When I was sixteen years old, my family physician noticed that my back was curved. A specialist later confirmed that I had scoliosis. Within a few years, the imbalance led to a devastating injury in my lower back that left me in chronic pain. I spent much of my twenties crying myself to sleep as the pain was worse at night. Since Western medicine couldn’t do anything for me, I was launched into the world of ‘alternative’ medicines.
First stop: A chiropractor in NYC who practiced what she called ‘kinesiology.’ She would adjust me and then massage the muscles so they would be encouraged to hold the bones in the new pattern. This helped, but I plateaued with it quickly.
Second stop: An acupuncturist in NYC whose practice was in a warehouse space. The tables were close together, separated only by curtains; you could easily hold hands with the person on the next spot over. In one treatment the acupuncturist took away the throbbing pain that had developed down my thigh. When I returned for another treatment, he told me he had fixed me and didn’t need to come back.
Third stop: Yoga. For years, I kept up a daily yoga practice to keep my back strong and supple. Meanwhile, I became an acupuncturist and learned how to walk a middle path, achieving greater health through balance. But I still suffered at night; couldn’t sit in a chair for long; had to crack and pop my neck, ribs, and hips constantly; and my period brought on migraines. I thought this was normal aging and I was doing ok for someone with scoliosis and autoimmune thyroiditis.
The breakthrough: After relocating to Santa Fe, I discovered Ortho-Bionomy and, later, Integrative Manual Therapy. These modalities address problems at the level of the tissues. Ortho-Bionomy releases trauma in muscle and bone. IMT goes a bit farther and can repair damage at any tissue level, be it nerve, lymph, vascular, connective, organ. It can help balance viral and bacterial loads, address aberrant motilities, and release emotional and belief-based trauma. This is when my back began to really heal and straighten.
My first IMT treatment didn’t even address my back. Instead, the therapist used a manual protocol to clean up my blood. I thought I’d paid for an expensive nap, but when my period rolled around that month, it was vile and smelly and I realized that my body was dumping toxins—just as the IMT template had intended! Thus began a process of peeling back damage, taking burdens off my organs and systems so that the rest could function more optimally—and heal.
Significant Sessions: There was the time a therapist cleaned up nervous tissue fibrosis in my tailbone and my hip-cracking went away. There was the time a therapist repaired a vascular disruption of membrane in my spinal column and the back spasming stopped. There was the time the therapist fixed a tear in the dura, the lining around my brain, and my migraines went away. After another session, I went home and took a nap that I woke from screaming as the muscles in my back realigned my spine. It took no more than two minutes and when it was done, I was an half-inch taller.
I’m still receiving IMT treatments to fine-tune my spine, though I no longer have scoliosis. Today my therapist released some adhesions around C4 and C5 and my neck and shoulders are readjusting and trying to figure out how to navigate all the new freedom they have. My TMJ is down to .5 out of 10. I’m so grateful for this modality, which has made a Benjamina Button out of me, de-aging as I mature.
The basic principle IMT aligns with to get such miraculous results is simple yet profound: Trust the body’s ability to heal. Therapists work with touch and intention to create the conditions for the body’s natural healing reflexes to kick in. This is in stark contrast to the Western paradigm, which introduces interventions at the gross mechanical and chemical level, often causing as much or more disruption as the initial injury. Luckily, the body can usually handle it all. But imagine the health you could achieve if your medicines did no harm.
Stella Osorojos Eisenstein, L.Ac.
Stella Osorojos Eisenstein, L.Ac., is a writer and acupuncturist who collects healing stories.