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A new book by best‐selling author Meir Schneider, PHD, LMT
AWAKENING YOUR POWER OF SELF-HEALING
Copyright © 2017 School for Self‐Healing.
The School’s mission is to train individuals to Self‐Heal.
Self‐Healing is a non‐medical, holistic health prevention and rehabilitation system.
Published by Self‐Healing Press
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Empower Your Body for Ever Growing Health:
Your Personal Program for Increased Vitality & Better Vision
Born in Lvov, Ukraine, in 1954, Meir Schneider immigrated to Israel with his parents in 1959. He underwent five cataract operations without success and at seven was declared legally blind. Years later, by means of eye exercises and movement therapy, he was able to read without glasses and began to work with other physically disabled people, receiving national attention for his work in the healing arts.
In 1975, Meir immigrated to the United States to continue his studies, gaining a BA in Liberal Arts and a PhD in the Healing Arts, and in 1977 he founded the Center for Conscious Vision in San Francisco, then establishing the Center and School for Self‐Healing in 1980. In 1982, he was granted an unrestricted driver’s license. Meir’s pioneering work in the holistic health field is known throughout the U.S. as well as outside it. His unique approach to health care – the empowerment of the individual is a message of inspiration and hope as well as a practical guide to specific exercises for everyone. Meir’s book Movement for Self‐Healing: My Life and Vision, also published by Arkana, describes his own progress and the development of his therapy system during the first ten years of practice.
“Meir Schneider offers remarkable techniques that empower you to take charge of your own health and unlock the body’s ability to heal itself. Through his innovative therapeutic movements and exercise, he has helped thousands of individuals throughout the world facilitate their own self‐healing. I have personally seen functional improvement in a number of patients where the medical community had literally told them ‘there was nothing further that could be done. Meir Schneider is on the cutting edge of improving the quality of our health and well‐ being.”
– Ronald K. Takemoto, MD, Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of California, Irvine
“I met Meir Schneider several years ago at a conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. During this brief but powerful meeting, Meir demonstrated to me some of the untapped power and potential that all of us as human beings have at our disposal. Should we learn how to use them. Meir has learned how to use it. In this book, The Handbook of Self‐Healing, which is clearly a labor of love, Meir is sharing his know how with the reader in a most straightforward and unselfish way.”
– John E. Upledger, Osteopath, Founder of the Upledger Institute, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
“This book is “must” reading for anyone interested in the holistic natural health movement. At a time when the health care system is in crisis, Meir presents many practical strategies to help people increase their vitality and well‐being by replacing expense with effort, but perhaps Meir’s greatest contribution with this book is his ability to teach us how to take responsibility for our health.”
– Paul St John, Founder of the St. John Method of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy, Key Largo, Florida
“Meir Schneider has written a beautiful and inspiring book. Disease is understood not as a burden to be carried but as an opportunity to get in touch with the healing powers that are within all of us. Everybody who wishes to take an active part in the healing of herself or himself will find in it valuable and practical information.”
– Martin Enge, MD, and Margareta Enge, MD, Austria
“Meir Schneider’s second book represents a tremendous advance in our knowledge of self‐ healing. The exercises are easy to understand and perform. Although they are very gentle, they are the most powerful ones I have ever seen.”
– Beatriz Nascimento Moffat, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of San Carlos, and Instructor in the School for Self‐Healing, Brazil
“Meir Schneider’s book is delightfully clear, easy to read, full of good solid information and a definite “must” for the ordinary human being who wants to take responsibility for his or her own health and well‐being. I plan to give this book to all my patients.”
– Beryl Feinglass, Physical Therapist, Mental Health Educator and Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, San Francisco
“Meir Schneider’s insight with Self‐Healing is a refreshing approach for the healing professions. His techniques are a blending of easy to understand explanations with practical, thorough exercises. This book is especially useful for those interested in Natural Vision Improvement.”
– Samuel A. Berne, Behavioral Optometrist and Author of Creating Your Personal Vision, Santa Fe, New Mexico
“Meir has a third eye and eight senses. Bridge these two with an incredible perception of the human body and you’ve got a genius. You sense Meir’s ingenuity through his book. You know it through his work.”
– Yael Gottlieb, Registered Nurse and Self‐Healing Practitioner/Educator, Berkeley, California
“Meir’s informative, well‐written Handbook reflects his deep understanding of how to work with the body’s innate ability to heal. The clearly written exercises allow anyone, from layperson to professional, to take charge and begin their own journey of self‐healing.”
– Daniel Demay, Chiropractor, Concord, California
“Meir’s new book is an excellent source for the working knowledge of our bodies. It gives direction for choosing the most effective exercises for the appropriate time. I will be recommending Meir’s new material to my students and patients. The acute and chronic‐pain patients at my practice will benefit from Meir’s approach to breathing, circulation, joint, muscle, spine and nervous‐system movements. This book heightened my own awareness of fine‐tuning the body and mind and enhanced my abilities to help others.”
– Gail Wetzler, Physical Therapist and Certified Instructor for Visceral Manipulation, Uppledger Institute, Santa Ana Heights, California
“I wholeheartedly endorse this book. Seventeen years ago, Meir Schneider taught me a new way to relax and move in the world. His work still impacts my life every day. Amble through the Handbook of Self‐Healing. The exercises are easy but powerful. Do them daily and experience profound changes. Face and posture photos taken before you start will help you see the transformation. Meir’s bodywork should become a part of everyone’s day.”
– Ray Gottlieb, PhD, Optometrist, Madison, New Jersey
“This is an excellent book for those who sincerely wish to take the healing of their bodies into their own hands. Meir Schneider has a great ability to demystify the physiological and pathological processes involved in common physical illnesses. Combined with his enthusiasm and years of clinical experience, this is a rare resource for those who wish to understand their body’s better ‐whether for healing a serious condition or enjoying greater vitality. One of the greatest testaments to his work is the warmth and love of life which shine from every page.”
– Judith Bradley, Physical Therapist, British Columbia
“Meir Schneider’s innovative, yet “common‐sense” method works easily alongside the more orthodox approaches –but importantly, empowers individuals to help themselves. Its applications are wide ranging, with limitless potential for anyone no matter their age, or how mild or severe their problems ‐to attain and enjoy optimal health.”
– Marie Askin, Registered Nurse, London
“The Handbook of Self‐Healing is an excellent tool, beneficial to the patient as well as to the health‐care professional. I have been actively practicing the exercises and look forward to introducing them to my patients.”
– Ilana Parker, Physical Therapist, San Francisco
“As someone works daily in a sports medicine clinic working with clients who spend many hours in front of a desk this a invaluable guide to maintaining body health throughout their life. As a teacher of physical education i know that it is essential to learn kinesthetic awareness of the body to avoid injury. This book teaches you what you need to know to maintain a healthy body throughout your life.”
– William Fuller, CMT, BSC sports Science and Physical Education Teacher
“In this book, Meir Schneider shares with great generosity much of his method’s healing potential. It is a powerful guide for those who search a non‐invasive approach to body health.”
– Fernanda Leite Ribeiro, Optometrist and Self‐Healing Practitioner/Instructor
“Meir Schneider has a unique way to join the best technique with the finest intuitive perception.”
– Antonio Junqueira, Nefrologist, MD, PhD
“The ability to put powerful and efficient exercises, so simply, is something that deeply enchants Meir Schneider’s Self‐Healing method. Discovering the SIMPLE is surely the way to get in touch with the nature of the human body and to find in its essence the infinite force that makes us reborn each day.”
– Laura Canto, Occupational Therapist, Brazil
I would like to thank all my clients who helped me find solutions to their problems.
I would like to thank the other two wonderful authors, two beautiful ladies, who helped me write the Handbook of Self‐Healing, on which this book is based.
Maureen helped me form the School for Self‐Healing. She was a very active member of the Center for Self‐Healing and the Center of Conscious Vision that we built together, and she devoted countless hours to help me write my first book called Self‐Healing My Life and Vision, which was later transformed into the book Movement for Self‐Healing. She again took great part in the creation of the Handbook of Self‐Healing.
She was able to communicate my method in clear language, so the world could easily understand the work that we were doing. Using my method, many people have improved their health and their lives, but my ability to communicate the method was not as good as it could have been. Thanks to Maureen, the rest of the world has better access to the teachings, the simplicity, and the beauty of the Self‐Healing method.
She worked for countless hours while plagued and working on her own vision problems.
The other person I’d like to thank is my ex‐wife, Dror Schneider, who spent even more hours on the book. Dror worked for all four years that it took to assemble the 500 exercises and 200 illustrations in the book. She worked tirelessly from 11am to 3am, with some breaks, as we were raising our young son at that time, before our daughter was born. It was so wonderful to see her commitment to putting everything in order. Without her, we would not have been able to add illustrations.
I am so grateful to Monica Jarnot, who is now serving as a member of the board for the School for Self‐Healing. In spite of weakness and illness, she volunteered a good deal of her time to help us move the book forward.
I’m also very grateful to Jack Thompson, who edited this book with great patience and remarkable acumen. He dedicated hours upon hours to this project and showed unbelievable talent in putting things together.
Above all, I am grateful to Jan Albin, without whom the book could not have been completed. The difficult and exciting idea behind this book was to combine the ideas we developed and tested in the 80’s and 90’s with what we’ve learned in the past 20 years. Some things have changed, but much has not.
This book symbolizes all that I believe in, the love of life, and the love of oneself. This book symbolizes life itself to me. Through the exercises of breathing, moving, and seeing, we can change. After 15 years of the Handbook out of print, we are renewing it as whole new book with whole new sections.
I also would like to extend my thanks to the three illustrators, especially to Alison Menard, who quickly produced the illustrations for the second half of the book, and to Steve.
I must also thank all the volunteers who have helped in numerous way over the years. Lastly, I would like to thank the designer, Will Wright, and the proofreaders, Renica Powers and Michelle.
This book was a tremendous production. It’s the product of great effort, a lot of kindness, and a lot of heart from everyone who worked on it. This book brings me close to your life, dear reader. No matter where you are, whatever you do, whatever state you are in, I am here ‐ this work is here ‐ to help you get better, to improve your health, your outlook, and your life overall.
Many thanks to all of the readers.
Meir Schneider P.H.D.
Part One: Empower Your Body for Ever Growing Health
Chapter 1 – Breathing
Chapter 2 – Circulation
Chapter 3 – Joints
Chapter 4 – Spine
Chapter 5 – Muscles
Chapter 6 – Nervous System
Chapter 7 – Massage
Chapter 8 – Vision
Part Two: Moving Out of Pain and Illness
Chapter 9 – Running
Chapter 10 – Musicians
Chapter 11 – Computers and Office Work
Chapter 12 – Asthma
Chapter l3 – High and Low Blood Pressure
Chapter 14 – Heart Problems
Chapter 15 – Headaches
Chapter 16 – Diabetes Mellitus
Chapter 17 – Arthritis
Chapter 18 – Osteoporosis
Chapter 19 – Back Pain
Chapter 20 – Posture Problems
Chapter 21 – Muscular Dystrophy and Atrophy
Chapter 22 – Polio
Chapter 23 – Multiple Sclerosis
Chapter 24 – Parkinson’s Disease
Chapter 25 – Strokes
Chapter 26 – Vision Problems
Anything that can go wrong in the body can also often go right in the body. For example, if you breathe well, most likely, you will never have breathing problems, even if your tendency is to have them. If you see well, use your eyes properly, and not ever need glasses, you may never develop degenerative eye diseases, like cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and especially, retinal detachment. If you learn to use your muscles properly, you may have strong muscles not only in your 20’s and 30’s but also in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, even 80’s and 90’s. Some people could even increase their muscle strength when they are 100. If you learn how to use your joints properly, you may never have arthritis and if you learn how to use your back properly, you may never have back pain. But, if you wear glasses all your waking hours and allow your eyes to get worse over the years, the eyeball become longer and longer, which may lead to retinal detachment, a natural progression for people with severe myopia or nearsightedness. What would it take for you to imagine that your glasses might be temporary and not permanent? What would it take for someone to believe that they may not need to use their crutches and instead have stronger muscles and flexible joints? First of all, it takes belief in the power of the body to improve. Second, don’t believe others when they tell you that you can’t improve. Third, allow the improvement to be in small steps or one step at a time. Those who want quick improvement all at once, subconsciously do not believe they can improve. So, all or nothing does not work. And fourth, do the work that it takes without any hesitation. Don’t argue that you cannot do it and don’t resent the amount of work it takes. This book is your way of preventing illnesses.
Now that we understand how little we can afford medical care, now that people are filing for bankruptcy because of outrageous medical expenses, let’s bankrupt the medical profession. How can we bankrupt them? Let’s not need them. Or, to be realistic, let’s need them one tenth of the time. Let’s not visit the doctor for aches and pains. Let’s resolve them ourselves. Let it be that we are so strong and our circulation and breathing are so good and the vitality in our body is so great that we need them much less. And, when we need them, let’s continue to work on ourselves so we will need them less. When we have to have invasive procedures, let’s work on ourselves so well that we are rehabilitated from the procedures way beyond what physical therapy can do for us.
For those of you who have already been practicing a holistic healthcare approach, this book can add to or round out your practice. Nutrition, exercise, massage, and all types of bodywork
therapy: all of these fields can offer you valuable knowledge, essential to a healthy life. This holistic – meaning ‘whole‐person’ – approach to health has become increasingly popular in this era and is now supported by a growing number of medical doctors. Many types of bodywork are very helpful. Our approach is new even for those who have been practicing preventative care through movement and paying attention to diet.
The purpose of our book is to add a fresh dimension to your already expanding array of healthcare skills. This is the dimension of kinesthetic awareness — the physical, sensory awareness of your own body. As your kinesthetic awareness develops, you will be able to feel more and more of what happens with your body, both internally and externally.
We believe that many illnesses are allowed to develop because kinesthetic awareness has been lost. It often begins with a small, seemingly trivial problem that could develop, with time, into a major pathology. Chronic eyestrain may develop into a real loss of measurable vision; contraction of the upper back and neck muscles may lead to headaches which will not respond to any painkiller. Painkillers are a temporary resource and eventually we have to increase the dosage to get the same relief, creating side effects and toxicity. Stiffness in unused joints can become an arthritic condition; shallow, infrequent breathing can even create circulatory difficulties, including high blood pressure. All of these and many other problems are preventable. If we learn to listen to the signals of the body we may never get into the situation where a headache can begin.
It is easy to lose kinesthetic awareness when our lives are filled with all kinds of external sensory input and our minds are occupied with our everyday obligations. With so much to think about, so much to do, so many other people and things to respond to, it is no wonder that we forget about our physical selves. We are not aware when we become numb to our body and its real needs. As a result the body becomes increasingly rigid and weak. Often the only way the body can get our attention is by offering great pleasure, severe pain, hunger, or sexual desire. Once we develop kinesthetic awareness we have a great need for new movement and letting go of movement patterns that no longer work for us. We have a need to take deeper breaths on a regular basis. We have a need to use muscles we’ve never used before in order to relax the muscles we use and then integrate them, which makes us feel powerful and flexible. We begin to practice a new connection between the brain and the body that liberates us from the constraints that are all too familiar to us. This takes time, energy and a love for life.
This new awareness sometimes makes us uncomfortable, because in order to change our function to a better one we begin to feel, through pain, discomfort, and a deep sense of the tension we carry, how the other way of functioning has not worked. When we are able to identify our old way of being as the source of our pain we will not blame the new, healthier movement. We will also learn how to identify the pain caused by intensive exercise, destabilization of the body and strain that can lead to injury, not as “good pain” but as a sign to stop.
How much more good could you do if you had 100% of your resources available to work with?
Obviously, your world will benefit from a happy and healthy you as much as you will yourself.
Machines can monitor many of your body’s processes, but there are things about your body which only you can really know. A reading of your pulse rate and blood pressure will not necessarily determine whether your circulation is poor; but fatigue, lack of energy, poor concentration, loss of memory, stiffness, or cold hands and feet will make it clear that you need better circulation.
No machine can really tell you whether you are stiff or loose in muscles and joints, exhausted or refreshed, energetic or slow, how much more relaxed you can be, what your nervousness is doing to your system, and whether or not you are fully functional. Only you can feel these things. They are vital clues to your health. When even you are not aware of them, your health is in danger.
This book is filled with ways – which we call exercises for want of a better word – to get more in touch with your physical self, using both your mind (consciousness) and your body (kinesthetic awareness). Whether your aim is to prevent an illness, heal an existing condition or make good health into terrific health, you will have the opportunity to learn much about your body. The process takes time and patience, but it gives back self‐knowledge and a new enjoyment of your body.
Our emphasis in Self‐Healing is upon movement, because movement is the very essence of life. In fact, the capacity for movement is one of the characteristics by which scientists define an animal life form. An exercise is simply a movement or series of movements structured and repeated.
It is easy to see why movement, in the form of some sort of exercise, is so wholeheartedly recommended by professionals in virtually every healthcare field. We would like to take that recommendation a step further and not only say that movement is good for you, but also invite you to fully explore how good it can really be.
‘Movement’ is just another way of saying ‘use of the body’. Movement creates a change of pattern from one that freezes you and makes you less alive to one that frees you and gives you much more vitality. Your body doesn’t exist just to be maintained but it’s also for your use and enjoyment. Beyond that, your body contains within it just about every tool it needs to heal itself. Movement is one of the most versatile of these tools.
When it comes to vision improvement, there is no physical therapy. Basically, you are being swayed by the thought that you can’t improve. If you believe that you can improve and that the path to improvement is simple, this book will change your life and the lives of the people around you permanently. The philosophy behind it and the simple explanations it contains are the most powerful tools you can possibly have in order to improve and maintain good health.
After receiving your doctor’s advice and/or prescriptions, the next step of your treatment – and the next, and the next – is in your own hands. Do your own thinking – it is your own body, after all. Ask yourself what you can do for your body besides putting it temporarily out of its discomfort, minor or major. It is time to change the way you interact with your body. It is time to learn to nurture it. Think about all the other aspects of your life and objects that you nurture: your career, your home, your car, a garden, a pet, a relationship. Creating health and well‐being in your body can bring you more satisfaction than any of these and help all of them to flourish.
Your first discovery will be the enormous untapped resources your body possesses. We will work with breathing throughout this book, both for its own sake and in conjunction with other body movements. Our aim will be to increase our intake of oxygen, for this is the body’ s most basic need and one which is fully satisfied in very few of us.
Though our lungs have the capacity to take in approximately 4,000 ml of air, we normally breathe in less than 500 ml. You will appreciate the difference when you experience what full respiration really feels like. We have nearly 700 muscles, designed to perform all the body’s possible functions, yet we normally use very few of them. Those few grow contracted and tired through overwork, while the rest weaken and atrophy. We do not move enough to exercise our full joint capacity; thus the joints gradually lose their mobility. We attribute this last process to aging, but there is a big difference between a person who has spent much time in the last seventy years in healthy physical activity and one who has not.
Those who have made some form of movement a part of their daily lives cannot say enough about how much it improves the way they feel physically, emotionally, and mentally. Unfortunately, the majority of us do not seem to be getting enough movement to stay healthy. The result is that 80% of the adult population in the United States alone suffers from frequent lower back pain and more serious spine problems; 74 million suffer from various forms of arthritis. More deaths occur from side effects related to medications taken for arthritis than from all illegal drugs combined. There is no way to count how many are affected by the fatigue, depression, headaches, digestive ailments and many other problems – including just plain malaise – that can be attributed to our chronic inertia.
There is also the problem – and it is just as serious – of people who are physically active, but in ways that are destructive to their bodies. Most of these sports injuries could be prevented if people were more sensitive to how their bodies need and want to move. Vigorous movement should be done in a state of relaxation, for the sake of health and enjoyment rather than challenge or competition.
Medicine has made incredible gains in treating infectious diseases, once the primary cause of death, and in surgical techniques to correct structural problems and emergency situations. For the most part, however, the diseases which most concern us now are of the chronic type, caused not by accident or microbes, but by habits in lifestyle which contribute to ill health and
slow recovery. It has been estimated that 85% of all current disease is lifestyle‐related. For this reason, in many, many cases, these diseases respond very well to changes in lifestyle and health habits. For the great majority of people, the key to their health is in their own hands.
Through Self‐Healing we encourage people not only to work on a particular disease or disorder but also to change the body’s overall condition from tense to relaxed, from rigid to mobile, from unused to fully used, from numb to fully alive. How do we know when life has left a body? When something has died it does not breathe; its blood does not circulate; it cannot move; it cannot feel; its consciousness is gone. The more we breathe and move and feel, and the more awareness we have, the more fully alive we will be.
You have learned how to move, breathe and see in ways that are not working for you. In this book you will be guided in ways of breathing, moving, and sensing your body in ways that will move you from stagnation — which happens to 99% of the population — to vitality and openness. In my experience this has been the key to preventing any possibility of degeneration of the body, and that’s why this book will be the best friend you will ever have.
Millions of people have made the decision to transform their lives, and whether you’re one of them or not, this is a good time for you to start and make this decision for yourself. Through breathing and movement you will change your life for the better in simple ways: achieve better circulation, work muscles that you never knew existed, decrease the number of visits to the doctor’s office, and work out bad thoughts and depression. And all it takes, as difficult as it is, is a commitment to do these exercises, but also a commitment to transform your thinking so you can do them successfully. For these are different exercises, not like the ones you get in most other programs. There is a combination of a better awareness of how you have been using your body and an awareness of what you have not used in your body and ought to use daily. We work on strengthening as well as making the body more agile and flexible. Some schools teach millions of people just how to be aware of the body, but most schools teach people how not to be aware of the body, and instead abuse it with hard work which destroys it. And then, many people don’t believe in the power of the body to heal itself. (My method uses awareness and agility and strength.) Those transformations — believing that your body can heal itself, believing in your power, believing in the power of breath and the power of movement — can make all the difference in the world when it comes to change. We know it because we’ve taught thousands and thousands of people, with success that looks to the medical profession as legendary and impossible. But it’s quite possible. When every seventh person in the hospital is there because of poor medical treatment, all we can see is that the medical profession is way behind in recognizing its own limitations. It’s behind in understanding that other methods can work. No research is done sufficiently on alternative methods unless it’s done for the insinuating purpose of denouncing other methods. It’s behind because it’s institutionalized, and institutions move and change very slowly. It’s behind because this information is new to them. They are aware of very rudimentary exercises that either succeed or not and if they don’t succeed, they basically say exercise does not work. They’re not aware of sophisticated exercises that include body and mind and using muscles we’ve never used before, of nerve pathways we didn’t use before. They aren’t aware of exercises that change the way your nerves work. That’s
Your stress reduction will be so great that the stress haunting you will become insignificant. The worst and the hardest situations in life could be managed and the small stresses in life could be greatly reduced. But the work needs to be done, and this book is not for the lazy reader. This book is for the committed student. Your commitment to work on yourself is the basis of your improvement. It’s the Achilles tendon of this method. It’s what causes less people to use it, but we hope to increase that number enough to create enough of a critical mass in this generation to influence generations to come. These days we’re seeing a decrease in people’s health. Working with the programs in this book will create an increase that has not ever been apparent in human history.
Each year shows an increase in the number of people suffering from degenerative diseases.
Working the programs in this book will decrease those numbers.
What is different about this book? It shows you how day‐to‐day work and movement, or lack of it, affects you so you will be alerted to these affects and you can change the way you function. In this book we make what has been mysterious very familiar: how your mind and your body can meet, and how your brain and body tissues can work together. It’s no mystery. It’s no religion. It’s not mysticism. It is a way for you to connect to yourself and through yourself to universal forces. What many people talk about we teach you to do in the comfort of your living room, bedroom, or personal gym – on yourself. By teaching you some basic anatomy, we make your physique tangible to you. What a difference that can make in your life.
You will slowly learn how movement affects you in the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms. The diligence of doing the exercises has a very high spiritual quality behind it in that it means you honor your life and you want to explore more of yourself and the universal forces you possess.
You will learn strategies to improve your breathing and to improve your blood flow in a way that is not being taught in a gym, is not being taught by a fitness instructor, and is easier to accomplish once well understood.
The program in this book, which is a life discovery, teaches you to be in touch with your body as if all parts of it – your heart, your lungs, your muscles – are your friends, and you create a good relationship with your body. You will need to read the exercises more than once, follow the instructions in the book, and stay with the exercises for a while, until you select the exact ones that work best for you. At the end of the book we will ask you to select five exercises that you felt made the biggest difference for you. Those five exercises will be repeated for half an hour to forty‐five minutes each day. Also we would love to hear from you and know what worked best from everything we have shown you.
I encourage all of you to attend the classes I teach in anatomy and physiology. Whether you want to learn the Self‐Healing profession or simply work on yourself, come join us in creating the revolution we need: the Self‐Healing revolution. Make a difference in your life, the lives of those close to you, and the environment of our world. Either way, we invite you to sense your body deeper than you ever have in your life – and to enjoy the changes.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “A doctor’s reputation is made by the number of eminent men who die under his care.”
In my opinion, the wisest and most effective doctors are those who give the most information and the least medication. The patients who improve the most are those who take an active role in their healthcare and carefully follow a doctor’s advice regarding healthy living. They also avoid drugs until every other avenue has been explored – except in emergency situations, of course.
Medications can be effective and save lives in some cases, but they have side effects. Once we are no longer under the illusion that medications can only save us and that it is not like fixing a computer problem with a reboot, then we can understand and accept that having better access to our own bodies in new and different ways will improve our health.
This book will begin the revolution that your life and the world needs. This revolution starts with your commitment to restudy the power of your body. Unlike other books that can make you feel like you know little about your body but require extensive research to ameliorate your condition, this book explains, how the different systems of the body work.
I will give you easy explanations of subjects that scientists have managed to portray as complicated and inaccessible. We make them accessible by demonstrating a practice that can access the connection between your brain and your body.
If you believe you can improve your life naturally, and you can imagine experiencing more vibrant health and being less dependent on costly, risky external intervention, then read this book. Even more importantly, practice with it. I will help you find a way to integrate vital function of neglected parts of the body in your daily life. You will become stronger, more resistant, and more capable of recovery. Your life will change forever.
We are sharing our knowledge a straightforward and unselfish way, and it is our hope that you will benefit as much as we have.
This book is for active participants. Reading about the exercises will not change anything, but doing them definitely will. Some of the exercises will work for you and some will not. There is no movement which is right for everybody – different exercises will be helpful for you at different times. Pay attention to how you respond to an exercise on different occasions. It may indicate that you are making progress, or that there are specific areas which need your attention.
I encourage you to view the exercises mainly as suggestions, and to use them as a basis for inventing your own forms of movement. Once you begin to move, you are likely to find that movement comes easily and spontaneously in new and varied ways.
Each of the movements we describe here was discovered by someone who simply happened to be paying attention to his or her body. This is something you can do as well as anyone else. You can become as intelligent about your body as anyone else. We would be delighted to hear about your discoveries if you would like to share them.
You probably have very specific goals in mind as you begin your Self‐Healing process. This is an excellent starting‐point because it provides genuine motivation. Besides dealing with problem areas, it is just as important to care for the body as a whole. Your original goals, whether they be improving your vision, overcoming back pain, regaining mobility in joints, improving your ability and comfort in moving as a runner or musician, or whatever you have in mind, will become just a part of your healing process. Your goals will evolve as you discover what works best for your body, and as you see improvement in your life.
Self‐Healing movement can be an excellent supplement to other physical practices. It can provide the relaxation of mind and body as well as the limbering and warm‐up needed for more strenuous forms of movement such as yoga, dance, martial arts, and running. It can also give you a whole new approach to your body ‐ one which may help to prevent you from injuring or stressing yourself during vigorous activity.
Practice these movements at home, before your day begins and after it ends; before work, performance or competition; during your breaks or after exertion. The effects will gradually carryover into your daily activity, until Self‐Healing becomes second nature.
Eventually you will be able to recognize immediately what is good for your health and what is not. Learning to care for your eyes is a good example of this principle: it does not end when a session of eye exercises is finished, but extends to every moment in which you are using your eyes, which is most of your waking life. You will learn to recognize when you are tensing unnecessarily, when you are moving or reposing in a way that hurts your muscles or joints, when you need to breathe, when you need to rest, and when you need to move.
The process of reawakening awareness is rewarding and enjoyable, but it is not entirely painless. We often find that our bodies have reacted to the stresses we impose upon them by becoming numb. In the process of revitalizing the body, we often rediscover the pain we have suppressed. This pain is part of awareness. This is productive pain. Embrace it.
You may be able to put in an overwhelmingly stressful fourteen‐hour workday, ignoring your throbbing forehead, burning eyes, aching back, and powerful urge to cry or scream – until you lie down and try to relax. Then, you will feel what you have suppressed. Relaxation does not create new problems; it simply uncovers those which are already there, motivating us to deal with them. The first step in solving a problem is to know what it really is. This is awareness. Even when it is difficult or unpleasant, it is our most effective problem‐solving tool.
Self‐Healing Support Groups
I strongly recommend that you form a support group in which to practice Self‐Healing exercises. Being part of a group encourages us to keep practicing when we might otherwise slack off, and gives objective feedback about our progress. Some of the exercises and most of the bodywork techniques are best done with a partner; you may find that not only will you improve your health through Self‐Healing movement, you may become a proficient bodyworker and wind up getting all the relaxing bodywork you need.
It is beneficial to have a variety of partners to work with. The ideal size for a group is from two to fifteen, but can be much larger. We recommend that you meet with your group once or twice a week. A small group can meet for one or two hours or more each time, while a large group should meet for three or four hours each time. Your support group may become not just a group to work with, but a social network of people who share the concepts behind the book and who can help each other choose the right path to greater health and prevention of illness. If we don’t recognize and resolve our tensions, we are at risk for pathologies.