A balance between heaven and hell began: the first months, the first steps.
I understood immediately that the sports I had done, the meditation and yoga, the other exercises in listening to my body, all the disciplines I had been interested in, including straightening out the back, together with my study of biology and anatomy at the University for Sport Science, as well as physics and mechanics studied throughout the years, would all turn out to be of use to me.
Standing for hours in front of the mirror, looking at the curvature of my spine, had been a feature of my past. Now, this as well would be of use to me.
In the first months I had considerable improvement in my posture. Week by week, my curvature stretched out rapidly, and it was a pleasure to think of finally being able to control my spine.
It must be said that this process demands a considerable expenditure of energy from the body, seeing as it involves literally unrolling the spine. Obviously this expenditure of energy implies a certain amount of stress.
My muscles hadn’t ever had to work to keep me straight. For the first time they began to stretch me out. The problem was that the muscles began to give out, towards the end of the day, and I felt exhausted again. It had to be that way.
After a night of rest to recharge the muscles, the next morning they began again to straighten out the spine.
Over time my body regained its beauty of form and above all, regained its proper functions. The symptoms got better, my desire to live and my energy slowly came back. For sure, things improved, but my sufferings continued to persecute me.
The process of healing took time, and, in the evening, when the muscles were tired, the symptoms returned. But at least the knowledge that I was getting better kept me going.
The first year and a half was extremely hard. It was as though I were reliving my sufferings in reverse, but this time not with an increasing, but a decreasing, symptomatic and with the knowledge that this time I was moving towards salvation.
Day after day I sensed that my body was stretching further and further: the muscles in the lumbar region stretched themselves, bones and tendons crackled. I monitored my development in the mirror and in the course of the therapy my awareness of my body also grew.
In order that the therapy bear fruit it was necessary to create modifications (updates) to the plate. In practical terms, this meant registering the new posture every two weeks.
At least for the first months it had to be done that way.
At the end of the first months my body had recovered very well, and I could consider myself satisfied with my progress. I had arrived at the point of no return. If I had wanted to get rid of the plate I would have regressed once again and things would have been even worse than they had been before.
Obviously, I had no intention of getting rid of it, but it must be said that once the process has begun it can’t be interrupted.
Every two weeks the rite of updating the plate repeated itself. With a drill, I removed the old pits that had created the occlusion and put in fresh resin. I placed myself on a chair in an upright position, closed my mouth, the resin hardened and created the new occlusion which straightened me out for the next two weeks.
Pictures express my feelings clearly. The symptoms were improving, along with the curvature of the body. It was clear, my posture was causing my symptoms. If only I had known earlier…
At any rate I was thrilled, so much to that I wanted to share what I had learned about the relationship between posture and illness with the world. I decided to speak first of all with my cousin, a renowned surgeon.
He was the very one who a few years before had diagnosed the ulcer and the hiatal hernia by means of the EGD. Who knew how he would have reacted if he had known that the asymmetrical and compressed muscles that enveloped my stomach were compromising its function?
That’s what I did, I went to talk to him. As soon as I saw him I told him everything that was happening to me, I told him my symptoms had disappeared, that a plate had been placed in my mouth and that I was finally undergoing a therapy that was effective, even if experimental. After letting him know all this I anxiously awaited his response.
His reaction was not the best. He answered that according to what was reported in the scientific journals my case could only be due to stress and that what I was asserting was surely wrong. At the very most the plate could be having a placebo effect on my fragile psyche which tended to hypochondria. Once again, the diagnosis was made. I remained a little disappointed in his response; I didn’t understand the reason for it.
All right, he was an established surgeon and the scientific journals stated that the cause of my symptoms were to be sought in my mind…but this experimental method, based on a purely mechanical principle, had saved me from the abyss and was leading me back to life.
No other therapy had functioned in the least. On the one hand there were the scientific journals, and on the other hand there was my body, that was healing. Who was right?
I let him see some pictures. I explained to him that lack of dental height caused by subsidence and by the lack of extrusion of the teeth had made my skull fall forward, to the left.
This phenomenon had forced the spine to compress, exerting force on the vertebrae, on the lungs, the heart, the diaphragm, the nerves, the blood vessels and the stomach. The vomiting and anxiety really arose from these causes.
There was nothing to be done, he continued not taking me seriously. I knew I was right. It would be only a matter of time and sooner or later everyone would know about this great discovery.
This would become my life’s challenge.
But it has to be said, to exonerate him: a precise, scientific relationship between posture and symptoms of various kinds had not yet been proven. I decided to study the material in question, as much as was possible.
That was certainly not my only experience. There were others like it, and always, I was sent away with disdain. I was destined to be considered a hypochondriac, for eternity.
Also in the family there were many arguments, and I was accused of all sorts of masochistic practices. To be more exact, my aunt and my mother didn’t give much thought to the method, but rather continued to tell me that I was a hypochondriac and, at the end of the day, that I enjoyed making myself ill. In short, I vomited out of pure masochistic pleasure. All in all, I could understand them. No doctor had got it, so just imagine a person with no expert medical knowledge.
In their way they took care of me, continuing to tell me that I was getting thin and that I needed to eat and play sports. I tried in every way to tell them that it was impossible for me, in this condition. With time they understood, and I thank them.
The balance continued between debilitating symptoms during period of collapse and moments of excitement. Sometimes I could only walk and sometimes I could only breathe. That’s how it had to be, I was patient.
In order to make you understand what was happening in my body, you need to think of an accordion. Muscle fibers are like wafer-thin hairs that glide, one upon the other. Every muscle stretches and contracts like an accordion.
During this course of rebalancing, my body was similar to an accordion that became longer and shorter. When it shortened I was tired, and when it stretched I was full of energy.
Over time the periods of elongation increased and the periods of contraction became less and less painful. In practical terms, my body stretched out more and more until reducing the pain caused by the symptoms.
It’s clear that I was starting out from a very complex condition. In years and years of physical activity such as football, swimming, canoeing, exercises for the posture, etc., my muscles had compensated for the imbalance. It’s clear that to release muscles compensating for years and years of imbalance is difficult and painful.
One of my many, many significant experiences was going with Valerio to get a spinometry, an experience that had elements of hilarity.
The exam consists in projecting a halogen lamp, which scans a 3-D image, onto the back, from the head to the pelvis.
The image, interpreted by software, automatically calculates the angular values of inclination and the rotation of the pelvis, the angulation of kyphosis and lordosis, the degree of rotation of the vertebrae, and the levels of the shoulder blades.
That exam was indispensable for us because at that time we were doing various tests to demonstrate scientifically that this therapy was truly effective. It was very important to collect as much material as possible.
During the same time, we went for a baropodometrical exam, a stabilometry and an X-ray. Now the spinometry would have closed the circle, and shown that the therapy did work.
Valerio and I, after waiting for a few minutes, entered the room where the so-called “expert” in posturology was, tall and with a head that fell forward. A posturologist with a serious postural problem is an oxymoron, to say the least.
While Valerio, following the doctor’s instructions, positioned himself for the examination, I started to ask a questions, like a curious child.
The doctor was thrilled to air his accumulated knowledge on the science of posturology. At a certain point he uttered this sentence: “After the age of growth, a back cannot change its shape if it has adapted to a certain position.”
At this point I was reminded of a beautiful expression said by Will Smith in the film The Pursuit of Happyness, when he says to his son: “Hey! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Even me. OK? If you have a dream you have to protect it. If people can’t do something, they tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something, go and get it. Period!” (Chris to Christopher)
Valerio had to be somewhere soon, and wanted to have the examination done quickly. He looked at me with a worried expression because he knew that I was not able to keep myself from interrupting the doctor to recount my experience with how a back could be straightened.
Valerio was right, because I interrupted the doctor and told him that in reality the spine can be straightened, even as an adult. I had him look at my pictures, to prove what I was asserting. The posturologist couldn’t believe it. You can’t imagine the expression he had, seeing something he had never seen in his life, considering that he had seen quite a lot of backs.
Nearly incredulous at the pictures, dazed, he mumbled something and began to talk of all the things that he had studied, also losing track of the conversation so far as to tell me something that I considered to be somewhat scandalous: he told me that I would have to remove my piercings, as the metal in them could destabilize and change my posture.
I understood that there was nothing else to be done there and, on Valerio’s advice, I agreed with him, thanked him for his time, and we left. At least Valerio wasn’t late for his date.
In the elevator we looked at each other and burst into laughter, thinking about the sight of the wide-eyed and terrified doctor, looking at my photographs.
I understood how the concept of science is very labile, and is not a single entity that moves in a consolidated way. When you meet a doctor you are not meeting science, but merely a man of science with his baggage of personal experiences, with his qualifications and his intuitive capacities, that are more or less developed.