At the first interview and examination Barbara presented a severe scoliosis condition in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar compensated by a scoliosis in the upper thoracic. I took Polaroid photos at her first session. I have a series of pictures that show the changes and progression over the years to today. She was seeing a D.C. and a physiotherapist. Presently she visits to the D.C. are less frequency than when I first started working with her and the therapist is no longer in business. Years ago her physician told her that she would eventually be in a wheel chair. She told me that she was determined to not let that happen.
Over the years since 1994 I have usually seen Barbara on a weekly basis. The two exceptions of 'no surgery' program was when she opted for a surgery that relieved hip pain when a nerve to her leg was being pinched because the opening in the hip for the nerve was narrowing. Three years later, she needed a similar surgery on her other hip.
During the many hours I have worked with Barbara I have done more Ortho-Bionomy® than massage. Ortho-Bionomy has helped to keep her spine and structure mobile. From the beginning I worked with her undressed down to her panties and lying under a covering sheet. In that way I could observe closely the changes in tension of muscles and placement of joints while doing bodywork and giving her a massage. She finds that it is relieving for me to give her a massage usually after we have completed what can be done with Ortho-Bionomy®. My assessment work has been done mainly through the skill of observation, gently touching and empathetic sensing.
I found that it was most important to work using a whole body approach. She would tell me her current needs for relief, which was usually, hip, shoulder pain and stomach and intestinal tension. I would proceed from there to address the other adjustments for relief she needed due to a sense of stress and strain she felt her body needed. I kept my focus on whole body by using positions and movements that appeared to create as much as much as we could possibly attain.
Isometric and movement procedures seemed to be the best help for change for B. I usually needed to work most of all with releases of the muscles and other tissues of the ribs, shoulders, neck and pelvis. A typical session is described here:
The Rib Release Process© Sept. 11, 1998 Christy Friederich
Position: Lying on her side, pillow under her head, knees bent slightly, one or two pillows between the knees and feet to relax the lower back and hip muscles, the upper arm laid upon a wide pillow to keep the shoulder and upper back relaxed. Often I would start with a ”rib release” compression and isometric movements combined with the breathing procedures in order to bring about relaxation, movement and a change in the position of her ribs.
A. I gently place my hands with fingers spread open on opposite sides of her rib cage to cover as much of the rib cage as possible. While placing my hands my intuition helps me to feel the appropriate placement of my hands on the front and back of her rib.
B. After my hands are appropriately placed I tell her that I am going to ask her to take a deep breath; then hold her breath for a minute and not release her breath until I tell her to release the breath and let her ribs relax. Then I tell her that I am going to put a bit of pressure on her ribs as she breathes out and empties her lungs as much as possible.
C. I coach her breathing and rib movements thus: “Are you ready? Breathe in, hold the breath and your ribs in that open and stretched position as long as you can." O.K. ? Now -- blow out through pursed lips , relax your ribs as much as you can and hold your breath out as long as you can. .” "O.K., are you ready ? --- here we go."
D. Then I wait for her to release her ribs and then I quickly lift my hands and say, “Now, relax a moment and then I am going to place my hands at another ( sometimes it is a repeat of the same location) position and you will do the breathing routine as before.” “ We will start again when I say, ‘Breathe in ---- ‘; O.K. --- here we go ” . Sometimes it will be appropriate to ask her to arch her back to more strongly involve the muscles of her back as she begins the breathing in movement.
E. We proceed in that way on one side her ribs until each of us feel that there is a sense of relaxation and more movement in her Intercostal muscles and other muscles of the ribs and back. Then I have her rotate to the other side, reposition the pillows, etc. and repeat the previous movements.
Sometimes when we have done each side I have her do the following movement to create a gently rocking for release motion in the spine, which can allow for small adjustments:
The Rocking Release Movements For The Spine© April 10, 2002 Christy Friederich
Position One: Lying on the side with pillow under head and one or two pillows between knees and feet.
A. I direct her have her take a deep breath and arch her back as I press with each hand on the muscles of each side of the spine. I use an appropriate depth of pressure with a massaging movement simultaneously on each side of the spine gradually moving the pressure of my hands in an upward movement along each side of the spine.
B. After 6 to 8 inches of movement I release my hand pressure gently as she releases her breath. We pause a few seconds and then ---
C. I move my hands upward again, about 6 8 inches to another location. As I have her take another deep breath I press firmly, but gently on each side of the spine and continue the pattern and the movements until my hands are at the between the shoulders level position.
At this point, it suggested that it would be good to have her walk a bit in order to sense the improvement in the movement of her spine then we do the following procedure if we both agree that there is more to be done.
Position 2: Supine: I check each leg length and shoulder positions. I check for ease of movement of the hips and the ease of movement and balance of the joint at the front of the pubic. Changes in the hips usually include some work with the knees and feet. I have her walk some more and see if I need to check the neck spine.
When she sits up at the end of the session Now that gravity and the weight of her muscles is affecting her sensations, I ask her to notice if there are any joints or muscles that still feel stiff or non-moving. If she says, for example, that her lower spine still feels stiff we do a few post-session movements and techniques for her spine. This practice is part of an important self awareness education process that help to initiate ideas for self care techniques. Most clients need help to begin to notice the improvements in the condition of their muscles and joints. I find that it is quite common that people who have experienced much pain have learned how to ignore or subdue the consciousness of pain in their bodies or they have taken for granted that there is not going to be any change.
Barbara usually does some exercise every week. She does yoga-like stretches, walks or swims each day. She also integrates the contract, relax, contract (or vice verse) movements I have taught her. At this time, she uses a series of self-care exercises and movements I began creating for in 1994. When she has faithfully applied the self-help exercises that I have shown her she has stayed relatively comfortable. The self-care movements and exercises I created for Barbara, other clients and myself became a Self Help manual which I presented at the Ortho-Bionomy® convention in 1999.
She has discovered that when she wears a small lift in her left shoe she had less hip pain. Physicians have been amazed when she tells them she has very little pain and uses very little pain medication.
Two years ago, her "Back Doctor", as she says, told her that her back is now stabilized and it appears that she does not need surgery and ‘rods’ put in her back. She is very pleased and grateful for how Ortho-Bionomy® and my therapy and education has helped her.