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The Bite of the Neck Muscles

Majid Ali, M.D.

On Wednesday evenings, I conduct a 3-hour autoreg training sessions. As I write earlier, I use electrode sensors to record changing patterns of energy in the heart, blood vessels, muscles and skin. After wiring my patients to computerized equipment, one at a time, I lead them into various autoreg training methods. Assuming a comfortable posture on chairs ówith hands resting on the thighs and the palms facing upówe close our eyes and begin meditation and energy work.

After individual periods of autoreg lasting ten to fifteen minutes, I ask my patients to open their eyes. Next, I demonstrate to them the changes in the energy patterns in their various body organs with moving graphs on a computer screen. In almost every session, I am able to demonstrate dramatic energy changes in different body organs of one or more patients. Almost all patients experience some tissue energy responses. With lights dimmed in the autoreg lab, the computer screen graphically illustrates, in bright colors, the changing patterns of the function of the heart, muscles, blood vessels and skin. The combination of objective changes on the computer screen and perceptions of tissue energy within them is very effective in teaching my patients principles and practice of autoregulation.

On the Wednesday following my conversation with Choua about negative energy responses, I saw him tiptoe into the autoreg lab as I led the group into energy work. He took a seat in the back and looked around to see what others in the room were doing. He assumed the same posture everyone else had, closed his eyes and began to follow my lead. I suppressed a smile, closed my eyes and continued my work.

The first person I wired for autoreg that evening was Sheila, a 48-year-old woman who consulted me for sinusitis, chronic headache and fatigue.

At the initial visit for a clinical evaluation and allergy tests, I advised Sheila to get some training in autoregulation methods as I do for all my other patients. She had done some biofeedback previously and was not very eager to consider any other form of self-regulation. Within weeks, her allergy symptoms and headaches improved. After attending my autoregulation workshop, she returned for autoregulation training in our laboratory. I applied the electrodes and other sensors for monitoring her various body functions during autoregulation. After some introductory remarks about what we were going to do, I asked her to sit comfortably on her chair, close her eyes and follow my words.

In autoregulation training, for the first minute or so, I usually observe the subject and his moving graphs on the computer screen and note how cortical or limbic his state of biology is (sharp fluctuations in graph lines with tall peaks and deep valleys indicate cortical turbulence, and smooth and even lines with gentle wave effects reflect a limbic calmness). Sheila visibly stiffened her neck as she closed her eyes, and the computer screen displayed wild fluctuations in her graphs of skin conductance energy, muscle potentials, heart rate and the pulse pressure. This is not unusual for many people and represents apprehension at not knowing what will follow. Generally, such electromagnetic fluctuations subside and I begin to see objective evidence of a transition from a stressful, turbulent cortical state to an even, restorative limbic profile. This was not to be the case with Sheila.

Within several moments, Sheila's neck began to turn and twist. She frowned with closed eyes. Her lips quivered and her jaw muscles tensed up. A few moments later, she broke into clonic, almost convulsive spasms of her twisted neck. To witness sudden, unexpected convulsive activity in a patient who appeared in good health, of course, is not an unusual experience for physicians. I had extensive clinical experience in emergency medicine and surgical trauma cases during my years in surgery and had seen people break out into sudden convulsive activities on many occasions. I am rarely unnerved in clinical settings. This turned out to be an exception. I found Sheila's sudden near-convulsive activity in her twisted neck and her distorted facial features frightening. I suppose because it was the first time I had started out with a patient in a private office setting, very much like someone's living room only to end up abruptly in an emergency. I touched Sheila's hand and asked her to open her eyes. Her clonic neck contractions stopped as suddenly as they had appeared once she'd opened her eyes.

"I forced a smile," I continued with my story. "A faint smile appeared on Sheila's face. We were quiet for a few moments.

"What was that?" I asked, in as natural a tone as I could muster.

"Oh, it's nothing," Sheila replied evenly.

"Nothing?" I asked, surprised at her composure.

"It's nothing. It happens all the time."

"Happens all the time?"

"Yes! I am used to it."

"What is it? How often do you get it? I mean, why didn't you tell me about it?"

"Happens all the time." Sheila forced another smile. "I didn't tell you because I thought there was no point to it."

"No point to it?" I was incredulous.

"No other doctor ever believed me. So I didn't see any point in bothering you with this. I guess the doctors thought it was hysteria or something."

"Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't. Why don't you tell me about it?" I coaxed her.

"Oh! Dr. Ali, there is nothing anyone can do about it. You know it happens every night." Sheila's voice quivered. "Every night, it happens."

I looked at her in silence for a few moments. She looked back at me impassively.

"Tell me more about it." I broke the silence.

"There is nothing more to tell." She shrugged.

"What happens afterward?"

"Every night it happens as I put my head on my pillow and close my eyes. My neck turns and twists and cramps. It hurts me awful." Sheila suddenly broke down and sobbed. I offered her some tissue paper.

"Do you want to stop here?" I said without meaning to say so.

"Not really. When my neck hurts, I open my eyes and the spasms go away. Sometimes I sit up and think. Sometimes I try to read. Then I get exhausted and try again, and again it happens. This goes on all night. Every night."

"When do you sleep?"

"When I am totally exhausted with pain and sleeplessness. Sometimes in the early hours of the morning, maybe four or five, I finally dose off for a few minutes." Sheila sobbed again.

I sat frozen as I listened to her. Tolstoy thought happy people were all alike but each unhappy person was unhappy in his own way. How many Sheilas did he listen to? I wondered. How many Sheilas are there in this world anyway? Living out their lives in silos of sadness.

"Sheila, would you do me a favor?" I asked her, recovering from my personal thoughts. "Would you mind if we did this again?"

"What would that do?" she asked indifferently.

"We might learn something," I encouraged her.

"Learn something?" Sheila smiled again, in earnest, I thought, this time around. "Go ahead, if you think it will help you."

I didn't miss her intonation. I hesitated for a minute. Scientific curiosity taking wings at someone else's expense? Now that I write about Sheila I wonder if I knew why I made this request. I knew it was going to distress her again. What did I hope to find? Did I know what might happen? If I did, how did I? It's odd that these questions never arose until now, a few years after that event.

"Yes, Sheila, I think it will help me," I admitted as much.

"Let's do it then," Sheila shrugged her shoulders.

"Can you take the pain if I continue for a few minutes this time?" I asked.

"Take the pain?" She laughed this time. "What else do I do every night."

"Sheila, this time I am going to close my eyes, too. We will do autoreg together."

We started again. Sheila closed her eyes and the neck contractions returned just as they had the first time. I braced myself, led her into autoregulation again and closed my own eyes. Long hours of autoregulation had given me the ability to turn off my own cortical monkey on rather short notice. I opened my eyes after what seemed to me were five to seven minutes. Sheila's neck still quivered a little, but the intense clonic contractions were gone. Her face appeared calm, her hands resting limp and loose on her thighs. I asked her to open her eyes. We talked for some minutes and then did some more autoregulation. In the end I asked Sheila to return for some more training.

Taken from Healing Miracles and the Bite of the Grey Dog (1997)

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* I Don't want Dialysis

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* The Second Lupus Story

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*The Sword Story
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* One Coronary Stent for Each Inning

* Mouth Opened, Prescription Delivered


  Oxygen Stories             
* Oxygenstrories
* Sourmilk                   
* Sticky Cherries             
* Rancid Butter  
* Greasy Cooking Pot         
* Oxygen Detergent
* A Pothole on a street