Sun & Wind Therapy

June 25, 2018

Earlier this year there was a fundamental shift in the structure of my body. I knew something had happened as I felt so different, but I wasn’t exactly sure what had gone on. I was experiencing a deeper level of mobility which was particularly noticeable in my lower spine, sacrum and pelvis. The lumbar sacral junction, which had been disconnected for so long had suddenly grown so strong. Not by chance I might add, but through many hours of work. When I say disconnected we are talking about an extremely weak joint between the lumbar and sacral sections of the spine and a loss of connectivity between the elements of the body above and below that level. For so long the vertebrae in the sacrum were very much locked together and now they had regained a mobility I’d all but forgotten about. In turn the pelvis had gained volume and I had greater strength and mobility in the hips. This is really helping me to move around with ease. For years the only way to move around, without a wheelchair of course, was to physically lift one leg and move it, then the other leg, then my body and repeating the process. This has slowly improved over the years as strength has returned and I gained more and more ability to move my legs independently until now I find I can pretty much dispense with the need to use my arms in assisting with lifting the legs. This one’s worth a video blog but that will have to wait. Although the improvements in the lower spine and pelvis were the most noticeable, they were far from the only increase in mobility. My whole body seemed more connected and mobile at a deeper intrinsic level.

It wasn’t until May that I went for my bi-annual visit to ABR Belgium to meet up with Leonid Blyum and was interested to hear his take on what had changed. A quick feel of my body and he realised there had been a dramatic improvement in the connection of the flesh to the bones and this was throughout the whole body, the arms, legs and trunk. It’s funny how our perceptions of the same fundamental shift can be so different. From an external viewpoint his trained eye sees the structural changes, whereas from my internal perception I appreciate the resulting functional improvements and often miss the structural changes they have resulted from, until they are pointed out to me.

The structural shift has been brilliant, but as with many changes in the body it hasn’t come without its difficulties. As a result of the improved connection of the flesh to the bones, and believe me the flesh used to slide around on top of the bones, there has been a freeing off of the dermal layers. The layers of skin had been clamped together, so to speak, in order to compensate for the lack of stability from the disconnection of the flesh to the bones. This freeing off in turn resulted in renewed lymphatic activity in the skin and the need to discharge the toxins that had been unable to be removed from clamped up skin layers. It started with a rash on the back of my hands and ended up with a breakdown of the skin there and six weeks of weeping hands. I’ve never known anything like it. An absolute outpouring from the body of all that had built up in the skin over years of inactivity there.

Getting the skin to heal up and grow strong again has been proving difficult, but a long weekend break camping in Denge Marsh has helped move it forward enormously. The camping trip also allowed me to realise just how much this shift in my body has brought improvements to a way of life. I’ve always loved camping ever since I was a kid, when our parents used to take us on three week long camping holidays each summer, but until now camping as a paraplegic has been a damage limitation exercise. Great fun but I’d go home depleted and with a real need to spend extra attention looking after myself. This time, however, I took everything in my stride. I went on my own, or rather myself and my two dogs, to explore Denge Marsh in Kent, an area on the Dungeness peninsula rich in aquatic bird life, not to mention the Marsh Frogs croaking at night around the lake next to the campsite. I loaded the van with my Tramper (a fairly all terrain mobility scooter) and all my camping gear, including everything necessary to cook over a real fire, and managed to pitch my tent in the wind and set up the camp with ease. I spent the best part of four days exploring the area, including the local pubs of course, cooking, eating and living outdoors and lazing around with my dogs when the time came to rest. The sun was out each day and there’s plenty of wind blowing across the Dungeness headland. I could tire of the wind if I spent too much time there but the wind has a real spirit to it. Relaxation combined with ‘sun and wind therapy’ worked wonders for my hands and having the ability, and energy, to take everything in my stride made it all very enjoyable and I came home invigorated. All spring I’ve had plenty of energy and a stamina I haven’t known for years. I’ve got so many jobs done around the garden and smallholding, but it wasn’t until I went camping that I realised just how greatly this fundamental shift in my body has improved my life.

There’s much more work to do and many more structural improvements to build within my body, but as those major structural changes occur I get exited for the future.


Breathing – the Great Driver

May 17, 2018


The third commandment in the book of Exodus is, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain’. I was brought up with Church and Sunday School and we were taught that this meant that you shouldn’t use the name of God as an exclamation or, when we got older, worse still to swear. But in ancient Judaism, where the commandments originated, it went much further than that. The name of their God, ‘Jaweh’, could not even be spoken. God did not live in the words of man as an abstract concept, but was the very life of man. ‘Jaweh’ is the sounds of the breath. ‘Ja’ (pronounced ‘ya’) the in breath and ‘weh’ (pronounced ‘whey’ or ‘way’) the out breath; try it and you’ll see what I mean. So God lives in the breath. In Ancient Greece the word for breath is ‘pneuma’ and the same word was also used to mean ‘spirit’.

In the past breathing was obviously highly venerated, but it’s easy, in our time, to take breathing for granted. It happens naturally. In certain activities, singing, the playing of wind instruments, sports, yoga, the breath is focused upon and utilized, but most of the time we give it little thought and yet if you try to hold your breath you realize what a powerful force is behind it. It is impossible to stop breathing. With practice you can hold your breath for a long time, but eventually you are forced to breath. The human will is not strong enough to overcome the spirit of breathing.

Jesus was wrapped in ‘swaddling clothes’, but today this is a lost art. People like to encourage their babies to use their limbs whereas with swaddling (wrapping the body of a baby up with a length of cloth) the limbs are bound to the body preventing their use. This is because primary development does not happen through conscious effort, but through the unconscious rhythm of the breath. By wrapping a baby, the movements of the breath are reflected, by the tension in the cloth wrapping, back into the body, so making full use of the breath to work the structure and develop core strength in the trunk.

Not only does breathing play a huge part in the development of a strong body in babies, it also , in the same manner, contributes to the maintenance of our bodies throughout life. We think of exercise as physical activity, but our breath is constantly exercising the core of our bodies while we rest. However, when a body is as badly damaged as mine was, the core structure is so depleted that breathing not only fails to contribute to the maintenance of health, it can actually become a negative influence. To understand this we need to understand the nature of how we breathe.

For quite some years now I have spent time focusing on my breath, feeling for the rhythmical expansion and contractions and seeing how it has changed over the years. To start with this was very difficult, due in part to the fact that the rhythm wasn’t working properly in my depleted core structure, but even now that we are getting closer to finalising the rebuilding of my trunk and the natural rhythm has returned, it is still difficult to appreciate. As soon as we focus on our breathing we bring conciousness into breathing which overrides that natural unconscious rhythm making it impossible to truly observe in ourselves. However, if we breathe gently it is possible to gain an understanding, through observation, of the rhythmical expansion and contraction of all five chambers of the trunk. Breathing is a process whereby air is drawn into the lungs by the expansion of the chest, but we must not see it as an act of the chest alone. The entire trunk plays its part in breathing. The trunk is made up of three convex sections to which limbs are attached, the head, the chest and the pelvis, and yes our head does have a pair of limbs; they are the two halves of our jaw fused together at the front. These three sections are connected by the two concave sections, the neck and the abdomen. The convex forms expand and contract in a vertical direction, while the concave expand and contract in a horizontal direction, in a radial manner (please see fig. A). The abdomen, and even the pelvis, play a considerable role in assisting the expansion of the chest and although the head and the neck play less of a role in this respect, their expansion opens up the airways allowing for the inflow of air.

As fascinating as the manner in which air is inhaled and exhaled is, what I find even more fascinating is manner in which this unconscious rhythm maintains the capacity in our bodies. The rhythmical pulsation of the structure constantly works the internal tissues to maintain their strength and form. The trunk with its five sections is essentially a pneumatic structure; not that it contains air as the lungs do when inflated, but that it has a volume, a density and a pressure as a container of air with an elastic membrane would, ie. a balloon. If the living nature is allowed to decline then the density and pressure will decrease and, in conformity with Boyle’s Law, the volume will increase. If there is further decline then the volume will also decrease. This can be seen by simply observing those around you. We all live less than perfect lives and many end up with expanded bellies. In those that are very weak we can see there is no volume to them.

Comparison of healthy torso with the depletion in a paraplegic

With an injury as drastic as breaking your back, the quality just drops away. With the trauma of the accident there is a shutting down and then because of the seriousness of the injury and the following weeks of bed rest (ten in my case) the body doesn’t get to start up again. This results in a terrible depletion of the trunk. The inner capacity is lost. You end up with a body that has no volume to it let alone density and pressure and this is both above as well as below the level of paralysis. My chest had no more depth than the width of my arm and my abdomen had so little quality that you could feel my spine through my belly. The pelvis had collapsed to have virtually no inner volume at all. Even the head and the neck do not escape this depletion. With the head being a bony structure it is not so obvious, but the occipital region in particular, at the posterior base of the skull, was collapsed in.

The quality of the internal organs was so low that it is amazing that metabolism, digestion and even breathing could continue to function. More importantly, without that the capacity to the trunk you have no foundation of strength and this is the primary essence of paraplegia and the real barrier to recovery. The quality has fallen to the point that breathing is disrupted and can no longer work to maintain, let alone build, capacity. Rather than operating in a vertical manner, the chest expanded and contracted in a horizontal fashion and the bottom third of the chest belonged to the abdomen, as shown by the dotted line in fig. B. Although the internal diaphragm existed to separate the chest and abdomen, in the bio-mechanical working of the cavities the division had shifted. Breathing did not work down into the pelvis whatsoever. Not only was the pelvis getting no inputs from breathing, with the chest working in the wrong direction breathing had become counter productive to the maintenance of internal capacity.

The quality of my body had fallen beyond the point of no return, in any natural manner, so in order for it to recover we have had to deliver mechanical inputs by hand to rebuild that primary structure. This we have been doing over many years now and slowly but surely the power of the breath has returned. For some time now the division between the chest and the abdomen has been back to the diaphragm, where it belongs, and finally breathing is working down into the pelvis in a manner that is truly working that structure to increase its volume. Breathing is a long way from taking over from the need for ABR therapy, but with sixteen breaths per minute that is 23,000 inputs per day or 8 million a year, It is now a huge contributor.

The great driver is back!



May 13, 2018

FacebookImageDespite the best intentions I have only managed to write two blog posts this year. I’ve been distracted by yet another big challenge in waking up this body of mine. A loosening off of the dermal layers resulted in renewed lymphatic activity causing a problem with discharge through the skin on the hands and arms.. It all sounds quite scary, but is actually good news, although it has been a struggle to deal with. I’ll endeavour to write more about this transformation in a blog post. Just as importantly, I’ve been diverted to setting up a Spinalroots Facebook page. Far more people read my blog through Facebook links than actually sign up, so it’s an important media and Facebook posts attract more viewers than will ever follow a link to my blog. So if you’re interested to watch the videos I’ve posted then click on the image below to get directed to the Spinalroots Facebook page.


Blog post on ‘breathing’ to be published this week.


Cheap and Weak

February 18, 2018

I went out for a drink last night with a friend of mine. I picked her up in my van and we drove to a little village pub. We bumped into an old acquaintance of hers, who was an interesting guy, and had a good social evening. I’ve never liked driving to pubs in the past. I’ve never felt comfortable drinking while knowing I have to drive afterwards, but I care less and less for alcohol and find that it more and more interferes with a way of health and my mission to heal this body of mine, so I didn’t mind driving last night. This leaves me with a dilemma though. There is only so long you can make the one pint last that ensures you definitely stay below the moral and legal limit of alcohol for driving and yet how do you partake in the activity of social drinking without beer?

I’m a real ale drinker and, although I can enjoy a glass of red wine, I wouldn’t entertain any other drinks in the pub. Grains have been brewed for time immemorial to produce wonderful health giving drinks and our traditional English ales are still served as live beers, full of those friendly bacteria from the fermentation culturing of malted barley grains, so good for our bodies. I am quite convinced that the regular consumption of real ale has contributed to the good health I have normally enjoyed over the years. The damage I have struggled with from accidents being another story altogether. For the last twenty one years I have had a supra-pubic catheter (a tube inserted straight into the bladder just above the pubic bone) as I have not been able to control my bladder since suffering a spinal injury. Last year I was struggling with complications due to my injury and following an operation in hospital I got a urine infection, the only one I have ever had. My doctor was very surprised that, having been catheterized all these years, I had never had a urine infection before and told me to carry on with whatever I had been doing to live infection free for so long. My health has now recovered from last years setback and I am sure that flushing my body through with health giving real ale will happily help keep any potential infection at bay for years to come, the only trouble being that I enjoy the thirst quenching beer but want only limited amounts of alcohol.

The culturing of grains, fruits and roots is an age old craft. Yeast fermentation produces alcohol but there is another fermentation process, that of ‘lacto-fermentation’. This is an anaerobic fermentation that turns sugars into lactic acid and is actually where soft drinks began. Dandelion and burdock was originally a drink made by lacto-fermenting the roots and this is just one of many traditional lacto-fermented sodas. Unfortunately, live fermented sodas, with all their wonderful health giving properties, did not lend well to the large scale centralized production of an industrial age and so our soft drinks were corrupted by the application of science and technology in the pursuit of profit. What were once live health giving drinks became dead sugary carbonated drinks that subtract from our health. Neither has beer been immune from the rigours of an industrial age. Traditional live real ale has clung on but most lagers and keg bitters, together with ciders, are pasteurised and carbonated to ensure a regular product that keeps longer and travels further. These too are devoid of their once health giving properties.

Lacto-fermentation is experiencing a revival but as yet this is only in small circles and is a long way from becoming a national trend. I believe that as we move towards a more local way of living we will see such drinks return to our pubs, but it would be a wild dream to think that this is going to happen any time soon. We could, however, have weaker real ales. Some years ago I remember a small local brewery brewing a beer with 2.8 percent alcohol. It was lovely to be able to have a thirst quenching drink at lunchtime without the alcohol clouding the afternoon’s work. I don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect breweries to produce beer as low as 2 percent while still retaining depth of flavour and this brings me on to how this could help revive a social way in this land.

I have been a frequenter of pubs since my sixteenth birthday and am old enough to have caught the tail end of our civilization when public houses were the social hubs of our communities. They were adult establishments, often largely male and very oriented towards beer. Those that frequented them were patrons and in your local you tended to know most of them. I have always regarded a local pub as an extension of my living room; communal houses. These days it is very different. I can go down to my local pub and find myself sitting on my own with no one to talk to. There may be plenty of people, but they tend to be sitting with the select group they entered the pub with. Pubs have lost their sense of social cohesion. This is partly due to the changing nature of man; we have all become so much the individuals within us, but I believe it is also due to society’s approach to what a pub is. Every aspect of life has slowly but surely been monetised and we can’t suddenly move away from that, but where money, that great driving force behind the building of civilization, was once the facilitator of a social way of public houses, our pubs have now become businesses managed in the pursuit of profit. Where once we were patrons now we are customers. Social cohesion does not fit into the business model and rather then money facilitating, it has become the high price of drinks that keeps many out of the pubs.

I never think we should stand in the way of change, but we must always ensure that change is taking us in the right direction. That adult male drinking culture that went hand in hand with a hard working industrial society had to evolve into a more family friendly social way, but instead of evolving we just seem to be losing our social way of pubs. One in three have closed since the 1970’s and many that are left have become virtually restaurants. With the decline of our pubs, and their persistence with strong alcohol, I am in danger of finding myself socially excluded. Of course I can evolve, but I don’t think I am alone in feeling the desire to be able to pop down to my local pub and enter into a social way with other members of the local community and in so doing have a health giving drink at a price I can afford.

Beer needs to be ‘Cheap and Weak’. If it is live beer brewed at 2 percent and reclassified as a health drink then any taxation as a drug will disappear. We could all afford to re-engage in social drinking and have a few pints and still be safe and legal to drive. Money will start to flow over the bars in our local pubs again and they won’t feel the need for ever more fanciful titles in the food menu, nor will it stop the sale of strong alcohol for those wishing to indulge. So raise a glass to a new era of social drinking. Cheers!


Sailing Close to the Wind

January 10, 2018

I had my 50th Birthday just before New Year and we tend to celebrate the decades as extra special. Decimalization began in the Arabic world and then with the Reformation, the mathematics and science of the Islamic scholars was incorporated into the Alchemical Christian tradition of Western Europe. The two streams of Christianity and Islam combined to build the civilization of our time; a civilization that glorifies science and technology and the numerical system of base ten. If Napoleon had his way we would all be living a ten day week, but luckily he failed and we still get a weekend every seven days. The human being works in seven day periods, ten days would be too long to work without a days rest, and likewise our lives evolve in seven year periods and not decades.

Much has been said by many people about the first three periods of seven years of life, but as a very brief overview, from birth to seven we develop our physical body and then at the change at age seven we gain our adult teeth. From seven to fourteen we start to gain knowledge as our education begins, then at puberty we enter the third period from fourteen to twenty one when we apply our knowledge into developing thoughts and ideas. At twenty one we have developed our ego and can move into the world as adult human beings and this is when talk of those periods of seven tends to stop, but the reality is that life carries on in seven year periods of development.

In my life those periods have been clearly defined with the turning points being marked by accidents and injuries that have always thrown me headlong into the next phase of life. My twenty first birthday was spent on crutches having been knocked off of a bicycle and run over by a car which had a profound affect on the following years. Barely off of crutches I got back to college, caught up on the work I’d missed and threw myself into life, refusing to allow the injuries to my body to hold me back. It didn’t last, though, and by the time I finished college two and a half years later, I was exhausted both physically and mentally. I didn’t lose my thirst for life, I never have, but at the same time I saw the darkness and the harshness of our world, was disillusioned with the ways of society and had no real desire to enter into the manufacturing industry I was trained to work in. My 25th Birthday was the lowest day of my life, but also a turning point. I was struggling to even walk to the pub and my self medication with alcohol and cannabis wasn’t working, but I turned things around, got back to physiotherapy class once a week, joined a yoga class and learnt how to use a body to cope with the damage, taking it to the extreme of walking miles through our countryside barefooted (See my early blog post, ‘The Art of Walking’ for more).

I believe I did well to overcome the issues of my twenties and experience has taught me that what we learn and how we evolve is far more important that what we do. At the age of twenty eight, the beginning of the 5th seven year period of life, I didn’t know what to do and despite my education was turning my hand to being a labourer to make ends meet. This is when fate played its hand to spring me into that 5th period of life and in the most dramatic way. I was driving a dumper truck up a steep slope and managed to turn it over, crushing myself underneath and seriously damaging my spine, leaving me paralysed from the waist down. This was hard to come to terms with, but the experience of my twenties held me in good stead and somehow I managed to avoid falling into despair. In fact I started to experience the compassionate side of life and see beyond the darkness of that 4th period. I created new opportunities for myself, a life in Brockham, a move to The Lodge at the Cheshire Home in Copthorne and then towards the end of the period I met Leonid Blyum and embarked upon ABR Therapy. The period was marked throughout by new hope.

Then at the age of thirty five my thirst for life got the better of me and, following a holiday to the West Country on a motorcycle and sidecar, I got a pressure sore. It was serious and threatened everything I’d worked for and was almost more frightening than breaking my back. It was the turning point that threw me into the 6th period of life. We healed it, as well as was possible at the time bearing in mind that my body was still very lifeless and had yet to be woken up at a deeper pelvic level. Life continued, with vibrance, albeit on a new tack and that 6th period of seven years was marked by the building of a home and smallholding while incorporating a therapy regime into a way of life.

The turning point at forty two seemed to come two years early. My first dog had died the year before and I got myself a husky. I live on a set of wheels and wanted an engine. At a year old she started working hard and pulled me along in a wheelchair. It’s great to have a dog taking the strain, but it did get a little dodgy at times and I kind of expected, sooner or later, that the wheelchair would catch and I would get pulled out onto the ground. I could have coped with the grazes and bruises, but never expected to get catapulted into the air. I’d made the mistake of tying the dog round my waist instead of onto the wheelchair which somehow caused me to pivot up on the end of the rope. I found myself so high in the air that I was never going to land without hurting myself. I managed to bend my right leg up but my left leg stayed straight and landing on my left foot with all my weight broke my tibia and fibula in two. I healed well, as I always do, but had to make some changes. I got the husky working with my handcycle, much safer, and this embarked me on seven years of handcycling round the farm lanes. As I said, it’s not what we do that’s important, but those times of being towed along single track farm lanes where you rarely meet a car were times of real contemplation and life turned more to spiritual development after the last three periods of soulfulness.

The seventh period (42 to 49) may well have turned to spiritual development but those years seemed quite a slog and towards the end I began to question where I was going in life, not with the therapy, but with where I lived and what else I did with my life. Then at the age of forty nine the old wound from the pressure sore, that had opened up sometime earlier in a new phase of deeper healing, got infected. The infection rapidly took hold and I ended up with Founier’s gangrene (see my blog post, ‘Ravaged by Infection). The eighth peiod of life had begun!

I’m not a sailor, but I’ve sailed to France on a Tall Ship and tacking back across the Channel was a great experience. Life is a journey tacking to and fro as the wind blows from the side. At the beginning of each period life turns and then you either lean into the wind or run with the wind behind you. This time, as usual, I tacked a little too far, sailed too close to the wind and the turn was rough, but as each time before I seem to have made the tack and not only come through it in one piece, but with a new impetus to take life forward. While lying in a hospital bed last year I sold my geese and some of my sheep, but I ended the year with the garden looking better than ever, the log shed full to the brim to last the winter, my Soay sheep in good shape and an enthusiasm for a new poultry project this year. I spent a month in hospital between last February and March and then another week in hospital in the autumn having the colostomy reversed, but in between I got the Spinalroots fund raising project off the ground, with the help of my good friend David Sheppard, and undertook my first public speaking at a golf day. I hope there’ll be more.

The gangrene took its toll on me, but I ended the year with a greater level of pelvic development. The whole episode was about awakening at a deeper level, both physically and spiritually. I have a bum on me like I haven’t seen for many years and my sitting interface is truly developing. I was missing a chunk of flesh where they cut the rot out of me, but I’ve been working hard to stimulate new growth and I’m a good half way to filling in the hole.

I’ve bounced back well and the doubts about where I’m going in life have passed. The country way of life is all about finding the help you need and I have good friends around me and I never mind paying a young lad to do the hard graft. Therapy work is going from strength to strength and having made the tack I feel like I’m sailing with the wind behind me.


Competitive, Co-operative

November 22, 2017

When I saw Leonid Blyum the other weekend, he talked to me about his latest thoughts on the understanding of his therapy work. Although the essence of ABR Therapy remains the same as it was when I started, it has evolved over the years both in further understanding the nature of how severe disability impacts upon the physical human body and in the techniques used to address deficiencies resulting from the disability. For me, my time with ABR therapy has been an education and a learning curve.

Some years ago I wrote a blog post entitled, ‘The Four Elements’ in which I talked about our bodies as possessing a core pneumatic structure, surrounded by an hydraulic skeletal structure, upon which is attached our muscular structure. The terms pneumatic and hydraulic are applied conceptually and however much they describe the essence of the body they are not quantities that can be measured, but qualities, which is something material science finds very difficult to embrace and living in a time when material science is so dominant it is difficult to be taken seriously unless you fall in line with the scientists.

That is not to say that ABR Therapy is not scientific, it most certainly is. Everything we do has a strong theoretical basis. Just as in all science, we start with theories that are tested in practice. We do not always know how the body will respond to certain inputs and some approaches are purely experimental, but by and large we target a specific area over a period of time with predictable results.

The difficulty with portraying to people the therapy work is that, in talking in concepts, it is easy to make it sound all a bit wishy washy and fanciful which doesn’t give Advanced Bio-Mechanical Rehabilitation the credibility it deserves. However, focusing on the balance between the competitive and co-operative elements seems to bring a more tangible portrayal.

Our skeletal muscles work in a ‘agonistic – antagonistic’ system. This is the age old understanding of the muscular skeletal system and generally speaking models of how the body works go no further than this. Such a system is competitive and any weaknesses in the system, providing they are not too great, will be compensated for by this competitive nature.

This model of the body, however, is very limited and excludes so much that must surely be of importance. Firstly there is the volumetric aspect, that inner volume and intrinsic capacity that I have previously talked much about, which when depleted gives rise to compressional weakness. The model incorporates the longitudinal aspect of the skeletal muscles, but not the radial aspect of the smooth muscle tissue. There is no account taken of the joint capsules. No account of all the attachments of the flesh to the bones. The skin, with its associated fat layer, the largest organ of the body, is totally omitted from the model. All of these structural aspects, that are included in the ABR model, are co-operative. They all contribute to the overall structure and function of the body in a co-operative manner. Without these co-operative structures it is impossible for the muscles to function in any meaningful manner. Without inner volume, which is made up largely of smooth muscle tissue, we have no foundation for our muscular skeletal system. Without good hydraulic pressure in the joint capsules our joints are weak and painful limiting our movement. Without attachments of the flesh to the bones there can be no divisions between the segments of the body and without that outer covering of skin and fat we have no way of interacting with the friction world.

In a spinal injury, as well as loss of muscles from the nerve damage, we recognise the catastrophic collapse of the core structures of the body, encompassing a loss in all these co-operative elements. With the loss of the muscles we have nothing to work upon. They are paralysed due to nerve damage in the spinal cord and addressing that damage we have to put in the miracle category. The scientists are fond of working on miracle cures, but despite many years research, have not yet made any significant progress in repairing the spinal cord. However, none of the co-operative elements rely upon that central nervous connection to the brain and so do not share that same barrier to recovery as the skeletal muscles.

Through ABR Therapy we address all these co-operative elements using smart tools which utilize the properties of modern polymers to deliver mechanical stimulation which can bring life back to dormant structures. By bringing to life and strengthening these co-operative elements we can bring form back to the body which in turn brings a return of feeling and even muscular function. My spinal cord was very badly damaged and I have to accept that my muscles may never be as strong as they once were, but by focusing on the co-operative elements we are proving that there is enormous scope for recovery from spinal injury.


Conversation with Leonid Blyum

October 14, 2017


Post Script:  Operation to reverse the colostomy, which was necessary in the first place to keep the wound clean, is now complete and I’m back in one piece.


Bouncing Back

August 11, 2017

The ability of the human to bounce back from adversity never ceases to amaze me. The human spirit can endure enormous hardship and the body too can come back from the serious problems of physical damage. With regard to what I wrote about in Ravaged by Infection, I really thought I’d blown it earlier this year. I was in a bad way and could have come out of it an awful lot worse, but as it was I’ve not only bounced back, I’m doing better than ever!

Damage to the body, however, never comes without long term consequences. As a result of having infected flesh dug out of me I’m left with a little missing padding on my sitting bone. If my pelvis was still lifeless as it was for many years after spinal injury then this would have been seriously worrying, but as it is my pelvis is more alive than ever and I’m coping extremely well. I’ve began to think that this new found life in my pelvis was actually a part of what caused the problem. This may sound strange, but I’ll explain my thinking. I had an old wound on my backside. Fourteen years old to be precise and some time ago this opened up in a new phase of deeper healing as my body in general was coming back to life. It was then left with a tiny vent to the surface. The body is very clever and has its own healing strategies, but when you’re living in a depleted condition these strategies can sometimes fail. I’ve talked before about the Exposure of Weakness as the body comes to life, with the opening up of the structure and the exposing of weaknesses that have been locked in for a long time. This can make you feel suddenly physically weaker, but once exposed that weakness will soon strengthen allowing you to discover a new found strength. The difference in this case is that the newly exposed weakness was vented to the surface. This made it very vulnerable to the infection that rapidly took hold in me. So ironically the improvement in structure caused the body’s healing strategy to fail. I’m working hard with therapy techniques to get the body to fill in that missing flesh, but it’s quite a challenge, although one that I have every hope in succeeding in.

I have to accept that the path I travel is never easy and all I can do is keep moving onwards and upwards. Despite the hiccup in progress this year I’ve bounced back with such vigour that I seem to be progressing faster than ever. We are still ironing out the deficiencies and deformities at the very core of my body, but finally after all these years the back is starting to really develop. Developing the back is about drawing the spine back out of the body, or we can look at it as expanding the trunk, repositioning the spine and reforming the curve to the back. Either way it is about bringing dormant structure back to life allowing the body to spring back into shape. When I began this therapy my body was so collapsed upon itself that my bottom rib actually sat below the top of my pelvis. These days I have a good waist to me with successive waves of volume and consolidation producing a firmer denser structure, resulting in greater stability and improved digestive health. My pelvis has so much more volume than it had. There was a time when it didn’t really have volume it was so collapsed and lifeless, but now it has more and more capability to support the use of the legs, not to mention the increasing volume of the buttocks. And the legs themselves are looking much better as a consequence of all these improvements. The knee joints are shaping up, the ankles have better mobility and despite how skinny they still are, the legs get more and more muscle bulk to them. This summer I’ve had no problems with my feet swelling up.

Most people want to measure progress in terms of improved function, while I get excited about the improvements in structure and form. It is these structural improvements that bring about a better quality of life and increased comfort in simply being in this world. As a natural consequence my ability to move the body slowly improves. I could push the standing and attempt to walk in parallel bars, but this would do me no favours at all. We must continue to work on those structural improvements. Each night when going to bed I crawl up between the bed and shelving unit and come upright into high kneeling position before lifting myself onto the bed. This is when I notice that my body is slowly straightening up. There is, however, still too much arching of the lumbar spine. The position is too challenging for the body and we need to continue to build the capacity in the trunk before high kneeling can become effective exercise. It’s coming though, slowly but surely.

Many live in hope of a cure for spinal injury, but to me this neither pays attention to the terrible structural collapse of a spinally injured body nor respects the wonder of the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Through the therapy work, we do not heal the body, we give the body the impetus it needs to vitalise its own healing ability. It’s not a miracle cure we need, it’s a greater understanding of the miraculous nature of the human body and its ability to ‘bounce back’.


Five Years & Funding

June 12, 2017

In March 2001 I embarked upon ABR Therapy, having come across Leonid Blyum and his work a few months before. Sixteen years later we have transformed my body and every hour spent working at the therapy has been worth it, and believe me I have put in at least 1,000 hours a year for each of those years. I was never promised a miracle, there are no miracle cures, and it was made clear from the start that changes are seen in hundreds of hours of work. When I started this process I never really thought about how long I would be pursuing it for and, because I have always continued to make slow but steady progress, I’ve kept plugging away year after year. Last year I lost my little part-time job as the Secure Unit for Children that I worked at was restructured leaving no room for my involvement. Since then I’ve relished the extra time I have to concentrate on my therapy work, but paying people to work on me costs considerable money and I’m missing the income from the job, however small it was. What savings I had when I started this therapy are all but depleted and so I have had to think about raising some funds. This, in turn, has led me to think about how much longer I will be continuing the therapy work.

I honestly believe that walking again is an achievable reality. Right now I can support my weight through my legs with a good handhold, which in itself is a major achievement, and what must be appreciated is the enormous rebuilding of collapsed structure necessary to achieve that and the resulting improvements in quality of life. The more those primary structures are rebuilt, the more the body’s natural healing processes come back into play creating a momentum of its own. I may be pursuing ABR Therapy, at some level, for many years to come, but I have to set myself a realistic target and I’ve decided that I need another five years to get up on my feet again. By achieving that I should then be able to gain the recognition that this work deserves and take my mission to a new level whereby others can benefit from this pioneering therapy.

So March 2022 is the target for graduation. It seems a long way off, but there’s no time to lose. I’m working harder than ever and am consistently pleased with progress. Over the last month I’ve felt the connections of the shoulders, to both the spine and the sternum, improving, giving greater stabilisation of the whole shoulder girdle. You may ask what that has to do with getting on my feet again, but I can assure you that all this structure needs rebuilding before the trunk can support the use of the legs. In order to achieve this target I’m looking at raising £8,000 per year for the next five years to cover the cost of employing my therapists.

Below is my fund-raising literature together with a link to the pdf file should you wish to read, download and print it. Paper copies can also be sent on request. Any support you can give me will be greatly appreciated and please share this literature wherever you can; a poster in your workplace, link on your Facebook page etc.

Funding Poster

‘Click Here’ to Download Pdf

Healing and the NHS

May 4, 2017

I didn’t mention in the last post that while in hospital I also ended up with a pressure sore just below the base of my spine. It was more a cavity than your average pressure sore and considering that it happened so fast and in a fleshy part of the body, where it would be unusual to get a pressure sore, it may well have been infection that tracked round and rotted out a hole. Either way I was left with a cavity that needed healing and such wounds are notoriously slow to heal, if they do at all in bodies of depleted quality. On being discharged from hospital, the doctors expected it to take a good three months to heal. I, however, had no intention of it taking that long.

The day after arriving home I set to work applying a clapping technique to the buttock and tapping on the sacrum. Don’t be fooled by the casualness of the terms as both techniques are grounded in a sound scientific understanding of the workings of the body and require skill to deliver effectively. It’s not possible to work directly on the wound, but being at the edge of the buttock, by enlivening the tissue of the buttock this will directly influence the healing of the cavity. Likewise, being just below the sacrum, enlivening the sacrum will also impart into the cavity. The bones are not the inert structures that they’re often thought to be and in fact have a vibrance and quality that can be improved upon just as can the flesh of the buttock. Slowly the granulation (growth of the flesh) started and the cavity began to shrink and then as the healing got going it rapidly disappeared. One month after leaving hospital it has all healed.

I’ve also been applying the clapping technique to the pelvic floor where the wound from the operation is. This technique, just as its name implies, uses the open palm of the hand to clap the flesh. The art of the technique is in the looseness of the hand and wrist, and in fact the looseness of the whole arm, including elbow and shoulder. If there was any stiffness it would be a slap rather than a clap and would invoke a reaction at the surface. With the looseness (the hand effectively falling as dead weight) the impact will go deep, creating a suction force to draw up the juices and promote connection between the layers. We also use a good fluffy towel over the body, several layers thick, to amplify the inputs.

With regular twenty minute sessions the flesh sprang back to have a plumpness to it. There was a tenderness to the whole area, particularly around the sitting bone, but slowly the connections improved and the sensitivity eased somewhat. With slow steady improvement and increasing comfort, I noticed the other day that the scar line was breaking down at one point. It then opened up and there was a release of fluid; clear interstitial fluid. There was a lot of it as well. It came out in stages over a couple of days, the last stage being the most dramatic, and ended up in the flesh being very much consolidated. The plumpness that the tissue had before was soft and swollen, rather than firm, as the cells had swelled with fluid to protect the damage. As the connections improved, and the quality grew, the tissue no longer needed the swelling so the cells released their fluid into the spaces between them. The tissue was then like a sponge laden with water and the fluid slowly worked to the surface and found its way out of the body. Once this process had finished I noticed a dramatic shift in the quality of the pelvic floor. The flesh, no longer swollen, had a firmer quality to it and the tenderness at the bony level had suddenly reduced. I’m very pleased with how it is healing.

Before leaving hospital a doctor described to me the healing process, which didn’t include the release of fluid. He talked of a process beginning with the development of internal scar tissue, which goes on for months, followed by a long slow reorganization, bringing the tissue back into alignment in the structure, taking eighteen months to complete. It doesn’t have to be this way though. If the physical quality of the tissue is not addressed, through manual techniques, then because of the damage it will stay lifeless and all nature can do is create scar tissue to reconnect everything, but if the tissue is enlivened and the connection between the layers encouraged then it will heal without extensive scarring and in a relatively short period of time. I might add that many hours of work are necessary to achieve this, although the results are well worth the time and effort.

There are some things that the National Health Service is brilliant at, they’ve picked me up a couple of times and put me back together, but when it comes to the ‘art of healing’, the establishment has an awful lot to learn and I’m thankful that I don’t have to rely on them.