Part of my intensive series week is working with a man with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This very debilitating disease slowly robs a person of their movement. It affects the motor neurons so walking, moving, and even reaching for a phone can become a huge task. He came to me today for his first lesson in a series, and for purposes of internet privacy, we can call him “John.” John is already in a wheel chair and was driven here by his younger brother. Under my suggestion a couple of months ago, he ran his methylation pathway test, and it turns out as I thought that his methylation pathway is seriously compromised. We can clearly see how his body does not efficiently clean itself out all the way on a cellular level.
Together with his test results in hand, we went to a specialist who went through it in detail with us. Now, off some of his medications and on new DNA support supplements he is already improving. Can we cure ALS, no, that is not what we are looking for, but we are looking to increase his methylation abilities and therefore reduce overload to his body, nervous system and being. And as movement educators we can teach people to move with better quality, and our work goes deeply into the nervous system making changes. How far can we go to help someone is another question.
After settling in, I asked him what could I do for him today if possible? His response, “Help me to use my right hand again.”
Moshe Feldenkrais created thousands of specialized movement lessons, and one is called, “The Bell Lesson.” Amazing lesson in itself. Using this idea of helping John to be able to soften his already hardened hand and fingers and to create a sliding bell-like motion again and again along my movement lesson table, we might be able to stimulate the very old ancient part of his brain and nervous system. If we can go that far back, then just maybe we could slow down this modern day disease and maybe he could have his hand again and be able to use it as it is better designed. Maybe.
We worked and worked together to understand to feel a soft hand again, eventually getting there. With deep breath and sigh John could feel a real difference.
Eventually, I guided him through the movement of sliding contact that Ruthy Alon speaks about in use of self when movement is complicated. Here I had him sense and feel the ability to slowly begin sliding his fingers and hand along the table and to his side and up his leg.
You would think this is a simple thing to do, but even for the average person we tend to extend out thumb straight up into the air. With a lot of coaxing and trial and error, John eventually figured out how to coordinate his breath and soft sliding hand, with his thumb with all the other fingers.
Whilst you might think today’s small miracle was only in slight of hand, but wonder of wonder, in working this way, his neck became soft and he could easily roll his head easily side to side with no broken, jerky movements like in the beginning of our lesson.
Who would have thought that by working with softening the movement of our hands that we could equally effect that of our head and neck. What else? Voice? Walking? We’ll know more at our next sessions.