A dozen years ago Mitzi Pratt, a bookbinder in Aquinnah, suggested a foot class in NYC at Revolution in Motion. I went, and then tried to go whenever I had time if I was in NYC. Each class challenged me, made me sweat, and made me smile. Each was an over-before-you-know-it experience. My healing journey went on cycling through modalities and practices until I was introduced to a biomechanically based yoga called Kaiut Yoga. I began a serious practice after my first teacher training, which started on my 60th birthday.
During the pandemic, I reconnected with Dr. Edythe Heus’ Revolution in Motion work, and had the opportunity to take her Pelvic Floor Fitness course online on my own time. I’d been waiting years to try this class or a workshop, but was never in NYC when it was offered. So what is RevInMo? It is a “neurologically based functional movement training program developed by Dr. Edythe Heus, a pioneer in the field of integrative health care.” Now, after two years of having her work in my life, taking Pelvic Floor Fitness and Rev classes, it’s difficult to imagine my changing body without them.
Rev has brought a supportive, deeply knowledgeable, and passionate community into my life. I’ve spent a year teaching Rev’s Vitality classes to assisted-living facilities across the country via Zoom. I understand that working with the plasticity of my body is essential to aging, maintaining mobility and suppleness. During summer 2022, a master Rev trainer, Colin Donohoo, did a four-day RevInMo pop-up at my studio on Martha’s Vineyard. This was my first opportunity to have hands-on experience with Rev since I joined the online community, besides introducing Rev to the Vineyard community.
In September 2022 I decided I wanted to take advantage of a one-on-one four-day immersive with Dr. Heus, in part for my own health as well as to get to know her better, since I’d become part of the Rev team teaching Vitality online and taking class weekly. One thing I was particularly looking forward to was Stimpod Therapy, something Heus had recommended I seek out to help with the neuropathy in my feet. Sadly, there are no practitioners in all of New England, and only one in New York City that I’ve been able to find.
On the Friday before I headed West in January, there was a monthly Rev Alumni online gathering with Adventure Athlete, seven-time world champion, best-selling author, and Emmy winner Rebecca Rusch, whose documentary “Blood Road” I watched prior to our meeting. Rusch had recently completed her own immersive, “a life-changing experience” helping her get back on the road to regaining her health. I learned that Heus was now working with naturopath Dr. April Graham of Blue Heron Medicine in Longmont, Colo., so I would have not one, but two practitioners working with and on me. Listening to Rusch’s story reinforced my own decision that making this investment in my health as a foundation for longevity was a life-changing decision.
I arrived in California after spending a week in Boulder, Colo., attending a seven-day yoga intensive, something both Heus and Graham believed helped reveal more of my core issues. While in Colorado I had new bloodwork and a urine test administered by Labcorps, as requested prior to my California arrival. I tried to recall a time in my life other than childhood when I did not need to make decisions; I did not need a car, was a guest in Heus’ home, had all anti-inflammatory meals and snacks provided and cooked for me by Heus.
Days began promptly at 9 am with gait analysis, something used diagnostically after each treatment throughout the day. On day one I had my first full set of assessments, measuring balance, eye and brain coordination, and overall posture and mobility. This was retested on day four to understand the overall changes achieved during my four-day immersive. Lunch generally lasted 45 minutes. I participated in one RevInMo class daily, which Heus taught online live; however, each class was designed for my needs. Otherwise my treatments consisted of Stecco Fascial Manipulation, in conjunction with laser therapy, Stimpod therapy, and ending each day with a one-hour naturopathic constitutional hydrotherapy treatment to support circulation.
The Stimpod was originally created as a “neuromuscular monitoring system” to be used in a hospital setting. In 2017, the Stimpod NMS460 was released — not only could a damaged nerve be identified, but the waveform generates electromagnetic effects, utilizing pulsed radio frequencies, which affect the cellular metabolic activity of a neuropathic nerve. The resulting cellular response changes the characteristics of the nerve, which in many cases causes the nerve to recover its normal function. I’d never had Stecco Fascial Manipulation, which is a deep-tissue manual therapy to dissolve densifications in the fascia. A warm laser is used to help ease pain, accelerate healing, and decrease inflammation by stimulating the cell to perform its natural functions at an enhanced rate.
Thanks to Oliver Sacks’ last memoir, “On the Move: A Life,” in which he mentions three patients who lost proprioception for life after enduring a viral infection of their nervous system, I was finally able to connect the dots on my nearly lifelong foot issues. When I was 17 years old, I had a viral infection of my nervous system that lasted about five months. At age 20 I began to have foot issues, and then neuropathy in my feet. Going into my 50s, it was excruciating to walk. I tried podiatrists and a variety of shoes, until I understood it was up to me to change my feet. This is how I began to study foot modalities from Katy Bowman and Yamuna to Gyrotonic and biomechanically-based yoga. Two days of Stimpod therapy decreased the nerve damage in my right foot dramatically; I could now feel the ball of my foot and the outside edge of the right foot. Pretty mind-blowing for someone who has been adjusting to the loss of sensation for years. Each day I was learning more about my body, things no one previously has ever mentioned; lower body hypermobility, scoliosis, and even thoracic kyphosis. I was more than grateful to be able to take advantage of this healing opportunity in my life.