Following up on my last post, I want to provide a bit more info and specifics on the rehab I did in Maui with Alejandra.
In my last post, I mentioned the emphasis on fascia lines and I want to expand on this a bit more. From what I have encountered, the conventional approach to muscles, ligaments and tendons is to think of them separately, evaluate the function of each specific part and to target that muscle (or one or two surrounding muscles) and strengthen, stretch, or stabilize that area in order to achieve the goal of improving it. For example, your biceps muscle in your arm performs a specific function, namely, to curl your forearm up towards your shoulder. Simple enough. But what about all of those other muscles that connect to your biceps? Or the muscles that connect to the muscles that connect to the biceps? How is it that some people may feel pain in their right shoulder which stems from an aggravation in the left knee?
Alejandra – and the growing number of practitioners who are incorporating the theories of fascia lines and the interconnectivity of muscles and fascia into their practice – approaches the body differently, especially when it comes to a Spinal Cord Injury and the damaged neural connections throughout the body.
On the very first day, Alejandra immediately recognized what abilities I DID have and what muscles I already had under control. She quickly assessed that if I engaged the parts of the body that I could control, then I could also engage connected muscles, nerves, and fascia and establish new neural connections. And that’s exactly what happened.
Over the course of just two weeks (which in a very slow SCI recovery world is like lightning speed), I was able to establish new connections, primarily with my abs and core. That means that I can now achieve a strong contraction of my abdominal muscles, by virtue of engaging the muscles in my lattisimus dorsi and targeting the fascia lines that run from the base of my skull, down my neck and upper back, wrap around my abs and down into my hips, thighs, and legs. I can’t overstate just how remarkable this is!
In this approach, the belief is that there are more neural connections that run through the fascia connecting our muscles than the muscles themselves. By acknowledging the potential power of Neuroplasticity (a concept I’ve discussed before, which is essential to my recovery), I am rewiring those damaged neural connections and finding new ways to connect signals from my brain to parts of my body that I previously could not move.
I realize this is a bit technical and might be hard to conceptualize for many readers, but I urge you to keep an open mind. It’s astounding what I was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, and the progress I’ve continued to make because of the exercises I did with Alejandra. I’m including a couple more videos below.
In the following two videos, I’m lying on my side, with good spine alignment (something Alejandra emphasizes frequently) and the movements are both in a horizontal plane, that is, they’re not going with or against gravity which allows me to feel a better connection with my legs. In both instances, although the person is doing the movement for me, my leg would react, the muscles would contract and I was able to feel a great connection to my glutes, quads and legs.
In this last video, my spine is again in good alignment as the ball and the roller behind me are prompting me to sit straight, I’m using my arms to stabilize my core and the result is a fantastic connection to my legs that are doing this fast and fluid movement. This was a great exercise.
I’ve tried my best to highlight the unique nature of the work I did in Maui and show how this has helped me. It’s tough to put it all into words or images but hopefully I’ve provided a sense of why I found this therapy so beneficial.
27 thoughts on “Making Magic in Maui (continued)”
That is soooooo awesome! There is so much that is amazing to the human body!!
I totally agree 🙂 -AB
Arash, I am so inspired of all the hard work you are doing and the amazing discoveries you are making. You are a true warrior!!
Thanks so much. I have no other choice but to work hard and keep seeking discoveries. -AB
Reading this made me so happy and you’re amazing! I’m hoping that you’re able to continue this same therapy back in the Bay Area? So so so great. Much love to you xoxo
Tough to replicate without having her there, but yes she did teach me some things to do at home. What I have to figure out is how soon I can go back out to Maui… 😉 -AB
The videos are just amazing! And so are you! Thank you for sharing your journey with such wonderful descriptions. The body is a fantastic instrument. You are an inspiration and just remember when you are 83 – as I will be in March – that an old man in Barra de Navidad, Mexico – was proud to know you and cheer you on. The goal may be a distance still, but I believe you will make it! All the best in the coming year. Jack
Thanks Jack. I hope to do everything you said and have as much vitality and positivity as you share with me. I appreciate it so much. Best to you in the new year too. Feliz Año Nuevo -AB
i agree; you are a true warrior, and this is amazing! thank you so much for sharing what’s happening. lisa/z
Thank you for reading! -AB
Although I see what you mean that it’s hard to put into words the unique and intense therapeutic treatment you had in Maui, the photographs and your detailed explanation is excellent. It’s yet another show of your resilience and love for not only your quality of life, but for your fellow beings that are going through similar challenges. Never give up! We are all praying and keeping you in our thoughts.
Thanks so much. I try to make this blog more than just me talking about my recovery, and trying to share what might help others. So it makes me happy to hear that you get that sense from the writing. I appreciate your support and encouragement -AB
So great and astonishing ! you will achieve more, with a thought , an action and so much faith ,magic is definitely being made 🙂 – it’s amazing , how you can change your body and recover by using your brain and thoughts, whatever you think of your body and what you want to change about it your brain is capable of doing it!
You are a great writer as well, I enjoy reading your articles! You have a lot!
Thanks for keeping us posted on your progress 🙂
I’m so happy you like reading my posts! Thanks for reading. I agree with you that using my brain and thoughts can have a significant impact on my recovery. In fact, that’s what I’m basing so much of my recovery on. Just have to keep believing… -AB
I’m so glad you posted more about your therapy in Maui. I feel amazed at the progress and love that you are creating new neural connections and that you got to participate in this therapy. I can already imagine the day that you walk. Sending you good energy as you continue your path of new connections!
I had a couple friends recently tell me that they had dreams of me walking and I love hearing that. I feel like as long as the imagining of me walking continues in my mind and those around me, then I will keep on my path with lots of motivation. Good energy right back at you! -AB
May you get use back in all parts for 2014
Thank you -AB
I never cease to be amazed at the progress you are making. The body’s potential for healing and re-programming is all there – you just have to open up the mind & body to this potential and learn how to ‘Connect the Dots’. Oh, and of course you need the right teacher to show you the path.
Yeah I agree although I wish it was happening faster… It’s all about tapping that potential, as you mention. I’ll keep at it -AB
Arash jaan, I am in awe of all you have gone through and accomplished thus far! You are the most tenacious, positive, and driven individual I know. I have no doubt that with your hard work and your perseverance you will WALK again. Sending you and your parents lots of positive energy!
Thank you! What wonderful words of support and encouragement. Hope you had a great new years and I look forward to staying in touch -AB
Fascinating firsthand account (research). How encouraging to those in need of your knowledge and experience!
Thanks for reading! -AB
Wow Arash! I’m so glad you have found a therapy that you believe in and I can’t believe how quickly you have seen results, how exciting. I think about you often and am completely inspired by your constant hard work towards your goal. Looking forward to hearing (reading) more.
Thanks for reading and for your support. I’m excited to continue with that therapy too. Hope you’re doing well -AB
[…] As a quick reminder, Alejandra has created her own unique form of therapy she calls Neurokinetic Pilates which utilizes the concept of Neuroplasticity (the belief that the brain and nervous system can repair and rewire damaged connections as a result of injury, illness, etc.) and the understanding of the lines of fascia (the tissue that surrounds and connects all of our muscles) to perform exercises and movements that mostly use Pilates principles and equipment. (I wrote a couple of posts about my last experience with her from a few months ago, if you want to reference, the links are here and here). […]