Marta’s Recuperation from Polio

Marta recovers from Polio Grinberg Method

Marta’s story is an impressive example of the physical recuperation possible with the Grinberg Method. When she was nine months old she caught Polio, an infectious viral disease, which caused paralysis in her left arm.

Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted through contaminated food and water, and multiplies in the intestine and it can invade the nervous system. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent.

Marta’s first contact with the Grinberg Method was for a strong pain from injury in her knee after a fall. Through sessions she recovered so well that for the first time in her life she considered perhaps it could be good to work on her left arm.

Marta's Recuperation from Polio

When she was a child, the doctor’s said to her that the Polio in the left arm was irreversible and that it had no cure, it would never get better. The exercises she received were to maintain it but nothing really could be done. When she heard this as a young child she resigned herself to this conclusion thinking that if nothing could be done, there was nothing for her to do. As a result she did not use her left arm for 45 years, and generally would hide the fact that she had little use of the arm.

This video shows Marta’s recuperation process and interviews with herself, her practitioner Teresa Rioja and founder of the Grinberg Method, Avi Grinberg. Below is a transcription of the video.

Avi: After Marta was sick, she adapted to the idea that she had no arm, and in a way her brain wasn’t interested in getting back the arm and also did not know how to do that. So what I did basically is to get it interested again in the arm and own it again. It is like it regressed or retreated from the arm and now it was working again to rebuild the connection.

To achieve this many sessions and commitment was required from all of them, particularly Marta and Teresa who would meet at least three times a week. At the beginning, Marta’s arm was very weak and had no sensation. To move the arm, she had to do a lot of effort in all her body, so much that she never wanted to use her arm.

Marta's Recuperation from Polio

Avi: The idea of a recovery process is to teach people to employ their full abilities when they try to recover from a condition. We also call it recover because we look at it as taking back what we lost. When we look at people as creatures of attention, and we look at an arm that got hurt in this case, we can see that she retreated, she pulled her attention from that area and that all my work with her is about getting back the attention to this area. If the body is very quiet and the attention is a body attention, intense stimulus forces attention and the brain to connect to that place.

In the first session, Marta noticed first how much she had gone about ignoring the Polio during her life. Afterwards she started learning how she could use her arm without a lot of effort she had made in the rest of her body.

Marta's Recuperation from Polio

In each session she learnt new movements and new sensation that until then she had never experienced, such as keeping up her arm even for only a short period of time. Stimulating the muscles and the nerves, her arm returned to life, it gained strength and reflexes. In sessions she learnt to put her attention and will on recovering her arm. She learnt to feel her arm as part of her. She can now see how her active participation in the sessions and daily training led to results. With the greater results and options she gains, her motivation increases and it gives her greater strength to continue to progress with her arm’s recuperation.

Teresa: The most exciting part for me but also a big challenge was once she was relaxed to send to her brain and her whole nervous system, the message that it can wake up, that the nervous system can reconnect and recognise her arm.

Avi: One of the most intense perception of humans is pain; it makes us pay attention and become aware, so in using pain, of course not torturous pain, but a moderate kind of pain, consistently to pull her attention into her arm. This way the nerves were growing because the body was noticing pain and trying to do its best to deal with that pain.

Teresa: In the beginning the hardest part for Marta was to relax all the efforts of this area. So we worked hard to stimulate the area and make it bigger. At some point we measured her back, and it was almost equal, where as at the beginning it was very different.

Marta's Recuperation from Polio

Avi: The methodology I am using is based on the idea that our bodies are organs of perception, that everything that we are as humans is out of our perception, so what I was trying to do with Marta is to expand her perception to include again the arm that she lost in the past. Some people’s brains can learn and adapt themselves and recreate themselves, by actually using her own perception of her own body and increasing the level of her abilities to perceive herself, she managed to call back her arm and reconnect it to her brain. Once the nerves started to wake up in her arm, muscles could start to build up.

When I started first to work with Marta she had a stick, there were very few muscles, there was very little movement and no control. The more the nerves woke up, the more she was exercising her muscles, the arm got stronger, and she gained mobility, and at the end sensation came back to the fingers, to the tip of the fingers, then she could use her hand like the other hand completely. The experience of getting a piece of yourself back is one of the most amazing experiences possible.

Marta's Recuperation from Polio

Marta: It’s like the arm is trying to find it form, how to be, this experience is so new, it’s a new sensation in her arm, it seems like it’s looking for its form, its place.

Teresa: What I am seeing in Marta’s process is how her body, by which I mean any body, has the incredible potential to recuperate a limb, even a limb which has not been used for 45 years – something completely illogical – and to see how the wanting, the enthusiasm, the disposition, to stimulate systems of the body, of the organism, make it possible that all of a sudden an arm is growing, it’s being born. For me this an incredible gift because it’s like to see the essence of being human, it’s potential and what we can do with will, with wanting, allowing the body to organize itself and this is fantastic.

Marta: To see that I can recuperate an arm, my will power, my self-esteem, my desire, I see more possibilities, I believe that I can do more things, achieve more, if I have small desires or big desires, in my head if I had the possibility to regain my warm, if I can recuperate my arm, I can also do other things and I have more confidence in the things I can do.