, I have reversed the process and decided to go barefoot again.
Dr Klatz: You know that is really fascinating. We are going to break right now and we will be back with Dr James Stoxen DC
We want to thank the sponsor, the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine. The worlds largest preventive medicine society for underwriting this program. The academy represents 22,000 physicians and scientists dedicated to finding answers to disorders we call human aging. Log on to A4M’s web site, www.worldhealth.net to sign up for the longevity e-journal and find an A4M trained physician specialist near you.
Dr Klatz: And we are back. This is Dr Ron Klatz.
We’re here with Dr. James Stoxen. Dr. Stoxen is the director of Team Doctors in Chicago and we are talking about spinal disease, herniated discs, back pain and longevity. We are going to talk about lower limb rehabilitation, new discoveries in running, running technologies and the new exciting concept that Dr. Stoxen invented called the human spring mechanism.
Now the last time we left off we were talking about how the spring is related to energy recycling, fatigue and how the breakdown in the human spring mechanism is possibly responsible for a lot of complaints that we hear so much about today. Tell me what sort of problems specifically do you see that are present when you see a breakdown of the spring mechanism?
Dr Stoxen: First of all we have to understand what the spring mechanism is. The way we describe it is this;
When the foot lands on the ground, the load of the weight of the body enters the foot and normally it spreads the load of that force across the foot through these 33 different joints. Those joints bend and spreads that force so the force of the landing does not come as a bang and twist to the body. So we are not getting a lot of shock to the body.
Dr Klatz: Now just to be clear.. Let’s say an individual weighs 180 pounds. What kind of force of impact does that translate to when they are running?
Dr Stoxen: When you are running at full speed it is about 900 pounds of impact force on the foot with every step.
Dr Klatz: With every step?
Dr Stoxen: Yes with every step
Dr Klatz: Go on…
Dr Stoxen: And there’s 1000 steps per mile. So if you’re talking about 10K its 6.2 miles or 6200 collisions with 900 pounds of force per collision into the human foot and human spring mechanism. So that is 5,580,000 pounds of force that the body is resisting in one hour more or less.
Dr Klatz: That’s a lot of force on the human body. So if you are overweight then you are just multiplying that?
Dr Stoxen: Yes, an additional 10 pounds on the human body is an additional 50 pounds of force on the human spring.
Dr Klatz: Wowsers. Very interesting so how do we maintain our human spring? how do we protect it and how do we repair it?
Dr Stoxen: The first thing we have to do is find out whether you have a breakdown on the human spring and that is done by checking how the human spring interacts to impacts with the ground.
The first thing we can do is to stand up in front of a mirror with our shoes and socks off and look to see if our ankle bones line up with our foot. In other words, do we have the appearance of weak ankles or does our second toe line up straight? Does the limb look aligned when your standing?
If it doesn’t and let’s say we weigh 180 pounds and if there’s some deviation of the second toe ankle foot and limb we know right off the bat that you’re one leg force on standing is 90 pounds. Your spring mechanism is not capable of holding up 90 pounds of gradual force. This is because your 180 pounds is spread between two feet.
So the patient comes in and says, “I want it take up running activity to lose weight”. We stand them up in front of the mirror and their ankles bow with the 90 pounds. That means the spring suspension muscles aren’t even strong enough to hold up that weight. Therefore they cannot resist 90 pounds.
Running is 180 x 4-5 times body weight, which is 700 – 900 pounds of force. They have no business running. It’s ridiculous.
That’s like taking a person who cannot quite do a 30 pound curl and asking them to a 90 pound curl.
What if someone says, “you cant run barefoot because you have over pronation so you need a stronger or supportive shoe to be able to run”.
That is like telling someone who can’t do a 50 pound bench press that we can get them to be able to do a 250 pound bench press is we developed some sort of super bench press shirt that increases elasticity and allows them to load 250 pounds. The bench press shirt does the lifting instead of their muscles.
These people don’t have the strength to withstand the impact forces of the landings they have no business running. But the footwear manufacturers say, “lets put some cushion in there and a support and you can go ahead and run”.
That is how so many people get injured.
Dr Klatz: Ok, there are injuries… what about the symptoms? Tell me what the symptoms are? How would I know if my human spring is not working or protecting me?
Dr Stoxen: We could check for abnormal gait or walking patterns. While the normal path of the human foot has the second toe pointing towards the target. If the big toe is pointing inside the center then your pigeon toed. The normal gait or walking pattern allows the thickness of the foot to plant square and the calf is contracting up the center for maximum spring off and pumping action for increased circulation.
If your foot is deviated laterally or you are walking like a duck or penguin then there is a good chance that your human spring is locked. The reason why I say that is because when the human spring locks it cant go through the same movement pattern as when it’s springy. It has to move outside the normal pattern in a path of least resistance.
So when that foot moves outside the normal path it creates abnormal wear and tear, stress and strain leading to the cause of inflammation which is what is causing the pain. So conceivably any pain anywhere along the kinematic chain of weight bearing joints could be a sign of a locked spring mechanism.
Foot pain, heel spurs, shin splints, calf cramps, knee pain, hip pain, back pain, herniated discs that don’t heal, pain between the shoulder blades or even headaches and any combination of these symptoms could be a sign of a locked spring.
Dr Klatz: You mentioned those super shoes. What about those super shoes and those padded shoes and all of the fancy footwear that’s out there. Tell us about those rocker shoes that are popular and now want to change the balance. Those are the ones that have the moon-like sole so your body is out of balance. Does this mean you are always out of balance? What does that do to you?
Dr Stoxen: The first thing we have to understand is the only natural way to run or walk is barefoot. Anytime you put any binding device on the body it makes it weaker. Anytime we put any device that is designed by man to change the normal pathway of the human foot it causes deformities and weaknesses. All shoes cause weakness in the body. It’s crazy that the shoe itself actually causes the weakness that forces us to wear an orthopedic or supportive shoe. So it creates its own problem.
What you have are two choices. Either you are going to get out of your shoes and strengthen your spring suspension system and become barefoot again or you go backwards and age earlier by listening to doctors that tell you to wear stiff supportive or orthopedic shoes then eventually you can’t walk and eventually you are bedridden.
When you are talking about these rockers shoes, they present evidence that it eventually works your body more because it exercises the muscles more. We need to build muscles that actually support the spring mechanism, not develop muscles that actually don’t support the spring mechanism and not just any muscles. We need to De-age and protect our body.
We don’t have any exercises in the gym that will strengthen our spring mechanism at the floor of the foot. Name one exercise machine that develops the foot in inversion, eversion, abduction and adduction of the foot. There aren’t any. We aren’t even allowed to exercise the human foot because the health club wont allow us to take our shoes off at the gym. So how can we build a spring mechanism that supports the entire spring protective and spring recycling system of the entire body?
The best way is actually to take the shoe off and not put a shoe on that completely alters the normal path of human body. This creates abnormal aging. Take your shoe off and release all 33 joints by working your foot with deep tissue treatments, stretching it to get the spring back to it. Then work the muscles that develop a strong spring mechanism doing drills barefoot. That is a better idea than wearing Rocker or toning shoes.
Dr. Klatz: Thank you Dr Stoxen. I’m Dr. Ron Klatz for Second Opinion.
Second Opinion is sponsored by the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine. The Academy represents 22,000 physicians in 110 countries around the world. We are very pleased to have Dr. James Stoxen as one of our instructors and a speaker at the Academy. He is here with us on Second Opinion and we will return in just a moment.
Dr Klatz: We are back talking with Dr. James Stoxen from Team Doctors in Chicago, Illinois. I’m Dr. Ron Klatz for Second Opinion and we are talking about spinal disease, herniated disc, running disorders, footwear, lower limb rehabilitation and longevity. Thank you Dr. Stoxen.
Tell us about insoles. Gel insoles and special insoles that a Podiatrist would custom make for a patient. How does that affect the spring mechanism?
Dr. Stoxen: In order for the spring mechanism to work, first it has to reform it’s shape. It reforms it’s shape when the force loads the energy into the spring mechanism. When it reforms it’s shape it stores energy then reforms back to it’s exact original shape releasing the energy. If it does not do this it deforms and can’t produce as much energy because it’s deformed from it’s original engineering. That’s how we end up with chronic fatigue as well as degenerative joint diseases of the foot and throughout the body by the abnormal movement patterns. It’s interesting that instead of re building the elastic mechanism back into the human spring to allow it to load better we look at the standard of current care. The standard of current care says to put something under the human spring like an arch support. This won’t allow the body to re form or absorb the force of the landing. It won’t absorb and recycle the energy. It’s not really a good method.
It requires a lot of work to restore the human spring. Releasing the 33 joints in the human foot to allow it to spring again. This can take hours to do. Not many doctors are interested in standing above a patient and releasing the locking of the human spring.
Dr. Klatz let me give you an idea of what it’s like for me to release the human spring in a patient that has been in footwear for 25 to 30 years. It’s like taking a steak out of the freezer and thawing it out with your bare hands. Many people have stiff feet. The constant walking is a bang and a twist causing the body to degenerate with every step. It takes time to release the human spring. This quick fix to put something under the arch may seem like a good idea but it’s not.
I’m anti orthotic.
Dr. Klatz: Okay, I understand that. Are there any orthotics that you like?
Dr. Stoxen: No, there is only one thing you can do with a shoe that will help a patient out that has pain. When the foot lands on the outside and rolls to the inside it’s called supination to pronation. This natural rolling affect allows the body weight to be absorbed slowly across the foot, without a bang. If the foot over rolls either too much outside or inside it twists or torts the limb. This causes strain in the body and the outcome is inflammation and pain. The only thing I would recommend if a person has very bad weakness is that they get a shoe with a strong counter support along the back of the heel to keep the foot from rolling out of the safe range between supination to pronation which will stop the twisting of the body. Leave the arch alone. Work on it to loosen so it can load energy to absorb the force. Let it go through it’s natural spring process because that is the way it was designed to work.
Dr. Klatz: What about people with fallen arches or who have feet that are not very pliable. What can people do train their own feet and to improve their own spring mechanism?
Dr. Stoxen: They say that statistics show that we spend 2-3 hours sitting watching TV. While your sitting you can take your shoe off and grab your foot and start stretching it out, looking for tender spots with your thumb. Apply deep tissue treatment with your own hand. In other words, give your foot a hand. Take your arch and look for the tender spots with your thumb. You can apply direct pressure to muscle spasms down to the bone. It can hurt quite a bit in some areas. It you keep that pressure you will find out that the brain will get confused that this pressure is releasing the spasm and the brain will release it. Your spring will become a little looser. Go through the foot and take your time.
Dr. Klatz: I thought pain was bad for you? Are you saying that pain is good for you?
Dr. Stoxen: If your not doing any work where the pain is then your not doing anything for the patient. My patients know when a muscle is strained it’s inflamed and when you press down on it then the inflammation gets closer to the nerve endings which triggers the pain. Dr. Klatz it hurts but nobody is hurting you. It just hurts but you will find out that when you apply that pressure the pain will slowly dissipate until it becomes only pressure. When only feel pressure then you move one inch only and go to the next spot slowly working your way throughout the foot. Work out all of the tender spots and spasms. The more you do this the more pliable and springy you will become. You will be able to absorb more shock and recycle more energy. You will have more natural energy. Soon the human spring can be restored with your own efforts.
Dr Klatz: You talk about inflammation. Is it a good idea for a patient with tender feet to be on anti-inflammatory medicine? For example: non-steroidals?
Dr. Stoxen: The cause of what is producing the inflammation is the locking and the stiffness as well as the abnormal movement pattern. If your trying to help yourself to release the human foot and the chain of bones up through your back and your on an artificial pain reliever or anti-inflammatory then you won’t have an idea where you are with your progress. It confuses you and your body into thinking everything is ok when in fact it’s not. I think pain is a good warning signal. It tells us what is wrong with us and where we stand. Just like if the heat light goes on in your car. You wouldn’t take a piece of tape and cover it up so you don’t see it. Is the problem gone so you keep driving? No, you would pull over take care of the problem until it runs properly. That is the same way you should take care of your body.
Dr. Klatz: Dr. Stoxen before we forget what is the website where people can learn more about your innovative ways of practice and what you do at Team Doctors?
Dr. Klatz: Thank you Dr. Stoxen. This is Dr. Ronald Klatz bringing you Second Opinion here on healthradio.net. You can learn more about our show and about our guest by visiting www.worldhealth.net/radio you can also email the show at email@example.com We will be back in just a moment.
Dr. Klatz: We are back with my guest Dr. James Stoxen and we are talking about the human spring mechanism. Dr. Stoxen this is our last segment and I have to ask you this question. Why at age 48 did you decide to take up barefoot running?
Dr. Stoxen: Dr. Klatz as a child I can remember we used to live on a hill and we had a gravel road that led to a pond where we used to swim and fish and just have fun. I remember I did not want to wear shoes and in the beginning I would walk across the gravel road gingerly. Slowly after a month or two into the summer my bare feet adapted to the gravel and I was able to run across the gravel road without any pain. I remember I felt great. I noticed children don’t get many injuries and are without chronic pain. I decided not to go the other route, which would be getting supported shoes, orthopedic shoes, not being able to walk and finally becoming bedridden. I wanted to go the other direction and reclaim my youth and so I decided to go barefoot. It made a lot of sense to me. footwear binds the foot and does not let it go through its natural process of adaptation. I studied the engineering and mechanism and I decided one day that I was going to use the technique that I know is right according to the laws of physics and common sense and I started running barefoot and have never turned back.
Dr. Klatz: Your not alone in this opinion now. This is very interesting. I remember there was an article in Nature Journal in January 2010. Can you tell us about that?
Dr. Stoxen: In the Nature Journal January 2010 there was an article written about a study conducted by Harvard University. Dr. Lieberman and other scientists looked at people that ran barefoot or with minimalist footwear. They were found to avoid heel striking and instead landed on the ball or middle of their foot. These runners therefore used the architecture of the foot and leg and some clever Newtonian physics to avoid hurtful and potentially damaging impacts. The study was done comparing barefoot runners and shod (with shoes) runners from Kenya. They found that the runners who ran barefoot had minimal or no stress to the body as opposed to shod runners who had a lot more damage to the body when running with shoes.
Dr. Klatz: Are you saying that people who run with shoes tend to heel strike verses striking with the ball of their foot?
Dr. Stoxen: Yes. If you wear a shoe you tend to over stride. If you are barefoot you won’t over stride because you will feel it quickly and make adjustments to land on your forefoot or your midfoot.
Let’s look at the body as a human spring. If the foot is ahead of your body that means when you land your foot ahead of your body the spring loads energy in and it kicks it back against you. If you load the weight over the top of the spring it bounces. If you load the weight ahead of the spring it accelerates. It’s very basic. If you take a spring and you play with it you would be able to understand it.
Dr. Klatz: So essentially you are saying with have slinkys in our feet?
Dr. Stoxen: Exactly.
Dr Klatz: I can relate to a slinky toy. I had one until just a few years ago. I miss that toy.
Dr. Stoxen: It’s an ingenious toy and our bodies are springs. It’s the Hookes law of elasticity in physics. This dates back to the 1700s and is still valid today. It states that the deeper the spring is loaded the more energy it can return and the more forces it can absorb. The stronger the spring, the healthier we are at absorbing these stresses.
This was a presentation I gave at the Academy Of Anti-Aging World Congress in 2007. Elastic recoil mechanism and how footwear accelerates the aging process. I remember there were almost 2,500 physicians in the audience and when I walked off the podium a hundred doctors surrounded me and said “This just makes sense”. They wanted more information and were eager to learn how to develop the body without footwear. Then in 2010 came the study from Harvard University that I just spoke about that supported us through the running industry from the backside. Now what do we do? More and more people are looking at running and working out barefoot because it just makes sense. Look at Marshal Arts athletes they are training barefoot and they throw themselves down hard on the ground and they get up and they are not injured. The risk for injury is very low. As for us we bend over to pick up a penny and throw our back out and three weeks later we are getting joint replacement.
Dr. Klatz: Is it really that dramatic? Is it simply wearing shoes that leads us to develop back injuries simply by bending over whereas if we were to go barefoot or walk in our socks all day we would be so much more elastic throughout our body. Yes or No?
Dr. Stoxen: Let me put it this way. Let’s do the math. If you do 6.3 million steps in a year. In 30 years that’s over 100 million steps. In 60 years it’s 200 million steps. Dr. Klatz even subtle abnormal mechanics in the human body over 200 million steps adds up to a lot of degeneration. With 750,000 people each year getting joint replacement surgeries. We have to look at new ways of preventive medicine. What makes sense according to the laws of nature,physics,engineering and just common sense to be able to tell the patient in their 30s and 40s what they can do to prevent them from getting these life changing joint replacement surgeries.
Dr. Klatz: Is it safe to run barefoot on a treadmill?
Dr. Stoxen: What we have to understand is that if the body is a human spring then it rebounds or recoils off of a harder surface. The idea is like if you want to develop the shoulder then you develop the shoulder in all different directions. The foot moves in six or more different directions. Running on a treadmill moves the foot in only one or two directions. What I do is run in a zig zag pattern so I can accentuate the development of the spring suspension system muscles. They are the peroneus longus bravis, tibialis posterior and the tibialis anterior. Not many people know about these muscles because they are not listed in the body building magazine because they are hidden under the gastroc consolius muscles. They are the utmost important muscles in preserving the human spring. More information has to get out on how to develop these muscles. Bodybuilding and fitness have ignored these muscles for decades. It’s time we take a careful look at this area.
Dr. Klatz: We have about one minute Dr. Stoxen. Tell us what do you do for yourself for your own anti aging medicine program? What have you found successful in your own life that has made a difference that has helped in your own personal rejuvenation?
Dr. Stoxen: One principle I want to mention is the human body does not like sustained contraction. If your lifting a weight at 10 repetitions that’s healthy. But if you hold the weight with an outstretched arm at a 90 degree angle and just hold it there for 30 minutes the muscle gets sore and weak and the joint gets damaged. If we are standing on our feet for a long period of time the spring suspension system will fatigue and then the foot will weaken, drop and lock creating the locked spring. What I do is wear a very good counter support all day long. At the end of the day I take my shoe off and stretch and get the spring back and I do strength training with my shoes off.
Dr. Klatz: You have a new book coming out soon don’t you?
Dr. Stoxen: Yes it’s called The Human Spring Breakthrough.
Dr. Klatz: That sounds like a very innovative title. Thank You.
Dr Stoxen: It encompasses so many different life style changes and different approaches to exercise. I had to keep it general. Anything that changes the dynamics of any form of medicine or exercise is considered a breakthrough so that is an appropriate title.
Dr. Klatz: Well thank you for being with us Dr. James Stoxen from Team Doctors in Chicago. I’m Dr. Ronald Klatz from Second Opinion. Live long and well and we will be back next week. Thank you