Singer/Songwriter – Former Biomechanics Specialist
What makes you 'cool' ;) any awards or accolades?
I write, sing, produce and play my own music. Awards and accolades are on their way! I also spent a decade since being a teenager studying the mechanics of the body due to my personal joint conditions and debilitating struggles with pain.
Tell us more about what you enjoy doing - Your passions besides work.
I'm very fortunate that I'm following my dream, so my work is my passion, but my favorite thing to do alongside that is travel, experience new places and cultures, writing and hanging out with the love of my life... my dog Lucy.
What is the name of your program?
Are you going to be leading the FaceBook group on your topic?
What is your 'story' & your 'Why'?
Most of my life I experienced pain, and was diagnosed with Scoliosis quite young, but didn't realize that was not the norm. After spending my entire childhood in gymnastics and dance, and several broken bones and torn muscles later I went to CalArts conservatory to further my studies in Music and Theatre. It was there that I experienced my first debilitating injury.
While breakdancing, something I was very use to doing, I took a fall. This time though, something was wrong. I didn't know until I woke up the next morning with excruciating pain and the inability to feel or move my legs, that we discovered I had completely ruptured the three lower discs of my spine: L3/L4, L4/L5, L5/S1. The paralysis wasn't permanent, but my 18 year old self didn't know that at the time, and I screamed for my Mom in absolute horror. Probably still the single most terrifying moment of my life.
We went to the hospital for an MRI which showed the results of the ruptures, and the Surgeon suggested we immediately reduce the swelling by administering a ESI (Epidural Steroid Injection) into the spine. This should allow me the use of my legs much more quickly, as my body was currently in "shock". We agreed, trusting the doctors advice, and that's when everything started going downhill. We did the ESI and everything got much, much worse.
The doctor later claimed that I was part of the 1% that must be allergic to the substance, where I believe he administered incorrectly, because for the next 3 months I was paralyzed without the use of my legs, and then for 9 months following that I walked with great difficulty. I was 18 living in an 80 year old body. After getting through that disaster I unfortunately was involved in two consecutive car accidents both 3 months apart from each other which gave me more nerve damage, bulging discs in the neck and torn ligaments in my cervical spine. I couldn't get a break.
Needless to say, I wasn't going to go down the western medicine road again, and I decided to take my health into my own hands. I sought out every kind of alternative therapy, medicine and treatment. I became a Pilates instructor (3 times certified), studied Anatomy, Kinesiology, Yoga, Herbal medicine. Tried deep needle acupuncture, Rolfing, acupressure, myofascial release, every kind of Chiropractic, decompression. And living in Los Angeles gave me access to some of the best therapies in the industry for these things, but still, some practitioners didn't know what to do with me, turned me down after a while or just kept trying the same things repeatedly with no improvement. No one knew why I began with a Spine injury that became a whole body shut down. The best way I can describe it is it felt as though I had 100 people pulling my bones in opposite directions at the same time. Like I was being ripped apart from the inside 24 hours a day. When I would tell doctors that they said I must have Fibromyalgia, or Rheumatoid Arthritis. I couldn't be bothered with the pills or opioids I was prescribed, I knew that was going to do nothing but bandaid the issue.
I wanted my life back, and doing that meant I was going to have to focus on fixing myself before I could focus on anything that I actually wanted to do. That's how I began my journey as a BioMechanic Therapist. I had to heal myself and/or find the people who could so that I could do music again. That was my mission. And that led me to Ashley Black and that's where the story really begins :)
Give us a brief summary of your topic.
I am going to teach you how to stand and how to move... the right way, and then maintain that through exercise. I see countless trainers, practitioners and so called "experts" giving tutorials on weight lifting, breath, circuit training, resistance bands, pilates, any number of different forms of exercise and the trainer has terrible supination of their foot, or their shoulders are rolled forward, hips are misaligned etc, etc, etc. It's hard for me to watch and it's rarely addressed. Even those with perfect form or fantastic mechanics seem to ignore their symmetry and go right into the exercise without coaching you through why the symmetry they have is of utmost importance. It's likely because it's the most boring aspect of working out, but the devil's in the details and that's where I come in.
Last words of wisdom?
I don't know that I have a mantra that's quote worthy, just "keep going, don't ever stop". But a great quote that I often find myself thinking about is from Tolstoy, "What punishments of God are not gifts?". Sometimes what feels like your greatest struggles in life, become bigger gifts than you could have ever imagined. I would not be where I am today if I had not gone through all those years of debilitating injuries. I wouldn't be writing the music I'm writing today, and for that I'm grateful.