After experiencing success with a NeuroKinetic based chiropractor, I wanted to find a trainer familiar with NKT as well. Luckily Bianca Eulitz, a Personal Trainer (ACE), Massage Therapist (LMT) and owner of BE Fit Movement Therapy, sees clients close by in Rockville, MD.
Normally when I hear the word trainer I immediately think sweaty workouts and intense, interval training. Something I would love to do in theory but couldn’t do even if I wanted to. So although I didn’t think Bianca would have me flipping tires on day one, I was surprised when my first two sessions focused on simple joint work and isometric exercises.
Besides a degree in exercise science, she is trained in Neurokinetic Therapy, PDT-R (Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex); Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and Kinstretch. Unlike trainers that only focus on muscular-skeletal movement, Bianca also concentrates on the neurological aspects of movement. Specifically she helps the body repair and improve tissues that are frequently used, thus improving the nervous system’s command over it. Or in my case, repairs and improves tissues I haven’t used in years, so my nervous system remembers that it’s supposed to have command over it.
She’s currently helping me increase passive and active joint range of motion (ROM). By first building a healthy joint foundation that can better “bear the load”, my body will be better able to safely and efficiently increase muscular strength for more complex movements.
FRC for example, differentiates between flexibility (the ability to passively achieve an extended range of motion) and mobility (the ability to control ranges of motion). Additionally, it teaches the central nervous system to also be in better control of ROM. One way to achieve this is through Controlled Articulatory Rotations (CARS).
CARS allow you to take your joints through their full ROM (think “joint circles”). Rotational movements allow you to work at a deep capsular tissue level. If you start every day doing CARS, you remind your body to move your joints in different directions.
“Whenever you find you are tight or inflexible in some way, ask yourself how often do you really demand that range of motion from your body. Odds are high that you don’t use it 99% of the time, so why would your body care about the 1% of the time you suddenly demand it?” ~ Matt Kirtley
CARS have been life changing for me (click here to watch a quick 10-minute video that you can do each day). Many with multiple sclerosis suffer from spasticity, and I’m no different, suffering from spasms on the left side of my body. But because I still ambulate, I use my spastic left leg daily. When not wearing my AFO, I walk in an Igor like fashion, circumducting my leg while dragging it around the house. But even at its worse I’m still bearing weight, bending it and swinging it about.
My arm is a different story. Because I’m right-handed, by default I use my right arm, hand, and fingers constantly. As the spasticity in my left arm increased, I used it even less. Over time this left in limbo appendage was merely hanging about, not doing much of anything. Eventually my left arm got so tight it was bent at a 90-degree angle like a waiter at a restaurant arriving to pour you a glass of wine.
Assuming this was 100% due to spasticity, I focused on pharmacological ways to decrease it (Baclofen, Botox, and Cannabis) and traditional therapeutic approaches (hand therapy, myofascial massage and yoga). Although these approaches gave me relief, only NeuroKinetic Therapy fully released the tightness in my connective tissues and gave me carryover results. But still, my arm was completely non-functional.
Then I started working with Bianca. Daily CARS have started allowing my shoulder, elbow and wrist joints to increase their full ranges of motion which included for the first time in years, rotational joint movements.
My brain is remembering that my elbow joint is supposed to move in a variety of ways. Because I’m extending the end range of motion of this joint, it’s becoming safer for me to strengthen the muscles above and below my elbow. I’m slowly reminding my nervous system via isometric activations, to trigger the tricep and forearm muscles that straighten my arm and move my fingers. I’m encouraged to press my tricep against a wall, a table, the back of a chair. Same with my forearm, the back of my hand, quadriceps, hips, etc. Rather than repetitions, I work on simply activating muscles for 10 seconds at a time in different planes and at different angles.
Bianca has added another missing piece to my rehabilitation regimen. Recently she taught me that before I can use my hip flexors to climb stairs, I must first be able to internally and externally rotate my femur (thigh-bone). Who knew? Apparently folks trained in the above movement approaches do.
This excites yet infuriates me. I’m exited to know that these rehabilitation options are available. But I’m infuriated that YET AGAIN I’ve had to find (and pay out of pocket for) mobility solutions on my own.
I’ve been trying to kick MS’s ass since my first and only relapse back in 2012. I’ve found that kinesiology-based approaches that view the entire body as an interconnected system give me the greatest carry-over. But health insurance plans don’t cover cutting edge trainers.
Interestingly, MS has once again led me to a professional focusing on small, deliberate, intentional movements as the necessary building blocks needed to achieve functional mobility. Because if these aren’t first achieved, traditional exercises will be of no help to me in the long run.
Since working with Bianca my arm is more relaxed, straighter, and I’m beginning to purposefully move it more. I walk without my hip collapsing and a stronger quadricep allows me to rise from a chair without cheating by pushing myself up with my arms. And although my hip flexors and hamstrings are still sequestered, for the first time in years I’m feeling like they may eventually come out and play.
Another cool thing about Ms Eulitz – She’s a lifelong learner and explorer. She came to the US from Germany back in 2003 to work as an au pair and has been here ever since. Once she became a personal trainer, her love for anatomy, physiology and helping others led to her earning the degrees and certifications I mentioned above, which shows in her training style. She’s always willing to look at my wonky body and think “How can we modify this exercise? This goal? This approach?”
Call Bianca if you’re in need of a trainer for traditional exercise suggestions, CARS, Kinstretch, FRC assistance or massage. For more Kinstrestch / FRC info check out their official training site.
Featured image by Seohwa Kim, used by permission from Shutterstock. This article was updated on January 22, 2021.