New Scoliosis Research: Martha Carter speaks with Kristen Fay Gorman

Recently, Martha Carter caught up with Kristen Fay Gorman by phone to find out about her latest scoliosis research findings (nine years after Martha's original visit to Kristen's lab to see the guppies with scoliosis!). The result is a fascinating look at the questions, quandries, explorations, and discoveries that Kristen and her team have been working with most recently in the area of scoliosis research. While there may be no known cause or cure for scoliosis yet - there is definitely hope!

Click Read More to hear the audio file of their conversation.

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A Testimony on Life with Scoliosis: Scoli Girl by Cindy Heidel

Introducing "Back Stories", our TOPS Guest Blog Series. Our first guest blog is this incredible raw and moving story by Cindy Heidel from Florida, USA.

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    I was born, a stick with a head on it. People loved to point out how skinny I was. By thirteen, I knew I was abnormally tall, flat chested, and had two buck teeth that could open a soda bottle. Some brat in the neighborhood nicknamed me Fang. But I also knew that something was wrong with me.

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What Kind of Curve are You?

TOPS commissioned Vancouver illustrator, Gary Leung to draw the 4 most common forms of scoliosis. The inspiration for these illustrations came from images drawn by Alexander Laurant in Elise Miller's Yoga Journal article “Yoga for Scoliosis.” Gary developed these schematic portrayals of scoliosis to convey the overall shape of the spine, lending the viewer an opportunity to identify on a visual level.

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Interesting Video on the Alexander Technique for Scoliosis

"The Alexander technique teaches the ability to improve physical postural habits, particularly those that have become ingrained or are conditioned responses. The technique is purported to improve performance, self observation and impulse control and relieve chronic stiffness, tension and stress." ~Wikipedia

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 14

About other Scoliosis-Specific Exercise Methods

Since I had my Harrington rods removed, I have explored and discovered many therapies. Aside from Yoga for Scoliosis, which has been my main focus, there are three other popular Scoliosis-targeted exercise methods that are becoming more available and showing promising results.

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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 13

Becoming a Yoga for Scoliosis teacher

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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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 12

A 200-hour Yoga teacher training adventure of discovery on Salt Spring Island, BC.

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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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 11

What happens in a Yoga for Scoliosis class

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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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 10

Starting yoga and a key discovery: Elise Browning Miller’s Yoga for Scoliosis

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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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 9

How dance and dancers have shaped and informed every step of the 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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Martha Carter Talks About Her Healing Journey - Part 8

Exploring Different Healing Modalities: Alexander technique and Taoist meditation

Ever since my rod removal 21 years ago, I have spent a LOT of time exploring different options for supportive care.

I never expected to go down this road, but exploring the myriad supportive care options out there has become an ongoing educational journey that I continue to find not only self-empowering, but endlessly fascinating.

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