Susan is a bright, professional woman who had a career, raised a family and was proud of her ability to multitask. After a series of dramatic events in her life, one day she had a swelling in her left foot that made it painful to walk. Within weeks she was in a wheelchair needing help to get to the bathroom. Seven medical professionals were not able to give her a definitive diagnosis and tell her if she would ever walk again.
Sound far fetched? Not really. According to Jim Fazio, LMT, CSI, UTP and owner of Integrative Bodyworks, “today’s fast paced world is unforgiving of problems without easy solutions”. And he observes, “often I see people who are so caught up in the drama of everyday life that they run from both physical and emotional pain without stopping long enough to realize the two are interrelated”.
Luckily for Susan, she learned of recent neuroscience discoveries and new somatic therapy options through Integrative Bodyworks that provided answers to her dilemma. Over the past decades, the dawn of PET scans, MRIs and other advanced technologies that map our brains in detail, has swung open the door to new understandings of the mind/body connection. There is now scientific proof of the link between our emotions and physical health. Pioneers in this field like Dr Paul Canali of the Evolutionary Healing Institute in Miami, FL have documented how our nervous systems are overwhelmed in the face of daily stressors, causing us to be prone to illness and disease – the result of years of “fight or flight” conditioned responses in our brains.
Think of a zebra being chased by a cheetah on the African Plain. He runs like the wind, escapes the cheetah, and resumes grazing in the grass – and the “fight or flight” chemicals turn off in his brain. He isn’t checking his Blackberry, running to another meeting or worrying about picking up the kids at school on time. But humans do this every day, week after week, year after year.
“This constant bombardment of ‘bad’ brain chemicals takes a direct toll on our health and overall wellness,” says Fazio. “It is an ingrained pattern we humans subconsciously follow which we need help to recognize and change,” he adds.
Susan, like many of us, had additional baggage compromising her ability to get well. A rocky childhood produced long buried traumatic memories deep inside, keeping her stuck in unhealthy thinking patterns. Though unaware of their existence, the memories kept her nervous system unbalanced, making her susceptible to chronic pain. This unconscious loop of trauma in her brain was prolonging and compounding Susan’s physical and mental suffering.
Even Dr Mehmet Oz, of The Doctor Oz Show and Oprah fame, recently spotlighted research showing most chronic back problems are rooted in deeply buried emotional pain. And scientists are now documenting that some recurrent neck pain can be traced to an overloaded nervous system instead of injury. Adds Fazio: “This realization in modern medicine is leading edge and is the future in rehabilitation and pain management”.
Fazio regularly treats people with chronic health conditions and embedded memory triggers, unconsciously frozen on survival mode full time. “The brain and the body purposely numb out the pain, with the cumulative effect of this disconnect physical and mental disease. Often it just creeps up on them and when a life crisis hits, they have no resiliency left,” he says.
Susan benefited from a unique approach called Unified Therapy used by Fazio, who has 15 years of experience in a variety of clinical settings. This hands-on application consists of releasing negative physical and emotional conditions through interaction with multiple systemic reflexes, physical sensations, emotional states, and memories. His rehab experience also includes other disciplines such as the Dr Trager Psychophysical Integration and Structural Myofascial Therapy.
He was trained by and is a colleague of Dr Paul Canali, DC, who has spent 20 years developing and practicing Unified Therapy. “When our brains are focused on survival and protection, eventually we lose the ability to feel what’s really important in life, like what’s going inside our own bodies,” according to Canali. “When you see someone who is chronically ill, there’s almost always an episode that was overwhelming to them, that hurt them deeply. And from that moment, something in them is shut down.”
The stage is then set for disease and disorder with people like Susan who have a tsunami of personal issues overwhelm them all at once. Canali, whose Evolutionary Healing Institute is located in South Miami, sees patients who travel great distances to experience his unique treatment protocol for many conditions such as chronic pain and anxiety. He is now poised to help the military use his techniques in rehabilitating returning veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Within two months of working with Fazio – one of four qualified therapists in the nation trained in Canali’s Unified Therapy approach – Susan was back walking daily in her neighborhood without pain. But the other major benefit was that for the first time in her adult life, her mind stopped constantly ruminating over things she could not control as her nervous system reset itself into a more balanced state. Various other therapies and modalities had assisted her somewhat through the years, but none produced the same sense of inner peace and wholeness she felt after experiencing the unique approach of Unified Therapy.
It took a major health crisis for Susan to understand she needed different tools than what she’d been using in order to cope with modern stressors and achieve optimal wellness. The interactive aspect of Fazio’s work empowered her to view and handle life’s challenges in a more positive, healthy manner. She also learned she needed to be more than a passive participant in the process of recovering her health. “You have to feel in order to heal”. Susan came face to face with her unconscious pain patterns and moved forward with her life. “I am privileged to do this work with those like her who yearn for transformation, growth and healing,” Fazio concludes.
Unified Therapy™ Is a New Interdisciplinary Systemic Treatment that is backed by recent Discoveries in Neuroscience, Mindfulness-based Psychotherapy, and Somatic Therapies originated by Dr Paul Canali, DC. Such a discovery, when supported by larger research studies, will be known as a major breakthrough in the healing arts and sciences
Susan’s Testimonial with Unified Therapy:
Until recently, I’ve lived my life like a kitchen sink with a clogged drain. Water kept filling it but the clog deeply imbedded in the pipes would not allow it to drain free. Prior to working with Jim, I lived my fifty eight years doing everything I could think of to allow the water to drain, but of course, the sink eventually overflowed.
Nearly six months ago, I hit the “perfect storm”. A doctor increased my Synthroid medication nearly 50%; memories I thought long buried with my elderly mother came to the forefront dealing with her ultimate demise at age 90; and difficulties with my adult children intensified, reminding me in many ways of the unbalanced behaviors and projected blame I’d endured from my unstable mother when I was younger.
Suddenly, three weeks after my mother’s death last September, a swelling on my left foot made it painful to walk. Within a month, I was in a wheelchair, unable to walk to the bathroom without aid. A “revolving door” of various doctors with tests and “rule-out” diagnoses left me frustrated and demoralized but provided no answers. Anxiety and panic attacks became a new part of my life.
No doctor offered any assurance I would be able to walk again without pain. Prior to this, I exercised regularly and walked two miles daily. On the advice of a physical therapist I trust, I reduced the Synthroid back to the original dose with my endocrinologist’s approval. The panic attacks stopped, but the lingering anxiety and painful feet continued. Like most people, I wanted a purely medical intervention that would fix my problem. My physical therapist friend referred me to Jim, telling me, “You are not broken”. I hadn’t made the connection between my condition and the drain clogged with all the emotional “stuff” I was trying to process in the weeks following my “perfect storm,” but thankfully my friend did.
The first session with Jim was scary and liberating at the same time. I did not understand how to let go and trust this man to help me. But somehow I did. My husband was with me and saw me weep as Jim seemed to gently reach deep inside and help me release pent up emotions and sadness I didn’t know I was carrying. It was a turning point for me.
Two months of weekly treatments and I was out of the chair walking around my house. This was a joy beyond description. But other subtle things began to happen to me. My mind quit ruminating over what I know I cannot control. I feel emotionally free for the first time in my life and I am slowly taking my power back. My challenge is to be mindful every moment of my triggers so I don’t sink back into thinking in imprinted unhealthy patterns. Finally feel free enough to do that important work.
The clog in my drain seems to be gone. Water – life – fills my sink at times, but it no longer overflows when the complexities of life come barreling at me. I close my eyes and visualize water freely flowing down a drain. When I feel stress from others, I look for my triggers, respect them and then try to mindfully release what doesn’t belong to me. I enjoy the beauty of each day, as I now walk the neighborhood again on my own two feet. For this, I have gratitude I cannot express.
It’s a new way to live.
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