my healing: medicine in motion


The phrase “loose, long and strong” emerged toward the end of my clinic days, a catchy descriptor for teaching patients how to follow through with healing movement at home.  Twenty-five years down the road it still fits for what I’m up to.  In fact, the perfection of it totally guides rehab of my left arm.  Six weeks now and well on its way.

LOOSE needs to come first…always.  It’s a common and risky mistake to dive into strength too soon.  Over the first few days I gingerly stroked and gently probed the intricate hand and the two long bones of the forearm: fascia and muscles and joints.  I massaged the bony elbow and all that connected it to the shoulder. Each day the sensory experience signaled the safe depth at which to work. Deeper here, shallow here, back off and wait a bit here.  A miracle in motion, feeling release and witnessing change every day.

In about a week, after a LOOSE session, I slowly explore LONG. How much can I open and reach fingers?  How does it feel to move toward a fist?  What’s possible in this wrist so achy stiff?  I can turn palm down but up is another story.  Elbow bends some, squishy at end range.  But it will not straighten, feels blocked. Shoulder creaky every which way.  Active range of motion each joint with holds at the edgy end range.  But save me from just the mechanics!   Lots of flowing motion with both arms.  Dancing signals to the nervous system that it is okay to gradually move out of protective mode and into the joy of fluidity.

In the last couple weeks, naturally I move into STRONG.  After a LOOSE & LONG session, plank is my edge.  Excited to slowly weight bear with this tender arm.  I stand at the wall, encourage left hand to copy the brilliant instinct of right hand, make full contact, extend wrist and elbow mindfully.  It takes all my concentration.  Challenging!  On hands and knees I now can take 50% weight on left.  Elbow still not completely straight. In the STRONG department, most gratifying are my functional gains.  Life takes power!  Camping, cooking, laundry, garden, driving, holding a book, typing, opening the blinds—well, just about everything. This week I held a pan in left hand and turned it enough to empty contents onto a plate.  Almost.

A shout out to three other critical supports for this healing.  Yes…I am seeing a physical therapist and massage therapist.  They are fabulous! And of course, there is the breath.  None of this comes together without it.  So synchronous how resonant breath  awareness landed concurrent with my sidewalk sprawl. Exhaling to release and to focus power; inhaling to lengthen.  And finally, add to this, no pause in caring for my whole/holy body.  Circulation is crucial for healing.  Rollers, balls, stretch to release areas injured and those not.  Core toning that flows right from my center into left arm.  On the regular, rhythmic full body engagement—walking, dancing, hiking.

If you feel a bit geeky curious about LOOSE, LONG, STRONG, check out this new triplet video , a visual of all of the above.  This is how I work.  On my own injury, on yours.  No difference if it’s a shoulder, neck, low back, hip, knee, ankle.  First we find what’s tight and release it.  After that we move on to power and fluidity.

And if you think I’m not working because of this injury…hah!   I guess you don’t know me.  I’m fully in action. Having fun with my inventive work arounds and joyful with my daily gains.  Moments like this are an amazing boost in compassionate empathy—for me, for you, for us.  Embodied reminders of our shared humanity, our basic goodness.  There is so much suffering in the world.  And there is so much ease and pleasure available in the healing process.  I’m on a mission to provide just that: ease and pleasure in healing.

Let’s get together.