This woman saved my life!
I know it’s a big statement, but there really is no other way to say it.
A year ago, when our paths crossed, I was in pain. Constantly. It’s a funny thing pain. We kind of get used to it. I had a damaged L5 disk that was never going to get better. I had just had an operation on my foot which had for some strange reason inflamed my whole back. I was going to physio, though it didn’t really help. And I was taking pain meds because… well… that’s what the doctors had given me. I had entered aÂ stage of “pain management”. That’s really all I could do. And I had accepted it. If all the specialists had told me there was nothing else to do, then there was nothing else to do right?
I was considering giving up my work as a photographer…
I was also considering giving up my work as a photographer because my back kept locking and I would need to take Tramal (morphine type drug) to get through the next few days and nights. I didn’t know how longer I could do this. Lifting weights atÂ the gym was out of the question. Running was out of the question. Pole dancing was completely out of the question. I was told I should swim, that it could help, but frankly the idea of jumping in cold water and swimming laps is as much fun to me as a root canal. And then I saw an ad for a stretching class. I like stretching. And I thought maybe that would feel nice and give me some release. Despite my physio not being too happy about it, I signed up. And that’s where I met SinikkaÂ Vuoti Movement Coach!
A few sessions in, Sinikka kindly – OK, very directly – told me that this is not what I needed. That I seriously needed some movementÂ training. IÂ had no idea what that was.
“Movement training?” I asked.
She pointed to a series of contraptions that looked like something from a medieval torture chamber. “Yes. Movement training.”
“But, with my back…. are you sure?”.
“Yes.” she said in her very calm yet powerfully strong tone.
So I signed up andÂ went to my first private training session. I had no idea what to expect. Movement training. How was that going to do anything? I move already. How was that going to help me?
During that first session, my whole world got flipped upside down.
I cried, I sweared, I sweated.
We started out with a “simple exercise”. She showed it to me and I was like “yeah… no problem… I can do 20 of those”. How arrogant of me. I completed the first movement and she said. No. Push under your big toe. You’re pushing on the outside of your feet. I tried. And my body simply didn’t budge. My brain went blank. And immediately reverted to pushing on the outside of my foot. NO! she said. UNDER THE BIG TOE…. But… I CAN’T… I was in shock. My body would just not move. Not an inch.
After a lot of huffing and puffing and sweating (and probably some swearing). I kind of managed to half ass the movements she showed me. My brain couldn’t compute! Why can’t I do this? Â This is ridiculous!
What I didn’t know is that forÂ years, my body had not been aligned. I had developed a way of moving my body that had broken me. ItÂ probably started when I had a growth spurt in my early teenage years, and three pregnancies later, followed by hours of sitting had finished me off. I had asked the specialists how I could have hurt my back. They didn’t know. It’s Sinikka who explained to me thatÂ this misalignment, and lack of core muscleÂ had damaged my back.
I’m not one to give up, so I kept going. I cried, I sweared, I sweated. This is not “beauty pilates” she kept saying…. “push under the big toe!”. She is not one to hold hands, and that was a good thing. And every time I learnt something new about me, about how the body works, about the functional system, about the digestive system, about the brain…
After two weeks, I was off my pain meds.
After two weeks, I was off my pain meds. TWO weeks! And it’s not like I was going every day and doing homework. I had only gone for 2 sessions! Â After a month, I wasn’t in pain any more (except for the muscle pain from the exercise). After 6 weeks, I flew the 14 hours to Hong Kong with no back pain at all. But the positive effects didn’t stop at pain management. My body was getting stronger for sure, but it impacted so many other areas of my life.
For the first 6 months, I was unable to think for at least three hours after a Session. It was really like a workout for my brain as much as my body. Over time, I started to be able to focus better. I had less memory loss, more courage, I would tackle problems that I would have previously avoided, I started speaking up more, being more authentic. I was thinking with a lot more clearly than I had in years, and I was feeling a very clear connection between my body and my mind.Â I started to feel whole again. Strong again. Like I remember feeling years ago, before my body started letting me down.
I started to feel whole again.
If brain and body strength weren’t enough, my face shape changed, my digestive system and my immune system started working normally again and my sleep improved.
And it isn’t just me. Ever since I started, I have been recommending Sinikka to anyone I know who has any type of pain. My friend J. couldn’t play the bass anymore because of pain in his wrist and no doctor could find what was wrong with him. In just a few sessions, he’s back in the band with no more pain at all. My friend TL who was suffering horribly from knee pain, was on tons of meds and dueÂ for a 7th surgery on her knee, is now off her meds completely pain free and back to doing everything she wants to do and the surgery was cancelled because they couldn’t find anything wrong with her knee anymore. My friend J, who was already a crazy amazing runner, has exploded all her records now that her body is better aligned.
Now… how is all this possible, from just going 1x a week for 50 minutes to do some “simple” movements atÂ The Room studio?
I’ll letÂ Sinikka explain this really well in her own words!
And I’ll leave you with this. A few weeks back Sinikka confessed to me that she was really worried about me when we first met. She could see how weak I was and thought I was only a few months away from developing chronic pain. I wasn’tÂ able to see it then, but I certainly do now. I was in really bad shape, but none of the professionals following me could see it. Not only was my body at the point of breakage, I running on adrenaline, my digestive system didn’t work and my immune system was really weak. If I hadn’t met her, I shudder to imagine what the rest of my life would had looked like. I’m 42 this year and I haven’t felt this amazing in years. I now have a whole life perspective in front of me and the strength to take it on.
I really hope that Sinikka’s message and movement strategiesÂ start spreading across the world. That health professionalsÂ everywhere can learn from her andÂ see these functional connections too. Â So even if you think you’re beyond help (or know someone who has been told they are), don’t give up hope. There probably is something that can be done to help through movement.
Movement really is… life!