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November 2009

ON BEING A HERO…

Recently I’ve come across this video – “World Strongest Dad” about Team Hoyt: Rick, the son who has severe quadriplegia, and his father, Dick Hoyt. For nearly 30 years Dick Hoyt has been competing in marathons and triathlons together with his quadriplegic son, Rick, pushing his wheelchair or carrying him on his bike or even pulling him in a boat. Amazingly, in nearly 30 years of competing they never came last – always being ahead of some other runners!

It’s a wonderful story and the videos are really moving… and these gentlemen hold off the media hype very well – they are very real, true and sincere despite all the clichés framed upon them: “A Father of a century”; “World’s best Dad”; “Dick Hoyt, a Real Hero”…

I inserted a couple of videos here,  for sure you’ll find them inspiring…

 

However, I guess I wouldn’t be myself if I have just linked you to this great story without giving it a deeper thought…

A hero is a person who does something extraordinary and does it selflessly, but do you need to transform yourself into a super-athlete to run marathons and triathlons to be a true hero?

I think the lesson of Team Hoyt is deeper and broader than that…

Yes, indeed, there are people who become heroes because of a single extraordinary selfless act but this story is different.

Dick Hoyt started with a 5 mile charity run as an ordinary 37-year old but he went further year after year by pushing himself beyond the comfort zone day-in and day-out. That’s how Dick Hoyt achieved the extraordinary results – the marathons and triathlons – by stacking the micro-improvements of his daily training. He made this effort into a routine fueled by his desire to help his disabled son to express himself. It is the sustained effort of Dick Hoyt that I admire the most and I believe that gives all of us an incredible lesson.

What counts for the definition of a true hero is not a single act, however brave and self-sacrificing it is, but the ability to prevail over the complacency of everyday life, the ability to go outside the comfort zone day after day and week after week.

A single major deed that we usually visualize when thinking of heroes, is most often fueled by adrenaline that’s why I think that the ‘willpower' ‘everyday’ heroes are actually the greater ones.

We all have our highs and lows and the most difficult thing is to ‘stick to it’ – being able to grind through those emotional lows keeping the vision alive and doing these little daily things that bring us another step forwards.  

I do believe that this ‘everyday’ hero, although much less heralded, is of a much high caliber – and I am proud to say that I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with these real willpower heroes – you guys, the Special Parents…

You might not see it this way, considering your daily work with your special needs children as an ‘ordinary’ one ; but I can assure you that it is nothing but ‘ordinary’ – it is extraordinary…

You do it exactly as the humble willpower heroes do – “I just want to help my child to have a better life” – without ever thinking too much of it. Well, the story of Team Hoyt is exactly about this – the extraordinary achieved through ordinary daily mini-steps.

I hope that next time you look at yourself at the mirror and see a tired person there – raise your head higher , straighten your back and  broaden your shoulders – you deserve it…

And I hope that our work at ABR gives your life at least a little extra quality helping you to make these everyday achievements and steps forwards more realistic….

Thanks…

 


Conferences on Cerebral Palsy and on Fascia Research -- at a glance... PLUS an amazing Video about Viscoelastic surprizes

Dear Friends,

Thanks a lot for your patience and understanding –for the last 5-6 weeks I have not managed to update this blog with any decent frequency due to the heavy schedule on the road.

I am finally back from the long trip and after few days of sleep recovery ready to deliver some content, which I hope will be of value to a parent of a special needs child. Both conferences: Fascia Congress in Amsterdam and Cerebral Palsy conference in Utrecht (another city in Holland, 20 min away from Amsterdam) provided tons of materials to contemplate and to process.

Our papers were included in the proceedings books of both conferences.

Fascia Congress:  
Article and Cover_Proceedings_Fascia Congress_1_small


A Global Status Quo On Cerebral Palsy 

BOSK_Abstract and Cover_small

As you can see from the titles, these are not exactly ‘ABR’ presentations but the deeper level theoretical works, mathematical models laying down the framework for the fundamentals of long-term fascia re-modeling, which is at the core of the ABR technique as specific set of tools designed to induce that fascia re-modeling in the deep layers, which is especially important for kids with Cerebral Palsy.

 

As a diligent conference attendee I have most of the important presentations recorded on audio with slides photographed. Together with the notes taken on the spot that provides for a comprehensive coverage and accuracy of quotes, however, at the same time that means a lot of post-conference work in order to sort all these piles of info and translate them into the coherent presentations that will be of value to you.

I must say that taking photographs of the slides turned out to be a somewhat challenging endeavour. My beloved Nikon D300 camera (the one we use during ABR evaluations) produces a loud ‘click’, which I am personally a big fan of – actually that’s the reason why we favor Nikons over Canons at ABR :-). It turned out that my fondness of the ‘Nikon click’ wasn’t shared by the rest of conference attendees – in the big hall of a lecture room the click echoes amazingly loud competing for attention with a speaker and drawing the irritated “Shhh-ss” from the crowd. Even though I was initially prepared to brush it off for the sake of better quality pictures to share with you, at the end I had to succumb to the public pressure and settle for the pocket camera, which turned out ok as well, although not as clear as I’d like to have.

Actually, in hindsight, I must concede that ABR delegation looked as quite an odd bunch: me with 2 photo cameras – because the pocket one runs out of battery fast, taking notes at the same time with a pile of colored pens; Sarah Lee (ABR Asia) with 2 digital audio recorders (just to make sure we do not miss anything) and occasional video recording of most important presentations; and Marc Driscoll (our biomedical engineer/research guy – if you haven’t met him yet) taking notes on research methodology.. We occupied 4-5 seats being really busy. In the afternoons we’d split up and attend the concurrent sessions, recording them as well – all with a goal of making the most out of the conference opportunity.

No effort is too much if the goal is to provide the cutting edge information to the busy ABR families, right? :-)Who cares about looking like an oddball among the straight-laced professionals as long as we make sure that we can deliver the information to you in full without missing the pieces that might turn out being very important?

I expect to start publishing things within a few days but meanwhile – here is another entertaining and thought-provoking video for you about Amazing Properties of Viscoelastic Structures

It was encouraging to hear your positive response to the video on ‘Inflatable tensegrity’ and I will definitely get back to that subject with better details in the future.

This new video is about“Corn starch experiment” and at first glance one might wonder how does that relate to ABR?!

Well, the link is straightforward – this video shows amazing properties of viscoelastic materials that respond dramatically different depending on what type of impact is delivered at them.

I think that it is very important for you to realize and especially visualize that anisotropic substances carry the potential for multiple responses depending on how one addresses them, challenging that ‘robotic’ view of the world that we all learn at school.

Most of the substances that one studied at school were a lot more straightforward – a piece of metal, or wood or classic liquid responded uniformly to a variety of mechanical impacts varying in magnitude of their response but not changing their properties.  At school you learned about one neat and orderly physical world – solids always respond as solids; liquids as liquids and so on.

And until today a lot of therapies (surgeries etc.) address the human body in that primitive way appealing to the images of this orderly world that you all carry all the way back from school days.

Fortunately the reality of living objects is a lot less regimental and omni-potent. The tissues of the human body and fascia in particular are viscoelastic and anisotropic, hence the same tissue will respond differently to the surgeon’s/ anatomists knife; neurologist’s hammer; forceful stretch; hard local pressure etc. (… and to the distributed quasi-static ABR application as well…).

 

 

Amazing isn’t it? Who’d think after the opening frames of having the presenters’ hands in that corn starch slosh that the same substance under the same temperature, pressure etc. will respond as a solid once the fast impact is applied?

Sure, in ABR we appeal to the opposite property of human body tissues – we want to bypass this “hardened” response of the superficial layers and we want to have our impact to be oscillatory not penetrating (ex. ‘sound waves’ vs. ‘wind waves’ ) etc. There are plenty of specific details to ABR technique and the type of impact we want to create in order to stimulate fascia re-modeling and strengthening.

However, the message of this video is simple – details matter. Viscoelastic structures are capable of really unexpected responses provided that there is a specific enough type of impact. Small change in mechanical properties of application might lead to a bid difference in tissue response….

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse at wonders of Mother Nature. Stay tuned for more :-) ….


News from the road...and ABR illustrated :-)

Apologies for disappearing off the grid for some 3 weeks...Really, I am a lousy blogger...  According to the blog theorists (yes, they exist :-)) -- rule #1 is 'frequency', rule # 2 is 'predictability'. Short and daily beats long unpredictable any time...  However, bridging this gap from theory to practice -- is quite challenging while on the road.

I'll definitely try to improve but the last few weeks were superpacked: Training the ABR Trainers in Montreal; participating in the 2nd International Fascia Research Congress; now being at the ICPS congress on CP in Holland -- I rarely slept more than 4-5 hours... It's 4 o'clock by the way and the CP conference continues tomorrow and the day after.

Tons of thoughts, new developments and perspectives -- but I'll need some space and few days to give you a good enough account.

Meanwhile, have a look at the interesting video, which gives you a powerful visual image of what ABR goals and practice are very much about:



This video is completely unrelated to ABR, -- having an odd misspelling of "enfletable"instead of 'inflatable'-- I stumbled upon it when browsing through the 'tensegrity' videos. Tensegrity = TENSional intEGRITY is a term that is very important in fascia system analysis and that has been widely used at the Fascia Congress that ended few days ago, so you'll hear about it a lot more pretty soon