HolisticWisdom.org web site
Linda Diane Feldt
NCTMB, Holistic Health Practitioner and Herbalist
The Ann Arbor Center for Holistic Health and Traditional Wisdom
|These articles retain the copyright of Linda Diane Feldt and/or Moon Field Press. They are provided here as a service. Permission is given to reprint individual articles intact, as long as you retain copyright information and acknowledge the author and source, and in some cases the printing history. The purpose in providing these reprints is educational. None of these works may be copied or promoted for financial gain. Please feel free to e-mail for special use requests or for questions.|
Nerve Regeneration Through the Use of St. John's Wort and Polarity Therapy
Linda Diane Feldt, NCTMB, Holistic Health Practitioner
On March 14, 1986 there was a devastating head-on car crash. A group of business people, on their way to a conference, were hit by a car that plunged into their lane. The driver of the errant vehicle was killed, and was blamed as the cause of the crash. The three occupants of the other car, F., his then girlfriend who was driving, and another woman, were badly injured. F's girlfriend died a year and a half later after spending most of that time in a coma. The other passenger continues to have nightmares of the accident but no lasting physical damage. This story is about F.
Upon arrival at the hospital, F. was diagnosed with a broken leg, and smashed wrist. After weeks in traction it became apparent that there was something seriously wrong with his arm. Further evaluation found that he could only wiggle a few fingers, and all the nerves to his arm had been damaged. Although he was experiencing constant pain, he had no other feeling in his arm except for a few places that registered touch elsewhere from where it was actually occurring. He was told by the medical staff that if there was no feeling within three months, he would never have use of his arm. After three months, there was no improvement, and neurosurgery found the nerves at the shoulder had been twisted and severed. F. was told he would never be able to use his arm again. His doctor offered two options. Amputation, or what F. described as a big bulky uncomfortable braceî.
He chose the brace, and prescriptions for tranquilizers and pain killers. While employed as a sales person, F's primary activity in his spare time was as a musician, he played saxophone in a local rock, bluesy band. He had no reason to believe that he would ever play again.
A few weeks after the neurosurgery, a friend of F's suggested that he come to me for bodywork and possible help in reducing the pain. He was concerned about his dependency on the drugs, and wanted to decrease their use.
The first session I did some general checking and assessing of energy patterns, structural evaluation with the leg, releasing tension and fascial constriction in the shoulder around the sight of the recent surgery. I had never worked with nerve regeneration, but knew that touch could facilitate pain reduction. If that was all that happened, that would be fine. As he took his damaged arm from the sling it seemed that his arm was no longer his, or even a part of his body. I held his hand.
That moment stands out in my mind very vividly, although it was almost more than a decade ago. Just holding his hand and accepting his disability was the most powerful action I could take. His initial repulsion and then relaxation ó soon it felt that he was drinking in as much loving attention as I could give. The healing had begun.
I encouraged him to allow others to touch and massage his hand and arm, and he confessed intense embarrassment and shyness about letting anyone know he had a problem. He wore long sleeve shirts at all times, (this was Michigan in August) and did all he could to conceal his injury. On disability, he wasn't working or having much contact with people.
After that first session, where the most significant thing I did was to hold his hand, he was pain free for three hours, the very first non-drug relief he had had since the accident. That was convincing enough that he came back, every week. Each time I worked with the meridian and other energetic pathways from his shoulder to his hand, reflexing points to other parts of the torso, and general polarity balancing for the rest of his body.
Combined with talk about his injury and his feelings, and supporting him as he dealt with the insurance nightmare that resulted form the accident, we made significant progress. In addition to the neurological problems mentioned earlier he was experiencing muscular complications now as well. His fingers were curling, and he was quickly losing muscle tone on the entire left side of his torso. After only a few weeks, he began to have more and more time with diminished or no pain. The energy as I made connections between his torso and arm began to feel stronger. After just two months, we both realized that he was beginning to have sensation, he could feel when and where I was touching his forearm.
To facilitate the possible nerve regeneration I suggested that he use the herb St. John's Wort, Hypericum Perforatum. While this herb has been in the press lately as an antidepressant similar to Prozac, my early experiences with it were for pain relief (especially nerve pain), help with shingles and other herpes viruses, and bruising. I hoped that Hypericum's affinity for the nervous system would help both with pain relief and the possibility of some new nerve functioning.
The next spring, his progress was significant enough that the hospital staff, whom he had been out of touch with until then, made him the first of many active braces, a contraption that allowed him to cock his arm in a bent position and hold it there. He began to risk having people see the brace and his injury, and the day that he appeared at my door in a short sleeve shirt I celebrated with him. He no longer had to go through the sweltering Michigan summer sweating and hiding.
With continued Polarity Therapy he began to be able to pick up objects and carry things. The pain was more the exception than the norm, and I began to bring up the idea of finding a way to try out the saxophone again.
Over the next two years, F. and I identified a pattern of increased pain for a week or two, followed by recovery or rejuvenation of appropriate nerve sensation. He stopped using the brace, which he found restrictive rather than useful. Over about a four year period, he regained complete ability to feel in all parts of his arm, part of his hand, and a small section of his wrist. When his wrist was smashed, it was apparently put back together as best it could, but too many bones were destroyed for it to be reassembled properly. His wrist still lacks strength and there seems to be no further progress over the areas that are most damaged. The pain is only occasional, though, and F. recognizes that it almost always accompanies stress.
His Doctors acknowledged his progress by showing him off to colleagues, and attributed the success to the brace they had made. F. was shy about talking to them about the Polarity Therapy he was receiving, and they expressed no interest in his opinion about what had brought about this miracle they had said would never happen. About four years after the accident, F. accepted a special brace designed by a physical therapist that would allow him the wrist support to play the sax. The exercises they prescribed created pain and no apparent progress, he didnít continue with them, but the brace made it possible for F. to play again, and he did.
Although reluctant to criticize the doctors, F. attributes his recovery to the work we did together. He wrote to me: ěYou kept working on it and believing that it was possible after the doctors had given up on it. If I wasn't going to your appointments, I think I might have just assumed that there would never be any more movement in my arm, so I might have spent the rest of my life wearing that brace. I think that physicians should use Polarity Therapists the way they use physical therapists, as a regular part of their physical rehabilitation programs. Medical science has been going in their "pure science" direction for most of the twentieth century; it's time for physicians to take a look at the philosophies and therapies that they've been ignoring since they decided to become ëscientistsí.î
Today F. plays in bands regularly. He is mostly pain free, and his arm is weak but usable. He wears a brace only while playing music, he works well with computers, his disability rarely intrudes on his work. The knowledge, experience, and hope Iíve gained from him about nerve regeneration and pain relief have helped me with my work with other clients. Although none of the recoveries I have experienced have been as dramatic, I have seen slow nerve regeneration in the same pattern, even after waiting years before beginning treatment. It is very wonderful to be a part of this miracle.
Publication history: 1993,1994,1997
"A Case Study of Nerve Regeneration with the use of Polarity Therapy” Energy: The Newsletter of The American Polarity Therapy Association (Raleigh, NC, The American Polarity Therapy Association) Jan. 1993, reprinted in Michigan Hands, Vol. 6 No. 2, 1994 Summer/Fall issue (the newsletter of The American Massage Therapy Association, Michigan Chapter). Revised and reprinted in Touchstone Journal, Miracles in Action, (Southfield MI) winter 1997