Movement therapy is an empowering practice. I entered it to help my mother who has had chronic lower back pain for several years from pressure fracture of two of her lumbar vertebrae. She's in her 80's and lives in Japan. The painkiller was no longer working for her, and her mobility was decreasing. In my search to find a safe yoga practice for myself, I came across the work of Susi Hately, a kinesiologist and yoga therapist. Her approach is rooted in nurturing stillness and in helping people become aware of their compensatory and breath holding patterns and unravel these patterns. I was drawn to her message that you can reduce pain at any age no matter what your condition is.
A few months after I had my first therapeutic yoga training, I visited my mother and got to witness the power of this approach. We did a short session immediately after I arrived. I carefully chose the movements that were safe and supportive for her rounded and protruded lumbar spine. The next morning, her pain was gone. Prior to my arrival, she had to shift her hands from railing to railing on the wall to walk to the washroom in the morning. That morning, she walked smoothly on her own with her spine more upright. She couldn't believe her reflection in the mirror. We were both emotional. The effect waned as the day went by, as her body didn't yet have a stamina to maintain the new more functional movement pattern. Continuing to practice makes it possible to maintain the pain-free state and move her towards increased stability and mobility.
Having a taste of freedom from pain gave her hope. She had resigned that her condition would never improve. For me, I witnessed that I can make a difference in the life of somebody I love and many others like her.