It's no secret in our business that I have a range of weird and wonderful tricks up my sleeve that I deploy at various stages to help sneak in bonus range of movement, maybe some pain relief, or perhaps just some homework to help someone see better. These little tricks are all derived from the growing Functional Neurology sector in the health industry. Functional Neurology is designed to work with the nervous system for balancing and normalising charge in our natural electrical system. The main company I've trained with recently put together a 'retreat' in Thailand so people from all over the world could meet, practice on each other and learn new skills while refining old ones. Safe to say I've come home with a few more tricks up my sleeve!
So what's all this brain-talk about?
It's fascinating to wander book shops of late and notice just how much the brain is getting some long overdue attention. It only takes a few minutes in the newly-released section to spot these non-fiction novels detailing the science and stories of miraculous recoveries from horrific injuries. Authors like Norman Doidge have popularised the research about how we can provide various forms of stimuli to our system and produce results that standard western-based medicine sometimes wouldn't be able to, or in some cases have written off as impossible. The reality is, this has been going on for decades. Examples include helping blind people see in 2D, balancing a range of behavioural problems such as ADHD or Autism, and reduction or removal of pain. This is where my interest in Functional Neurology stemmed from and it has continued to push me deeper and deeper into this incredibly complex and truly amazing area of research. What those of us who have done the The Academy of Applied Movement Neurology (AMN) treatment program have over other therapists is that our work takes our own opinion out of the equation, and relies entirely on what your body communicates. We have a framework of information we can use to point us in the right direction, but ultimately everything is so connected that it's really about following what your body tells us. This is quite different to any other therapies out there (including Pilates). Other therapies use information formed from group research and standard practice - which provides help for some people but not everyone, as everyone is very unique! In the words of David Flemming, AMN Founder: I'm going to trust your 86 billion neurons way more than I'm going to trust my opinion, every time!'
But what's Thailand got to do with it?
Well, we needed somewhere to all meet! People train from all over the world and we needed somewhere central, and relaxing to better access everyone's bio-electrical system and learn some pretty amazing new information about how to better our Functional Neurology practise.
Things that got highlighted:
The importance of how we interact with our natural environment, the role of sunlight, and why we need to be eating local and seasonal food, and lots of oysters!
A variety of specific drills we can use to dramatically shift movement in our joints;
How I can screen for things like inflammation, and postural dysfunction;
And what 'energy work' looks like from a structured scientific background...
Some of it took some pretty massive mind-bending thought processes to wrap my head around, and some of it I wouldn't believe possible if I hadn't experienced it myself. But let me put it this way, everything we know is just floating atoms and molecules, and the energy that forms all things is all around us at all times. Once you can appreciate these facts, then it opens your mind to some rather bizarre possibilities!
What makes Functional Neurology different to say, physiotherapy or other 'normal' treatments?
Firstly, I want to make really clear I'm massively on board with all other treatment modalities out there. Within every sector there are fantastic practitioners, and a lot of the time it's less important what treatment you are receiving, and more so what head space you're in when you receive it and how well you get on with the practitioner. If you're in a really bad state with your mind, then nothing is going to make you feel better; but if you've made up your mind that you are getting better, then you seriously will get better! But I'm also really clear that every other practice works on subjective information and experienced informed opinion - which again can be fantastic for some people, but doesn't work for everyone. A lot of the time, what you think is causing the pain is just a symptom of a symptom of a symptom! Our goal is to quickly identify a cause for the dis-ease, and then provide whatever stimulus is deemed necessary to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms. We look at the full interconnected web of communication within your body and we just keep asking it questions until we know what it needs - and it might adjust quickly or it might take some time! Ultimately Functional Neurology is the best approach I've seen to date when working with complex, long standing chronic pain and discomfort through to improving high level athletes who need that micro-second edge over their counter parts. Working with the nervous system is the one true way to ensure a genuine holistic approach. I can't wait to share what I've learned with you