Friday, April 27, 2012

My Body, My Self

In my chat with Dr. Siederman about getting 3D vision (binocular vision),  I  told him that I think I needed to get my posture straightened out.   It is well known throughout the vision community that lousy posture accentuates many visual problems such as strabismus.  Think about it. Your eyes need to sit in a stable properly aligned platform.

Your eyes are not aligned well so you start tilting your head and body in order to maintain a consistent visual image-- ie. avoiding seeing double etc.  Add in the fact that I don't have a good sense of balance, feet that point outwards. a "military" neck from arthritis (head jutting forwards) as well as a twist in my lower spine so I think I got a vicious circle going:  bad balance, poor body alignment, misaligned eyes all feeding on each other.

For a long time, I sat in a twisted S position with my one leg off to one side wrapped around the other leg, my hips opposed to my leg, my shoulder opposed to my hips, and my head opposed to my shoulder.  With all the balance work and vision therapy that I have done, I am sitting up without quite so much twisting.  However, I still sit with my hip to one side and my shoulders to another.

I am seeing a chiropractor to get better alignment but I have found that chiropractic adjustments, although they feel nice, don't last.  The chiropractor does have me work out twice a week to get better core muscles and flexibility in my shoulders and hips so I think that is something.  Hope I lose weight

So, Dr. Siederman recommended I go see an exercise physiologist, Maria Sykorova Pritz.  Maria left Czechoslovakia where she felt "buried alive" for more freedom here in the US.  However, she finds that many people here in the US are "prisoners of their bodies."  Maria disagrees with the emphasis in physical fitness to develop strength and endurance.

She feels:  Too many Americans are walking around with sculpted hardbodies that bristle with tension. They are prone to injury, stress and fatigue because their minds are divorced from their bodies and their body parts are disconnected from one another. Instead of acting in harmony and synchrony, the body is at war with itself.

When Maria walks down the street, she sees dead people - all these zombies and automatons, out of balance, out of alignment, out of sorts. Their bodies have become burdens, not instruments for appreciating the richness of life.

"People move too fast through life, not paying attention to the body," she says. "They are on automatic pilot, like on Interstate 95. When the body is connected, it's like taking the country roads. You move at your own speed. You experience movement and move more efficiently. The less muscular effort, the more you enhance your sensory skills."

She would turn the fitness pyramid upside down. To her, the essential principles, from most to least important, are balance, coordination, flexibility, endurance, quickness and strength. Too much muscle, she argues, interferes with the body's ability to move in the most natural, effortless way.

Maria uses a holistic approach in her practice:  mind, body, emotions and spirituality.  She aims for
 "total body synchronisity"

We live through the heart," Maria says. "The brain is a backup - a computer that we fill with data."
She believes that the heart is the register of emotion, and that the body reveals "the anatomy of the spirit."

As I pulled into the driveway for Maria's office, I couldn't help but be struck by the statues on her front lawn and the wall around her house.  They were bronzed statues of children climbing a tree, standing on their hands or in motion.  I smiled. Maria seemed to be a woman after my own heart.  Her office was in a carriage house made of Pennsylvania quarry stone.  

I went upstairs and into her office which was full of sculptures and a wonderful painting of a woman aglow with swirling locks of hair.   I explained to her that I was referred to her by Dr. Seiderman's office because we would like to straighten out my posture in order to help me achieve better binocular vision.  I told her about my spinal twist and arthritic neck as well.   

She had me lay down on her massage table and started reading my body... just gently touching it and pausing.  Maria told me that I live too much in my head.  I agreed.  I told her I had Motor Apraxia as well.  She said that I am not using my sensory motor cortex enough and am using my medulla oblongata instead.

Then, Maria  had me relax and think of an X crossing my body with a bright white light filling my body up.  She also started to coach me gently to just "be".  Then, Maria started to move my right leg around in a circle and then my left.  When she finished set my feet down so that my soles of my feet were touching.   She also started to find trigger points in my legs.  Then she worked on my spine and back loosening them up.  While she was working on my spine, she told me that I was stuck in a flight or fright response.  Which makes sense given my sensory deficiencies.  If you can't trust your senses you would be a little hyper yourself.

She also really worked on my trigger points in my back and shoulders.  Then she started moving my arm in a circle while I traced my name in the air.  She also worked on the  trigger points in my neck.  She warned me that I might feel a bit achy for a few days. 

I think it really worked.  My shoulders were much looser and I think I started standing up straighter.

Here is a link to Maria's ebook on water therapy.

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