Stories of Healing
Reprinted with permission from Rosita Arvigo
Rosita Remarks …
Journeys in Healing: Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients
This is the third in a series of commentaries by Dr. Rosita Arvigo on the clinical practice outcomes presented in the recently published book Journeys in Healing: Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients. To access an excerpt from the book that contains the case study chapter being discussed in this blog post, “Angela~ Navigating Perimenopause”, click here. For more information about the book that includes more than 30 additional case studies focusing on reproductive and digestive wellness practice- based outcomes with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®, click here.
Rosita Remarks about: Angela ~ Navigating Perimenopause
Angela’s journey pulled deeply at my heart. Many women have similar stories of traumatic events in early life that crop up in later life as pathology and pain. As women, we can understand how she felt so deeply about how her “exhaustion, depression and pain” affected her husband and children. That one week window during which she felt a full relief of symptoms was due to the drop of both estrogen and progesterone hormones and indicates to me that her body is highly sensitive to those cyclical hormone shifts. Experiencing such severe symptoms with ovulation is something we do not often hear about but is a clear indication of a progesterone imbalance.
Arvigo Therapy practitioners receive a good introductory knowledge of the life work of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychotherapist and student of Freud who immigrated to the United States in the 1930’s to escape Nazi ethnic cleansing of Jews in Europe. Although very misunderstood during his time, Dr. Reich was a gift to America and is recognized as the father of modern bodywork. He established the New School for Social Research in New York City and The Orgone Center in Bangor, Maine where he taught his ground-breaking concepts of applying direct pressure over abnormally tense muscle tissue to release emotional armoring caused by traumatic life events.
Angela’s story of great loss and sexual trauma fit in perfectly with Dr. Reich’s philosophy of healing. Losing your father during a pregnancy must have been very challenging for her. Blocked pelvic energy caused by this loss and sexual trauma in her early life were the initiating causes of her pain and dysfunction. Because the cause is more emotional than physical, most allopathic medical physicians are baffled. They simply have not been trained to ask about and to look for these emotional traumas that may be the foundation of physical symptoms like Angela’s. Our mentor, Don Elijio Panti, would say, “You suffer. You are in a lot of pain, but no machines will show the problem.”
Arvigo practitioner Hilary Lewin made the right decision to go very gently on the first treatment and as we saw, that was sufficient to trigger those blocked memories. How brilliant of Angela that she recognized her teen-age self and was able to release her along with the painful emotions surrounding the sexual trauma. Always, the deep healing power of acknowledgment, gentle loving care and understanding of deeper issues held within astound us. These memories are thought forms that reside within our emotional bodies to block energy or chi in the physical body. The primary physical effect is to decrease the arterial and venous blood flow leading to poor uptake of hormones, minerals, and all vital elements of the red blood; stagnation of the venous blood that carries away normal toxemia and waste from the cells occurs in tandem. These two physical effects in combination with the blocked emotions caused Angela’s severe symptoms. Natural healers know that if we find the cause and help remove the obstacles to optimum blood flow, symptoms abate. Given only half a chance, nature has a miracle in store for everyone.
It was indeed gratifying to read how Angela under Hilary’s guidance took to the self-care component of our work. That she enjoyed it so much is a testament to her willingness to work toward her own healing. When clients are willing to do regular self-care at home, half of our work is already done when they return for follow-up visits.
Rosita Remarks: Journeys in Healing "Unexplained Infertility or; Mom Knows Best!
Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients
This is the second in a series of commentaries by Dr. Rosita Arvigo on the clinical practice outcomes presented in the recently published book Journeys in Healing: Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients. To access an excerpt from the book that contains the case study chapter being discussed in this blog post, “Vivian~ Unexplained Infertility: Mom Knows Best”, click here. For more information about the book that includes more than 30 additional case studies focusing on reproductive and digestive wellness practice- based outcomes with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®, click here.
Rosita’s Remarks about Vivian ~ Unexplained Infertility: Mom Knows Best
Vivian’s conception journey with Arvigo Therapy practitioner Katinka Locascio really resonated with me on a personal level, because I, too, have experienced the confusion and anguish that surrounds a fertility challenge. My personal journey to conceive a third child lasted more than twelve years.
Vivian’s mother told of her journey to Mexico and how her grandmother gave her the uterine massage and recommended a vaginal steam after which she was able to conceive. Therein lies the crux and the heart of our work with these ancient folk techniques. Many women in Central and South America are still fortunate to have elders in the household or village who know how to perform the specific external uterine massage that repositions the uterus. Once the uterus has been coaxed into normal position (in Vivian’s case from retroversion) blood supply is normalized and then the vaginal steam can do its job of cleansing the uterine membrane to make a better and softer implantation site for a fertilized ovum. The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® were born under just such circumstances. Our mentors, Don Elijio Panti and midwife Hortence Robinson of Belize, were taught by elders who were taught by elders who were taught by elders. For thousands of years, although less and less with each passing decade, men and women sobaderas (massage therapists) of Central and South America have done this healing for each other with work-worn hands.
From decades of experience, we Arvigo Therapy practitioners know that this combination of uterine massage and vaginal steam is often the kiss of birth – often the missing modality that can restore a woman’s fertility. I liked that Vivian independently decided to stop the birth control pills for one year before she married...very, very smart of her to give her ovaries a chance to normalize their hormonal production after six years of synthetic hormones. It also happens that, in cases like Vivian’s, the first pregnancy is not successful; she had a chemical pregnancy.
So, what is a chemical pregnancy? A chemical pregnancy is actually a very early miscarriage, which takes place before anything can be seen on an ultrasound scan – usually around the fifth week of pregnancy. It indicates that a sperm has fertilized the egg, but with time, the egg fails to survive. Chemical pregnancies will still show a change in the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), allowing the initial pregnancy test to show positive. Early miscarriage on a first pregnancy is not unusual for women undergoing Arvigo Therapy treatments to enhance fertility, especially if they have taken birth control pills for a period of years as Vivian did. Sad and frustrating to be sure, but still, we are encouraged that she was able to conceive. As did Katinka, the Arvigo practitioner continues to work with the client stressing the importance of consistent self-care massage at home, as well as vaginal steams and other appropriate modalities.
Arvigo Therapy practitioners see many women with unexplained infertility. We are able to help because we know that allopathically trained physicians have little knowledge of the importance of uterine position, often the cause of unexplained infertility. We rely on the normalization and strengthening of homeostasis and hemodynamics, “H & H” as we like to refer to them. Homeostasis is “balance within” that refers to all physiological systems, glands and organs working in harmony with each other as nature intended. Hemodynamics is the unimpeded flow of arterial and venous blood. When these two function optimally, the body’s innate ability to heal itself reigns, and healing “miracles” occur. Arvigo practitioners know that we are not the “fixers”, but rather the hands that assist the body’s dynamic forces to function at the highest efficiency; we facilitate the healing process. When trying to conceive, a woman’s ovaries, cervix, vagina, uterus, anterior pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid and nervous, circulatory, lymphatic systems must all work in tandem for her. Assisting these internal dynamics to achieve balance is what we do best.
I was so happy to read at the end of this chapter that Vivian conceived. I heard myself sigh with joy for her.
Rosita Remarks: Journeys in Healing: "Supporting Changes During Pregnancy" June 2015
Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients
This is the fourth in a series of commentaries by Dr. Rosita Arvigo on the clinical practice outcomes presented in the recently published book Journeys in Healing: Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients. To access excerpts from the book that contain the case study chapters being discussed in this blog post, click herefor “Heather ~ Pregnancy Doesn’t Have to be Painful” and click here for “Kyra ~ Persistence Pays Off: Finding Relief for Pregnancy Pain”. For more information about the book that includes more than 30 additional case studies focusing on reproductive and digestive wellness practice-based outcomes with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®, click here.
Rosita Remarks about: Supporting Changes during Pregnancy
Many women who suffer needlessly during pregnancy believe the old adage we have all heard, “Get used to it. The only cure is to have your baby.” We know this is not true! As midwife and Arvigo Therapy practitioner Anne Hirsch states in her case study, women are commonly told by their care providers: “There is nothing we can do about that pelvic or low back pain. This is pregnancy. Everything is normal.” During pregnancy, the growing expansion of weight at the front of the body: enlarged breasts, growing uterus and expanding hips shifts the mom’s center of gravity forwards, and her posture changes in an attempt to re-balance her body so that she doesn’t fall forward on her nose. The lumbar and thoracic spinal curves exaggerate often resulting in low back, hip, rib pain and leg cramps. As a result, pain during pregnancy is very common, but should not be considered “normal” as I will discuss below.
Anne’s client Kyra demonstrates how skeletal misalignment affects inner organs. Uterine ligaments have boney attachments to the hips, sacrum and pubic bone, whenever these structures become unbalanced the results will reflect on the uterus. In Kyra’s case, as a lawyer she probably had decades of prolonged sitting in poor posture, hauling a heavy briefcase and no doubt has had to wear high heel shoes to keep up with professional appearance standards; a combination of factors that all were likely responsible for her severe discomfort as she started to experience the additional posture distortions caused by pregnancy. Reading her case history convinces me that misalignment of her sacrum, lumbar spine, and both hips all played a role. Anne, a midwife with no previous training in body work, was able to learn these Arvigo Therapy techniques and apply them successfully to bring about such dramatic relief for Kyra.
Dr. Sarah Wylie’s pregnant client Heather, experiencing so much pain did the right thing by visiting the Emergency Room to rule out any potentially serious causes for her pain, as it is not within the scope of most Arvigo practitioners to diagnose and rule out pregnancy conditions that require medical attention such as tubal pregnancy or ovarian torsion. However, allopathic doctors cannot address common complaints of pregnancy with body work and self-care techniques that, for centuries, have proven to be safe and effective. Scar tissue from Heather’s early pelvic surgery caused a life time of compromised uterine ligaments that eventually pulled and tugged her entire body to one side. Once her uterus gained in weight and volume with pregnancy, the extra burden was too much torque for the ligaments and tendons to withstand. I thought Dr. Wylie described the condition beautifully. As a naturopathic physician, she has a very strong grasp of the physiology of post-surgical effects. “Antalgic posture” refers to someone taking measured steps while anticipating pain. I can see Heather arriving at Dr. Wylie’s clinic, leaning to one side, afraid to walk, afraid to stand. How relieved she must have been that Dr. Wylie was able to resolve the intensity of the pain after one treatment. As Heather’s uterus continued to grow during pregnancy, the pulling on the scar tissue increased so that she needed more expert care for re-alignment of the hips and sacrum and to allow the uterine ligaments to gradually stretch painlessly to accommodate the growing fetus. Most women do not experience severe pain during pregnancy, but Heather needed extra help, which I am pleased to say Dr. Wylie was able to provide.
As their teacher, the case studies of both Anne and Sarah warmed my heart tremendously. The healing journeys of Heather and Kyra made me feel so proud of how our Arvigo® Therapy practitioners are helping to educate pregnant women and alleviating their common but unnecessary discomforts of pregnancy. Every woman deserves to have a beautiful experience during her pre-natal months. Our work, a combination of modern bodywork and ancient Maya techniques, may be the only holistic therapy that could have helped these two women.
How many times have you heard a pregnant woman say “my baby is lying on my right side and my hips and ribs are painful” or “my baby is so very low and causing me pelvic pain and some urinary incontinence”? As the uterus is what is holding and supporting the baby, the baby will lay where the uterus allows it to. If the mom feels the baby is mostly on her “right side” or “low” then it is the uterus that is out of balance or mal-positioned and that is why the baby is lying in a sub optimal position causing the mom-to-be discomfort.
Arvigo® Therapy is very supportive of the physical changes experienced by women in their pregnancy. As the baby and uterus grow, additional strain is put on the uterine ligaments, pelvic floor muscles and pelvic ligaments. Significant posture deviations and pelvic misalignment indicate a mal-positioned uterus, which can cause a variety of pains and also cause labor and delivery to be longer and more physically stressful than need be. Arvigo Therapy helps normalize and maintain pelvic alignment which guides the uterus into a more neutral position in the abdomen. A well-positioned uterus receives good blood supply and grows strong and resilient. With Arvigo® Therapy, the lower back and pelvic bones are kept well-aligned. Each woman is also taught how to do a special self-care massage so that she can continue her therapy at home daily. This Therapy and self-care massage can be empowering for a pregnant woman, allowing her to actively participate and take steps to address her pain and help keep her uterus more balanced, thereby assisting her baby assume optimal fetal positioning. She feels more relaxed and deeply connected to her baby, knowing she has done what she can to physically prepare for a smoother birth.
Note: There are currently thousands of Arvigo® Practitioners worldwide. Contact the web site for a practitioner near you or workshop near you or peruse the training schedule at www.arvigotherapy.com.
Journeys in Healing; "Rosita Remarks" on Painful Periods December 2014
Experiences of Arvigo™ Practitioners and their Clients
This is the first in a series of commentaries by Dr. Rosita Arvigo on the clinical practice outcomes presented in the recently published book Journeys in Healing: Experiences of Arvigo Practitioners and their Clients. To access an excerpt from the book that contains the case study chapter being discussed in this blog post, “Madeleine ~ Healing from a Lifetime of Painful Periods”, clickhere. For more information about the book that includes more than 30 additional case studies focusing on reproductive and digestive wellness practice- based outcomes with the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®, click here.
Rosita’s Remarks about Madeleine ~ Healing from a Lifetime of Painful Periods
Arvigo™ Therapy practitioners everywhere see many women for painful periods with positive results. We are amazed at how many women have suffered this malady for decades of their reproductive life. The years of pain and nausea Madeleine experienced until her IUD was finally removed is upsetting to a practitioner of natural therapies. It pains us to hear that a woman’s call for help was unheeded and that, in the end, just as she suspected, it was caused by the IUD. This would have been a call easy enough to make for an Arvigo™ practitioner because we know that her pain was an attempt by the body to dispel the malfunctioning device in her womb. Her chills and nausea were both clear signs that her body was trying to dislodge the IUD. I would congratulate her that she had the good sense to insist that it be removed.
The second response I have to Madeleine’s case is how her sexual history has played into her health all along. She uses words like “disconnected”, “shame”, “fear” and “distrust” to describe her emotions. As she is able to continue with the Arvigo™ professional treatments and if she continues to be loyal to self-care massage at home, she will be able to gradually release the blocked, stored emotions from her abdomen – the fourth armor block and third chakra. Here, she is holding on to the emotions surrounding the painful memories of unfulfilling, even abusive sex. Muscles in this area respond to our emotional states with tension, tightness and even severe spasms. This leads to constriction of arterial and venous blood flow, nerve function and chi to all abdominal and pelvic organs. When these systems are blocked, pathology can result. Once these avenues of blood, lymph and nerve flow are restored, symptoms gradually lessen until they are completely gone.
We know that Arvigo™ Therapy combined with acupuncture improves the client’s outcome tremendously. I admire that Arvigo™ practitioner and acupuncturist Li-Lan Hsiang Weiss proceeded gently and slowly with Madeleine, working to match her client’s physical and emotional capacity. Madeleine was introduced to Arvigo™ Therapy through the Self Care weekend workshop, a most basic tenet of our service to women. It’s gratifying to me that doors to Madeleine’s healing were opened through that workshop which I started more than thirty years ago as a way to reach as many women as possible and to introduce the whole concept of self-care abdominal massage to the public. Li-Lan is one of our most inspiring teachers of this two and a half day training. You can review the Arvigo Institute workshop and course schedule at www.arvigotherapy.com.
We do not know if Li-Lan recommended herbal vaginal steams for Madeleine, but she would be a perfect candidate for this uterine cleansing treatment. Madeleine’s practice of meditation and grounding in front of her home altar are all excellent choices that show she is motivated to continue with her physical and spiritual healing journey, and we see that she understands the connection that her spiritual life has to her physical body.
It makes sense that Madeleine had such a severe period just before her husband left for 4 months. My interpretation is that her uterus was responding to her understandable emotional upset at the pending absence of her tender, caring lover. At this stage of life, she is fortunate to have found the balm of true love and her psyche feared its loss. I’m sure she will be helped through this in therapy sessions and will come to see that the reaction, while severe and painful, was to be expected. It would be good for Madeleine to do some Uterine Meditation* sessions while her husband is away to talk to her uterus and ovaries to explain that he is going away temporarily and that soon they will be united again…no need to freak out. I can imagine that her womb went into a spasm out of fear of losing her lover and male support.
So, Madeleine’s journey has been a long one, but she is in good hands and on the right road to healing.
Note: (*) Uterine Meditation audio cd available at www.arvigotherapy.com.