Thinking about Scoliosis through the work of Dr. Gabor Maté

Part 28 of Martha’s Healing Journey

Recently, I have been listening to many podcasts and watching Youtube videos exploring the Stress-Disease Connection by the acclaimed physician, speaker, teacher, and best-selling author, Dr. Gabor Maté. His talks are fascinating, sprinkled with insights from working as a physician, as well as his own personal experience dealing with addictions, depression, and anxiety. His research around trauma and healing intrigue me.

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Memories, Realizations, Reflections… and Questions.... (on the effects of scoliosis procedures, especially ‘corrective’ spinal fusion)

Part 27 of Martha’s Healing Journey

Recently, thanks to my work doing private consultations, classes, workshops and retreats, I have been meeting many wonderful ‘scoliotics’ and ‘fusioneers’. I am always amazed at the stories we share, and I continue to admire the incredible resilience shown by every single person with this confounding condition. 

Recently, I worked with a lovely woman in her mid-50s, who has lived and survived a very similar scoliosis story to me - more or less.

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Reflections on 10 Simple Exercises (+ 1 bonus!) for Scoliosis and Fusions

Part 26 of Martha’s Healing Journey

In celebration of National Scoliosis Awareness month, I shared 10 Simple Exercises for Scoliosis and Fusions over the month of June via my slightly embarrassing but cute stick-figure drawings :)

They are truly simple, but they are also very effective. And they are accumulative. 

The more you practice them, the more powerful they become. 

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Patience is Everything

Part 25 of Martha’s Healing Journey

When it comes to scoliosis, patience is everything.
Action, determination, and patience.
And trust.
And rest.
AND MINDFULNESS.
At least that’s what it feels like to me.

Following my confession last month about a frustrating day of body awareness and transformation, it occurs to me that by calling it a ‘day’, I am not fully recognizing the truth of my frustrations around scoliosis.

They are constant.

CONSTANT.

But, so?

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Somatics Follow Up

Part 23 of Martha’s Healing Journey

In my December 2018 blog post, I wrote about how I was starting to learn a gentle body-mind technique called Somatics. Since that time, I have continued to explore this work, finding many interesting and helpful connections.

Today, I want to follow up about my progress with addressing my own sensory motor amnesia, specifically regarding scoliosis.

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All About Retreats

Part 22 of Martha’s Healing Journey

It has been almost 10 years since I started the Twisted Outreach Project for Backcare and Scoliosis (TOPS) — with the idea of sharing ‘twisty’ knowledge for scoliotic bodies.

Since then, we have held workshops, classes, lectures, performances, and many social gatherings. We have become a hub - in person and online - where folks with scoliosis can connect to teachers and scoliosis specialists of all kinds, simultaneously building knowledge and community. Our ever-growing mailing list includes people from around the world, with one student traveling all the way from Japan just to attend a weekend workshop!

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Bye Bye 2018, Hello 2019

Part 21 of Martha’s Healing Journey

On New Year’s eve, I was chatting with my wonderfully ‘alive’ 83 year old mom. We were reflecting on the past year, and thinking ahead to 2019, when she asked: “So Martha, with all of your exploring of healing techniques, what do you think I should do next to look after myself… to be healthier; to feel better?”


That made me laugh out loud, as she is already more health-conscious and active than most people half her age - she does weekly pilates, senior’s exercise, regular massage, a yearly yoga retreat, walking, swimming, and more! Nevertheless, it got me thinking there is always more we can do for ourselves.

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SOMATICS: Learning how to alleviate patterns of pain and trauma

Part 20 of Martha’s Healing Journey

In my last blog about pain, I addressed how, for most people with scoliosis, pain is a constant companion. And although it may seem obvious that a compressed spine that curves and twists the body into a crooked position will cause some discomfort, it is not quite that simple.

In fact, it is well documented that a person's response to pain is heavily influenced by many individual traits, as well as the particular psychological, emotional and social factors affecting their life.

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About Martha's Stem Cell Procedure

Part 18 of Martha’s Healing Journey

How the spine relates to all other joints.


Over the years, as I have worked on finding comfort and mobility in my fused spine, I have definitely felt things improve for the better.

Unfortunately, one day about 13 years ago, while moving a box up some stairs, I felt my left knee pop, and that incident was - unbeknownst to me at the time - the beginning of a new healing journey.

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Current Scoliosis Research

Part 17 of Martha’s Healing Journey

Summary of a recorded Skype discussion between Martha Carter and Kristen Fay Gorman

In my last blog, I detailed the most common surgical procedures used to correct scoliosis. Although advanced technology allows for successful spinal corrections with fusions and rods, I believe that most people would agree that it would be much better if we could stop scoliosis from developing at all!

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Scoliosis: A Confounding Condition

Part 16 of Martha’s Healing Journey

Scoliosis is a really confounding condition! The more I try to explain it, the more I realize that it is full of contradictions.

Nobody knows why it happens, or who will get it. Given that every scoliosis is unique, the effects can be so different for each person, which of course makes it difficult to compare notes.

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Becoming a Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher

Part 13 of Martha’s Healing Journey

One of the hardest things about scoliosis is that it is difficult to know what to do to make it better. People ask me questions like these all the time:

How do you cure scoliosis?
How can I make my back straight again?  
How can I stop the curve from getting worse?
What can I do to get rid of the pain?

Though extremely understandable questions to ask, they are very difficult questions to answer, because every person and every curve is different. There is one thing that is for sure though: it is NOT possible to CURE a structural scoliosis.
 

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A 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Adventure of Discovery on Salt Spring Island, BC.

Part 12 of Martha’s Healing Journey

Through attending Yoga For Scoliosis with Elise Browning Miller, I came to clearly understand that Yoga could really help me, but it also opened me up to the realization that I didn't know anything about Yoga — in the wider sense. When I first started studying Yoga, I was completely distracted by my own body fears and discomforts.

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What Happens in a Yoga for Scoliosis Class

Part 11 of Martha’s Healing Journey

When I discovered Elise Browning Miller and her method, Yoga for Scoliosis, I finally felt confident to explore Yoga further. First of all, Elise had scoliosis! So, unlike other Yoga teachers I had worked with, her teaching provided insights that could only come from having personal experience with this condition.

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Starting Yoga and a Key Discovery: Elise Browning Miller’s Yoga for Scoliosis.

Part 10 of Martha’s Healing Journey

When my back finally started to feel stronger and more mobile, I found myself dreaming about dancing. In that moment between sleep and awake, I would have visions of myself in an extreme arabesque with my an open chest, arched back, and a long, high leg. Sometimes it was à Ia seconde - with my leg lifted to the side. I was never wearing a tutu. I was always either in street clothes or naked. I could feel my spine - free and powerful.

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How Dance and Dancers Have Shaped and Informed Every Step of the Journey

Part 9 of Martha’s Healing Journey

I keep wanting to talk about getting into Yoga for Scoliosis — an eventual and integral part of my scoliosis journey following the removal of my Harrington Roads — but as I write this serial blog, and look back on all that’s happened, other memories get triggered and new understandings appear.

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