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Summer Road Trip 2004


Today is September 13th and I am still assimilating the most incredible 79 days I have ever experienced in my 61 years.

My wife and I had a “retirement dream” for the last thirty years: retire, buy a small RV, and tour the United States. We just lived that dream, but with a major “twist.” We bought a used, 21 foot Class C, fully self-contained, RV last October. In February, I posted on CEDA, stating our intention to take a summer tour around the country and asked “Who would like me to stop by and work on them?”

I further stated my interest in doing research on efficacy of various alternative bodywork therapies, especially the energetic modalities, as they relate to connective tissue disorders. My primary focus was pain management with a secondary focus on Fibromyalgia. My third, and for me probably the most important focus, was to do some “educating” along the way. I wanted to show as many people as possible how they could use these techniques to take back a small measure of control over their own health, with reduced reliance on surgeries and strong prescription medications.

One week before leaving home on June 21st, I had firm commitments from seven people to stop by. By the time we actually left, it was up to 11. After the first week on the road, requests had grown to 18. Original expectations were 80 days, 15-20 stop-bys, roughly 13,000 miles, and travel through one Canadian Province and 40 states at a cost of about $5,000. We also expected at least 50 days for personal “smelling the roses and seeing the sights.” By the time we got home, actual numbers were 79 days, two Provinces, the District of Columbia, 44 states, 18,000 miles, about 260 hours of “hands-on” work in 124 sessions, five days of “personal time” and a grossly over budget $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses.

I more than answered some of my questions, at least to my personal satisfaction. Bodywork in general and energetic modalities in particular are most emphatically effective in addressing chronic pain associated with EDS and other connective tissue disorders, many of the resulting side-effects of various medications, and the symptoms of related conditions.

Before discussing “results,” a few words about the modalities I experimented with over the summer and the general treatment session format. Foundation for all of the longer sessions was Jin Shin Do Acupressure. Intermixed with JSD, I used Polarity Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, Lymphatic Drainage Therapy, Directed Energy, Visceral Manipulation, and Therapeutic Touch as needed or warranted. I also used some standard Swedish treatment techniques for specific situations, although the majority of the work was done energetically.

Each session was unique to the individual I was working with. While there were common threads to all of them, the specifics were unique to the situation. These common threads were: (1) I blended modalities, (2) most of the work was done energetically, (3) sessions were long, running from two hours minimum up to four or five hours at a stretch, (4) I didn't work to a pre-conceived plan - I let the energy of the body under my hands guide me, and (5) I worked until I had the sense that everything that could be accomplished in that session had been accomplished, regardless of the time required.

My basic “release routine” evolved over the summer. By the end, I would start with an Acupressure calming/balancing hold at the base of the head, followed with a combination of craniosacral and polarity work on the head and neck. I then did a full body Acupressure release for the shoulders, back and lower body. I varied the routine by area depending on specific need. Examples are shoulder work for rotator cuff problems, frozen shoulder or thoracic outlet syndrome and specific releases for contracted lower back or PSOAS muscles if low back pain, the so-called one leg is shorter than the other syndrome, or severe lateral or medial rotation of the feet were involved. Other variations were Visceral Manipulation for problems like uterine or bladder prolapse or IBS. For Fibromyalgia, I added specific acupressure points to the basic routine. If indicated, I tested for and treated any spinal misalignments or subluxed ribs/vertebrae. On this note, all work was done energetically - NO thrust adjustments of any kind.

I am reasonably convinced that I got results that others do not for two primary reasons. The first is because I blend a very wide range of modalities in each session and am thus treating the body systemically instead of piecemeal. The second is because of session length. Not being limited to someone else's 50-minute time-clock, I can stay with a session until the work is done and not have the typical two steps forward and one step back problem faced by most therapists. By that, I mean significant results are frequently NOT achieved in the shorter time frames and whatever results are achieved are severely lessened by the rebound factor. Results are temporary at best because not enough time was allotted the first time around simply because of the limited time available.

And I most definitely got results, some of them so surprising that I would not have believed them myself had I not been there. With 124 sessions and 260 hours hands-on, there were far too many different conditions treated to detail everything here. But here is a brief summary of the most frequent and/or most notable cases.

Perceived pain levels were consistently and significantly reduced or eliminated. And cause of pain didn’t matter – headaches (including migraines), muscle pain, joint pain, TMJ, myofascial pain, bone pain. Regardless of pain cause, pain levels came down. Different techniques were used for different types of pain. I generally used Acupressure for headaches, Polarity Therapy (X technique) for joint pain, and Directed Energy for non-joint bone pain. Muscle or fascial pain was treated with either Acupressure or Polarity or both. I literally lost count of the number of times I heard “I had forgotten what it felt like not to hurt.”

In addition to dropping pain levels, significant results were also achieved in treating subluxations and dislocations. It is important to stress that ALL of this was done energetically. At no time were there ever any thrust adjustments or physical manipulations. Most of the “bone work” was done with Polarity Therapy but some was also done using Directed Energy or precision tuning forks. That’s right – tuning forks. I can’t even begin to guess at the number of vertebrae I adjusted. But when you figure two dozen vertebrae in a spine and at least a dozen full spinal adjustments on the trip (not counting individual vertebrae treated), the total was in the hundreds. Ribs? I estimate I put between four and five dozen back in. There were also three cases of full shoulder DISLOCATIONS that were successfully reduced using polarity. The wildest results involved congenital misalignments of the shoulders or hips. There were three instances of the joints in essence reseating themselves. And those results at last report have held. But by far the most incredible experience on the trip was working with someone with Cerebral Palsy and having the congenital postural misalignment change, along with the typical CP speech pattern. That result has also held and it was achieved using the forks.

Another particularly noteworthy result came from treating uterine and bladder prolapses with energetic Visceral Manipulation. The very first time I had ever even attempted it was at the EDNF conference in Buffalo. By the end of the trip, I had done two uterine prolapses and seven bladders. They were all done energetically and externally. There were no invasive internal manipulations as done with standard Osteopathic techniques, or even more invasive surgical procedures. A significant side benefit is that there were also no additional resulting scars or adhesions to cause more subsequent problems. Of even greater significance is the realization that these two organs are not simply suspended, unattached by or to anything, within the abdominal cavity; they are attached by ligaments to the abdominal wall. If they spontaneously “retracted” to their proper positions, they did so by a contraction of those same ligaments. The implications of having a ligament contract energetically are simply staggering. Think about it.

One very common complaint encountered on the trip was GERD – Acid Reflux disease. As my wife is fond of pointing out, the problem is only rarely one of excess production of stomach acid, yet that is the common treatment – medication to suppress production. This leads directly to unwanted side effects such as inadequate digestion and constipation which coincidentally (?) also leads directly to other medications to treat the side effects. There is a very simple Visceral Manipulation technique that anyone can be taught to use that stops the problem cold by changing the stretch angle of the esophagus and faulty valve. It can be done with the tip of a thumb or finger and in less than a minute. This treatment was performed and/or demonstrated several dozen times on the trip with uniformly successful results reported back.

I ran into too many cases of chronically tight muscles to even begin to list them all. Probably the most noteworthy would be tight Pectoralis Minor muscles (originate on the surfaces of ribs 4-6 and insert on the coracoid process of the scapula). This is noteworthy simply because of the number of cases of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome this causes and the frequency with which it is misdiagnosed as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is a very common postural problem for office workers or anyone spending long periods of time at a computer. Sound familiar to anybody out there? And yes, I ran into two cases on the trip where someone’s doctor had improperly misdiagnosed and was pushing for surgery. I’m sorry, but I think this is a totally unacceptable percentage for 124 sessions. The other particularly noteworthy one was chronically tight PSOAS muscles, some of them literally of years duration. This is noteworthy because it directly causes the “one leg is shorter than the other” syndrome if unilateral and the “tail tuck” pelvic tilt if bilateral. The almost universal chiropractic or osteopathic technique for either syndrome/condition is a forceful, lateral thrust adjustment of the pelvis, which totally misses the “cause” and just treats – temporarily – the symptom. It is so easy to treat energetically that I taught a twelve year old young lady in Alabama how to do it and she has subsequently been successfully treating her younger sisters as needed.

Almost without exception, I noticed that virtually everyone I worked on needed a cranial base release of the O-A joint at the base of the skull for tight neck muscles. Also almost without exception, everyone had a stuck sphenoid bone. A stuck sphenoid is important to treat because the rocking motion of the sphenoid with its articulation at the Occiput pumps the pituitary gland. This affects pituitary gland functioning which in turn directly affects the entire endocrine system.

But the biggest pleasant surprise of the trip was the opportunity to meet Dr. Clair Francomano with the NIH while at the Buffalo conference. And it wasn’t just the opportunity to meet her – it was having her sit in and observe one of the treatment sessions in Buffalo and then getting invited to Baltimore by her to attend some meetings on energy medicine. The meetings ended up being postponed but the time in Baltimore was not wasted. At her request, I ended up working on eight of her patients to see what, if anything, some of the energetic modalities might offer. It is too early to say more at this time, but there is definite interest on her part in developing a research protocol to compare efficacy of energetic bodywork to standard treatment procedures. This was definitely a high point of the trip for me.

While many questions I had WERE answered, many more remain and even more additional questions raised their heads along the way. There is absolutely ZERO doubt as to the efficacy of these modalities. Potential treatment benefits are enormous. Potential cost savings are also enormous. The next thing that absolutely MUST be done is to find some way to document results to the satisfaction of a hide-bound, resistant, medical establishment so these benefits can more fully enter the mainstream where they belong. That is the direction I am headed for the next trip through the Southwest that starts in about a week and the even longer trip that is planned for next spring and summer.

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