Spinal Cord Narrowing

Over fifty years ago, at age sixteen, I broke my neck in a diving accident and was hospitalized for three months. Thankfully, my recovery from the initial paralysis was nearly complete and I retained only a slight limp. I was able to lead a full life, marry a wonderful lady, and have five children. Seven years ago, however, I broke my hip and since that time I’ve needed the use of a walker and a wheelchair to get around. Doctors tell me that my spinal cord has narrowed, and that this has slowed down the communication signals between my brain and my body. Are there any energy exercises that could address this problem?

Yes, several come to mind. The first is to have someone do a "spinal flush" on you every day with great deliberation and care. Essentially a spinal flush involves having someone massage along each side of your spine in order to stimulate key neurolymphatic points (see p. 79 of Energy Medicine). This will flush toxic energy from your body, leaving you deeply relaxed and with your energies flowing. It is normal for these points to be tender at first, but most people really enjoy having this done. Not only does it clear toxins from the body, it also pumps the cerebrospinal fluid that flows along the spine.

Another superb technique for working with cerebrospinal fluid was taught to me by a Hopi elder and is described on page 285 - Energy Medicine.

A third exercise, which you can do while sitting down, is called "pumping the cerebral spinal fluid." It combines deep breathing with a series of hand positions. Begin with a crown pull (Energy Medicine p. 77). Then:

  1. Place your left hand in the middle of your chest and simultaneously place your right hand on the right side of your head above the ear with your fingers pointing upward towards the crown of your head. Take about four deep, slow breaths as you hold this position.
  2. Leave your left hand in place and move your right hand to cover the lower back part of your head over the occipital area. Take a few more slow, deep breaths.
  3. Move your right hand to the middle of your chest and place your left hand on the left side of your head with fingers pointing upwards as before. Breathe deeply and slowly.
  4. Leave your left hand in place, and put your right hand over your forehead with finger pointing upwards. Again, take a few more slow breaths.

This exercise occasionally makes people a bit dizzy, but this only indicates that it was needed (cerebral spinal fluid that was sluggish starts to move more quickly) and the dizziness usually passes quickly.

After the spinal flush or the Hopi technique, you might ask a family member or friend to do one more thing for you. Lie face down and have him or her place one hand on your sacrum and the other at the base of your neck, and rock you very gently back and forth for one to two minutes. The rocking motion frees energy to move between the vertebrae of the spine.

All of the above exercises unblock clogged energy and help to make space in the body for energy to flow. You might find it valuable to do them one or more times daily.

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EverettSpinal Cord Narrowing

Stroke Victims and Figure 8s

Would tracing figure eights be helpful for people who have had a stroke?

Tracing figure eight energies helps the energy cross over from the left hemisphere to the right side of the body and from the right hemisphere to the left side of the body. It also helps energies cross over every part of the body, through the organs, even the cells. Another person can do this tracing of the cross-over energies (see the discussion of the Celtic weave in Energy Medicine Chapter 6). The stroke patient can also imagine the energies weaving. If possible, the person could trace figure eights of any size with a finger or a hand, or you could do it for the person by tracing the eights directly on or just above the body. Also, encourage the person to "doodle" by drawing figure eights on a piece of paper. This helps to imprint crossover energy patterns into the brain.

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EverettStroke Victims and Figure 8s

Paralysis & Visualizing Energy Flows

If someone has lost the use of a limb due to a stroke, for example, and can't physically perform the three thumps or trace his or her meridians, can he or she benefit from visualizing these energy medicine techniques?

Absolutely! Visualization and mental intention definitely move energy. One of the first stroke patients I ever treated regained some muscle function after just a few days of imagining the energies crossing over from the healthy side of his body to the paralyzed side, and then again to the healthy side. While this kind of mental exercise is good for anyone, it can offer a secondary benefit to older people by helping to keep their minds sharp.

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EverettParalysis & Visualizing Energy Flows

Homolateral Crossover for Paraplegics

I am a physical therapist who specializes in working with paraplegics. I have noticed that some of my patients are homolateral. I do not know how to help them correct this with such limited mobility?

I think I tell the story in Energy Medicine about how very early in my career I was teaching a class in a retirement home and one of the men was paralyzed on one side of his body from a stroke. By beginning to imagine doing some of the exercises that involve having the energies cross over from one side of the body to the other, he regained movement on the paralyzed side. This amazed everyone, especially him, and it gave him a whole new sense of power and purpose in his life as he had been very active before his stroke and had become utterly depressed with the paralysis.

By now I have done this dozens of time with people who are unable to physically do the exercises, and frequently with impressive results. You can teach your patients to use their minds to do the homolateral cross-over (pp.250-52) and the cross crawl (pp. 80-4).   You can do the Rhythmic 8's (p. 202) in front of them and have them follow the exercise with their eyes. If they have any mobility in the upper body, you can have them do figure eights and Celtic weaves, and imagine the energies moving in the same way in their lower bodies. Understanding the principle that the mind can move energies will open you to many creative uses of the techniques with your patients.

Also you can, yourself, do the homolateral routine ‘to’ them by picking up their legs and their arms, while they are resting.

More power to you and to them!

This video by, EEM Advanced Practitioners, Janie Chandler and Laurel Camden, demonstrates a fantastic technique for homolateral re-patterning that can be used with paraplegics.

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EverettHomolateral Crossover for Paraplegics