We believe that every individual who has endured a neurological injury, including spinal cord injury, has an opportunity to re-connect to their bodies and their independence.
The real disconnect lies not in the individual, but in the traditional approach for paralysis rehabilitation.
Like many kinds of life-changing health events, health care providers sponsor very little physical therapy after leaving the hospital. Due to visitation constraints, what is actually covered lends more to adaptation and life-skills with paralysis, with little-to-no actual neuro-rehabilitation – knowing how to help a patient become minimally functional in a wheelchair and knowing how to facilitate lasting bodily healing are quite different specialties. Too often the latter is subjugated to the former.
OUR MISSION IS TO MAKE MINDFUL MOVEMENT
A STANDARD IN RECOVERY AFTER SPINAL CORD INJURY
How do we plan on doing this?
- Create a community of practitioners and SCI athletes who together are challenging traditional SCI rehabilitation.
- Educate individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury ("SCI athletes") in the process of recovery through education and exploration.
- Increase the number of educated teachers & trainers through workshops, mentorship and self-guided learning.
'Spinal Cord Injury'
When someone endures a traumatic spinal cord injury, so much is taken from them immediately. Yes, muscle function and bodily sensation, but also many other bodily functions such as control of bowel and bladder, and efficient breathing. This loss of movement and feeling can completely re-configure self-expression, relationships, interactions, independence and every daily experience.
Spinal cord injury does not discriminate along any demographic line. It affects people everywhere – it’s likely you know someone who has had such an injury.
There are over 15,000 new spinal cord injury cases per year in the united states alone.
Sadly, most injured individuals are unable to realize their full recovery potential due to a lack of access to effective therapies, so it is our aim is to provide a framework for movement practitioners to apply their own understanding of the body towards helping any individual recover function after a spinal cord injury.
After hospital discharge, many individuals turn to specialty gyms, paying out-of-pocket for expensive options that do a terrific job to get individuals with spinal cord injuries moving and exercising again post-injury, but they tend to overlook the importance of proper posture and core connection in large, dynamic movements.
For those who simply want to sweat it out in a workout, this kind of gym-work is great; however, for those interested in re-connecting neural pathways to regain lost function, we have found that true movement re-patterning requires a different approach.
'Mindful movement' is about awareness....
...about fully involving the 'self' in every aspect of a movement. It requires both trainer and client to take a deeper look at what is going on within the body during an exercise.
Is this exercise INTEGRATING the body as a whole?
Is the client aware of how his BREATH is facilitating movement?
Does she have MENTAL IMAGES of both the inside and outside of her body as she moves?
What is the involvement of the CORE in projecting movement?
Why is this movement important for this client at her current stage of connection?
Disciplines such as Pilates, yoga, and other mind-body practices all incorporate 'mindful movement.'
Many people think of spinal injury recovery as an all-or-nothing pursuit:
"In order to 'recover,' I have to get back everything I lost."
Recovery takes many forms, and is best viewed as re-connecting on any level to one's body, and one's ability to be in the world as a mover.
Sipping out of a coffee mug independently
Reaching for something without falling over, or falling slightly less than before
Transferring into and out of a wheelchair
Building strength and confidence for driving
Living independently – getting dressed, cooking, showering
Traveling to a foreign land, whether nearby or flying far away
Standing up to hug someone
Walking into a store
Backpacking in the mountains
Gaining any increase in quality of life, whatever form that takes