by Barbara, a participant to Cynthia Lindway, somatics practitioner and teacher
When I became a student in your Hanna Somatic Education® classes almost 18 months ago, at the first class you said that through mindful daily practice of HSE, we would grow longer, stronger, and more flexible.
I've been experiencing life with fibromyalgia for almost 20 years, and although a minimal dose of medication has helped with the sleep disorder component, nothing has relieved the pain and stiffness as much as my diligent practice of HSE, attending your HSE classes at Napa Valley College, and benefitting beyond measure from private sessions with you.
During the past 18 months, I have experimented with taking, then not taking, the minimal doses of some prescription drugs recommended for the musculoskeletal pain associated with fibromyalgia. I have experimented with taking, then not taking, certain additional vitamins and supplements that may help with fibromyalgia. As I look back on this time and mentally "chart" my cycles of "flares" and "remissions" I find only two consistent factors in my remission periods: (1) daily HSE practice, and (2) long walks in rural Napa Valley (5 miles). Nothing else--not prescription medication; not supplements--has brought the increased comfort, increased energy, and improved spirits that HSE and long walks do.
When I developed a severe upper respiratory infection this winter, which lead to asthma complications, and for almost 6 weeks I didn't do my "Cat Stretch" because when I got down and began the movements I would start coughing painfully, and, of course, I couldn't go for my long walks, I experienced a severe fibromyalgia "flare up." Medications and supplements didn't make a difference. Getting over my cough enough to resume daily HSE made the difference. Now I'm going to get my allergy and asthma symptoms resolved, resume the long walks (wearing a mask if I have to--you never know when they're applying methyl bromide in the vinyards), and once again, you and I will say "Fibromyalgia--what fibromyalgia?"
Not only does HSE make me stronger, it truly has made me longer! Last week, when I went to an allergy specialist because the asthma I've had for 8 years has been aggravated by Napa Valley dust, pollen, and agricultural chemicals, the nurse measured my height. For years my height has been 5' 1 & 3/4". Last week my height was 5'3"! I knew I was longer--I can comfortably reach into my top kitchen cabinets now--but I didn't know I was that much taller! I wonder--in another 18 months will I gain another 1 & 1/4" ?
next story: A letter from Janette Court, in the United Kingdom, who has experience with somatic education
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