This past week, I did a one hour private session with Dr. Vance Bonner, and I have to tell you that it was amazing. I’ve had the great good fortune of studying with Dr. Bonner, the inventor of Structural Reprogramming, for about nine years, and it has helped me tremendously, but last week it was as if the sun finally came out and my body did this incredible shift. I could stand straight for the first time since I can remember.
This is a major miracle. When I started with her, my back looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I kid you not. I really have to go through my old photos and see if I can find one that shows how bad I was. I had a fair amount of constant pain, mainly in my mid-back and neck. There was this one spot, right along my spine, maybe two or three inches below my scapulae, that always hurt. Even though I was fit in the sense that I rode my bicycle a lot and hiked and skied, I was headed for an even more stooped old age, with all of the problems that can cause (more neck pain, pinched disks and nerves, ugh!).
Vance is truly an amazing being, and I am so lucky to have worked with her all of these years, but I don’t think we would have gotten there if it hadn’t been for all of the other things I’ve done. Each added one more piece to an ever growing pile that allowed my back to take that final step. Perhaps Cranio Sacral Therapy has been the most potent of those, but years of modern dance, yoga and tai chi, acupuncture, massage therapy, energy work, Rolfing (although not a full series) and Myofascial Release added up.
I believe that all of this, plus some inner compass which just knew that I could do it, that it could happen, that one day I would look in the mirror and see a straight back, was necessary before I could straighten. Sessions with Dr. Vance Bonner, combined with therapy from one Lillie Goldstein, massage therapist and energy worker extraordinaire, provided the final tools to create a miracle breakthrough.
One thing I noticed about Vance, is that she gives her work every ounce of her attention. When I worked with her she would stare at me, then she’d pick an exercise and push as hard on me as I needed, which was sometimes an enormous amount. She’d help hold me in positions I could not yet do by myself. She cheerleaded, cajolled, explained, demonstrated, and so on, getting me to work harder than I ever thought possible. Sometimes I would break down in tears, get angry, or feel nauseous, but I always knew we were moving forward and engaging my body, mind, and emotions.
Let me explain that last little bit. A person doesn’t become hunched like I used to be without some kind of emotional trauma. It could happen as early as the womb or during birth, or it could have come from events in our lives. It might be some decision about not being good enough, or an accident, such as a car wreck. In any case, when the body changes those emotions come to the surface. The body resists the change and will do anything it can to stop you from shifting into a new strange place, such as becoming lightheaded or wanting to throw up. I had plenty of these sorts of experiences during and after classes and private sessions.
For the most part, I have taken classes with Vance. She teaches here in Bend, OR, for six months out of the year. I thought her work was so fabulous that I studied to become a teacher and I take over her classes when she is gone. But about two years ago I screwed up my courage (like many geniuses, she’s a little fierce – it reminds me of things said about Ida Rolf) and tried a private session with her and I started making faster progress.
Vance will be heading to the Washington, DC, area soon for the next five months. If you live around there and would like some help with pain, bunions, scoliosis, poor posture, knock-knees, and other musculo-skeletal conditions, I urge you to look at her WEB site, get her fabulous book, and give her a call. Don’t let the chance pass you by.
I’m not done straightening, and I have a new goal: a flexible back. (We might even work on backbends this summer, depending upon what the class is ready for – they are one way to loosen things up, but don’t worry, we take baby-steps and help spot each other.)
Come stretch with me here in Bend, Oregon. Classes start April 23rd, 2012, on Mondays at noon and Wednesdays at six PM, and they are two hours for the dirt-cheap price of $80 for an eight week session, or a $12 drop-in fee (you can’t do yoga for that price!). The only catch is that you either have to make the first class or do a private one-hour session with me ($50). Oh, and I have some vacations scheduled in the middle of the first session. To register you need to call me. My phone? (541)350-1613