In August of last year, Jeff and I went to visit Jennifier Gianni in Asheville to get some guidance on how to create proper movement patterns as we continued his journey. She introduced us to the importance of props and heat to help him find center, his breath and the floor.
In August of last year, Jeff and I went to visit I knew Jeff had a limited sense of temperature but I didn’t realize the extent. His stroke occurred on the brain stem. Functions of this area include: movement of the eyes and mouth, relaying sensory messages (hot, pain, loud, etc.), hunger, respiration, consciousness, cardiac function, body temperature, involuntary muscle movements, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and swallowing. In a supine position when Jennifer put the heated sacral wedges under his heels, he could not sense the temperature.
I always found his sense of temperature interesting. In fact when he tried to go diving (in the cold) not long after his accident his wet suit had a small tear and if he hadn’t surfaced he could have died of hypothermia. He had no idea how cold his body was. When I would place my hand on his right arm, hand or leg, it was cool to the touch even on a hot summer day. I used to kick myself when he would come into the studio and I’d remark, “It’s hot outside today, isn’t it?” and he would reply, “Is it?” There were times when we used heat again and found that the right side of his body could sense the heat, but not on the left, so I limited our use because I felt it created more of a discrepancy between the two sides.
Well, it’s July, 2015 and we have made a breakthrough. I was working his upper body on the cadillac and decided to use the sacral wedges, heated, but really to create pressure by his arms as a directive of where to pull. He could feel the heat on the right and now, for the first time, on the left, the heat was giving him that ‘tingling’ feeling like laying under a warm blanket. The sensation took him by surprise and was a lot for him to process. Over these past two weeks we have used the heated sacral wedges by his arms, on his sacrum in a prone position for hip extension, under his sitz bones on the chair for footwork, under his feet to find the floor (squats) and the heated smart spine in an all four’s position or supine to find his center.
This is going to open a whole new chapter in his therapy.