Monday, August 30, 2010

Perspective of NSA and Dr. Stephanie Bridwell from a new patient

When I first heard of Dr. Stephanie and Magnolia Wellness Center, it was through my older brother, Mike, who had been seeing her for a few months for his back; an injury sustained during work had forced him into early retirement and kept him glued to the couch or hobbling around like an old man. His condition has since improved and he has become more active again although he has not completely recovered. When repetitive stresses in my life and work created a knot the size of a plum in the back of my neck I was ready to head to Chinatown in search of someone who would tweak me back into shape and beat my tight muscles into submission; Mikey stopped me and sent me to Magnolia Wellness Center with a gift certificate and blessings of restored vitality. I can’t thank him enough.

My first private introductory session with Dr. Stephanie revealed some surprising things to me, information I had either had no previous knowledge of or had taken for granted for years. She first informed me of my scoliosis: two sizeable wrong turns my spine decided to make while my body was still awkwardly adjusting to a high school growth spurt. The lateral bends in my spinal column happened to be both right where that plum lodged itself at the base of my skull and in my lower back, another area that frequently caused me pain and discomfort. Now these aches had a cause – I was already one step closer to salvation.

The other bit of information I took away from my first session made so much sense to me that its no wonder I had been ignoring it for so long. Your spinal column is the conduit for your Central Nervous System. It houses and protects the very nerves that relay every important message from your brain to your body and back again. I learned this in seventh grade but for some reason chose to forget this information and continued abusing my back with heavy lifting and reckless endangerment. Somewhere along the line other aspects of my life began to be affected from the mistreatment of my spine, senses such as my hearing and eyesight. The nerves that communicate these senses were being twisted around in my misshapen spine and their functionality was suffering because of it. Obviously some damages sustained were unconnected and irreversible (damage to my ears from playing music too loud, damage to my eyes from staring at the sun [I have to stop doing that]) but it makes sense to me that by correcting the mistakes in my posture and improving the conduits through which my nerves travel I would in time notice a gradual return in my senses. Now I have a reason to sit up straight other than impressing the elderly – its actually better for me in the long run.

Finally, Dr. Stephanie introduced to me a breathing exercise called the “breath wave” that she wanted me to practice continually throughout every day. By taking a breath deep into my belly and acknowledging it as it rises up into my chest, I noticed almost every vertebrae in my back shift and bend with my filling lungs, like a wave, sending a surge of energy from the base of my tailbone to the top of my spine. With practice over time, every vertebra would loosen up and move in a fluid motion enabling this exercise to realign my spinal curves and open my closed gateways for my nerves to travel through. The breath wave, Dr. Stephanie assured me, would eventually do so much more for me in life, but at that time this improvement was enough for me.

The session was over quickly for how much I learned about myself and I was sent back into the world with a taller, more respectable stance and some newfound insight into my own life. Breathing deeply and happily, I wandered through San Francisco and felt sorry for the people who were taking their commute to work too seriously. Already I had questions to ask Dr. Stephanie but I had plenty of time to mull them about in my own head until my next appointment.