Posts Tagged ‘spine’



December 2, 2022

Five years ago I realised that the work I was doing with Leonid Blyum couldn’t just roll on forever. I was still making good progress, in fact more progress than ever, but it was important to work towards a new phase of both rehabilitation and life, so I set Easter 2022 as the date for graduation from the school of Advanced Bio-Mechanical Rehabilitation. At the time I had no idea what graduation would be and early this year, as the date rapidly approached, I still had no idea. I was however planning for change. I planned a public talk to both talk about all that I’d learnt and to see if somehow I could find inspiration or inspire people to help me launch a new way.

Interestingly, Leonid Blyum arranged to come and visit at Easter; the first time I’d seen him in England since 2003 and the only time he’s ever been to my house. I organised a graduation dinner at the pub with past and present therapists, my fund raising manager and a good mate who supports me. Leonid is certainly not a socialite and it took some persuading for him to come to the dinner, but all went well and it was a good way to celebrate our achievements and bring an era to a close. The venue was booked for my talk and flyers printed so it was also an occasion to announce my next move, not that I knew at the time where it was leading. Twenty one years of working under Leonid’s guidance and twenty one years of my front room as a therapy studio had come to an end.

The day of the talk came and it was a little nerve racking, although I was well prepared and so pleased with how it went. I managed to capture the audiences attention and there was good interest with questions and discussion afterwards. Out of the talk came a few good connections and possibilities including an osteopath who offered to treat me. He was obviously interested in what I had to say and his input in the questions and discussion that followed intrigued me so I decided to take him up on his offer, having little idea of what he could do for me.

My first treatment was at the end of May and I was shocked at the result. The feeling of euphoria was incredible. It was as though I could feel every articulation in the spine. So much had been unlocked and opened up. By the evening of the following day my spine was feeling terribly weak and fragile. So much had been exposed that now had to strengthen. I couldn’t resist getting my vibration massage gun out and working along the spine. It helped enormously. After a few days when things started to strengthen there were obvious improvements after only one treatment. I started seeing the osteopath every two weeks, each time with great results.

It took twenty one years working under Leonid Blyum’s guidance to rebuild sufficient underlying structure for me to move onto a new phase. Without all that we had achieved I don’t think the osteopath could have worked his magic. There is little he could have done when the spine was still a column floating around in the body playing little functional role whatsoever. In rebuilding the underlying structure we brought the spine back into play, transforming it from a flat plant like form to the primary curve of the animal and eventually to the super curve of the human. My body was beginning to look and feel normal and my functional ability had improved enormously. By the early part of this year, although I was still slowly improving through Leonid’s techniques, I was beginning to feel like the work was coming to a natural conclusion and that I was hitting a brick wall that I couldn’t move beyond. Unbeknown to me my spine was still off the rails and the vertebrae needed bringing into alignment and there was much more development to come in improving the curves.

Osteopathy has brought my spine back on track and the curves have improved beyond measure. To start with it felt really strange having such a curve to the lumbar spine, almost unnatural, but as I continue to improve it feels more and more normal. What is more my body has become integrated and I have truly come into my limbs. By unlocking the spine my limbs have become integrated with the underlying structure. I am becoming more and more upright and more naturally in that form rather than having to hold myself through my will. There is profound change taking place in the pelvis and hips with both structural and neurological improvements.

Some of the osteopathic treatments have provoked dramatic reactions while with others the reactions were more subtle, but all have created incredible improvements. Six months later my body is still absorbing his inputs and transforming week by week. The latest improvement is in the curve of the back, the dorsal (or thoracic) spine. The defining characteristic of paraplegia is the missing back and although we massively improved the depth there through the years of pursuing Advanced Bio-Mechanical Rehabilitation there was still more to come. There was too much of a curve at the top of the spine and then it fell away. We are slowly improving this and after the last treatment I felt for the first time like I really have a back to me. I can’t describe how exciting this is.

With the integration of my body I can now work into the system through movement exercises. For all these years it was not possible, or at least extremely difficult, to create formative inputs through the functional use of the body. All of a sudden I have the ability to continue to improve the form of the body through my own conscious effort in the form of movements. I’m not talking high intensity exercise through muscular effort, I’m talking Bothmer style exercises with slow controlled movements capable of being formative, capable of working into, and continuing to reform, the structure of the body.

What I really developed through Leonid Blyum’s work is the passive structure of the body. That structure defined by the cavities of the head, neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. A structure that is essentially pneumatic and worked through the breath. Through the development of the underlying form we brought the skeletal structure back into its proper alignments, or at least its basic form even if the alignment of the vertebrae left much to be desired. We worked directly into the skeletal structure improving the hydraulic capacity of the joints, but again we did this in a passive sense. The improvements created better functional ability, but never did we work into the body through function.

With the osteopathy, and the movement exercises I am doing myself, we are working with an entirely different structure, the active structure. This structure is not defined by those passive divisions but by the active form. A form in which the head and neck are one unit rooted at the fourth dorsal (thoracic) vertebrae, D4 or T4 and the legs ascend to the waist at the third lumbar vertebrae, L3.

The more we bring the spine into alignment the more this active structure really comes into play. We are unleashing a whole new realm within me. Building upon all those years of painstaking work to claw my body back from its terribly depleted and deformed condition, revolutionary work that transformed my body, I am now, through osteopathy, sky-rocketing to a new future.



February 9, 2021

Paraplegia is usually defined as paralysis of the lower limbs. ‘Plegia’ means paralysis and ‘para’ meaning two (a twisting of the original Greek meaning of ‘besides’, as in one beside the other, leading to a pair and so two limbs). However, in order to truly understand paraplegia it is better to see it as characterised by the ‘missing back’. It is as though the posterior third of the trunk has been sliced off. My rehabilitation assessments have always been videoed and in the early days it was still analogue technology and video cassettes. Relatively poor quality from a home camcorder and so every so often a professional cameraman would come and film. He was a Russian who spoke no English so I had little idea of what he was saying. It turned out he was shocked at the lack of depth to my body. He described me as being like a playing card. From the front I looked fairly normal, while from the side I was flat. Nerve damage will paralyse the muscles in the legs, however, the collapse of the structure of the trunk, that should provide the foundation for the use of the legs, is what prevents the recovery of nerve function.

There is so much more depth to my body now and the back is really taking shape, although there is still some way to go and its capacity is still progressing through waves of development. Yesterday C7 disappeared. C7 is the lowest vertebrae in the neck and in a well developed body is always prominent. It is at the transition form the convex curve of the cervical spine, in the neck, to the concave curve of the thoracic spine of the chest and back region. When I was as flat as a playing card there was no prominence of C7 and during waves of development it has appeared, disappeared and reappeared again. As the neck gains more depth it disappears and when this is followed by the back catching up, and gaining more depth, it reappears. It would have been interesting to notch up a record of how many waves of development there have been. It would be in the hundreds. Not thousands but definitely hundreds. At times these waves of development were happening twice a week, but with the back very much nearer completion they happen less often, though no less significant with each wave building up a new layer of structure.

It is interesting to see that the lack of prominence of C7 is not confined to paraplegics and is also evident in some able bodied people. Although not severe enough to prevent the use of the legs it is nonetheless a lack of development with inevitable consequences. This is particularly noticeable in those with ADHD where the lack of physical capacity results in the lack of capacity to remain focused. I came across such children while working at a Secure Children’s Unit and although I am no longer involved it remains an ambition of mine to one day use my skills, in developing a physical body, to help young people overcome their difficulties.

With these waves of development in the past I noticed minimal effect on my stature and it was only by feeling for the prominence of C7 that I knew what was happening. Now though the disappearance of C7 leaves me with a profound inability to hold my head high while it is preceded, and after a while succeeded, by an incredible natural ability to do just that. The closer we get to building those final outer layers of the trunk, the closer I get to feeling for the body’s true stature.