Life in the Bones, The Book I Didn’t Write and the Book I Did

by David Lauterstein

Beginning about ten years ago, Aminah Raheem, the wife of my Zero Balancing mentor, Dr. Fritz Smith, asked if I would consider writing his biography. At the time I was still working full-time on my second book, The Deep Massage Book, so I thanked her and declined but promised I would give it more thought.

Periodically Aminah would check in with me. Finally, in 2012, I thought of a structure which captured my imagination. I remembered reading a number of intriguing novels by James Michener, particularly Hawaii, which began setting the stage for the plot with volcanoes creating the Hawaiian islands over 34 million years ago. So I thought, I’ll cover the vast rivers of influence that flowed into Zero Balancing and Dr. Smith and start with where he was born, and evoke the glaciers what became called, millions of years later,”Ohio”! Then we’ll go into Paleolithic healing, the Oracle of Delphi, the Dark Ages, Mesmer, Freud, the founding of Osteopathy and Chiropractic, the work of Wilhelm Reich, etc. I was intoxicated!

So I said yes to Aminah and began working enthusiastically on that new book for a year. Then I showed it to my wife, Julie, and to a friend and fellow Zero Balancing teacher , Jim McCormick. They both said I was writing two books – a history of alternative healing and a biography of Fritz Smith! Finally I sent what I had to Fritz and he, notoriously humble man that he is, nonetheless said, “You know this is supposed to be a biography…but I’m not even mentioned until page 25.”

Of course, that sealed it! Properly apprised, I then began a new book. I must say that Julie, Jim and Fritz were right – what I first wrote didn’t work as one book. So the “Fritz Book” then evolved over three more years of equally intoxicated writing. I am so happy Upledger Productions is publishing this August, Life in the Bones: A Biography of Dr. Fritz Smith and Zero Balancing, which I know people will soon hold in their hands. This book was also underwritten by the Zero Balancing Touch Foundation. In homage to Dr. Smith and the good work the Foundation is doing in education and research, 75% of the net profit from this book is being donated to the Foundation.

Life in the Bones still does have a structure that places Dr. Smith in the context of 19th, 20th and 21st century medicine and counter-culture, along with his autobiographical details and nearly 90 illustrations drawn from the history of his life and Zero Balancing. There are chapters explaining the evolution and importance of Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Rolfing, the Esalen Institute, his acupuncture teacher, J.R. Worsley, and more. There are many contributions from UK and US Zero Balancing faculty and students.

At the same time, so that non-ZB readers can equally enjoy the text, there are chapters on how Zero Balancing evolved and modified Dr. Smith’s life in turn; chapters explaining the central concepts of Zero Balancing: of interface, the fulcrum, workings signs of mind-body healing, “the alchemy of touch” and more. I know the important wisdom being conveyed by Zero Balancing needs to be accessed by many more people than just those already initiated. I want any and everyone interested health and wellness to find this biography fascinating and deeply useful.

More than ever, the wisdom manifest in Zero Balancing and the life of Dr. Fritz Smith needs many a voice and needs to be heard. I hope that Life in the Bones furthers the individual and collective healing toward which all holistic therapists are so ardently at work.

May your work and this work be a blessing unto this world!