The Ten Commandments of Dystonia Recovery
Thou shalt befriend thy nervous system. If you learn about your nervous system with a curious and open mind, you’ll be able to rewire it and get your life back; if you just wish the problem would go away you’ll just keep strengthening your current dysfunctional patterns and move farther away from recovery.
Thou shalt be thine own saviour. No doctor, not even the best or most innovative, can do the work of rewiring your nervous system for you. The recovery process is an active one: nothing is done to you, everything is done by you.
Thou shalt not fixate on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). TMJ balancing therapy can help you balance some of your cranial nerves, but all of them need to be normalized, starting from Cranial Nerve 1 in your nose and all the way down to Cranial Nerve 12 in your tongue. Once these nerves are normalized, it’ll be easier to find your TMJ balance.
Thou shalt find balance in thy nervous system before thou changest thine anatomy. If you have anatomical asymmetries like malocclusion or a deformed maxilla, you should correct them with a competent and holistically-minded dentist who understands the neurophysiological implications of their work. You will be the one to lead that process and indicate where your stable occlusion should be; you can only do that after you have normalized your cranial nerves. If you change your occlusion before you have balance in your cranial nerves, you’ll lock in a dysfunctional position.
Thou shalt directly stimulate hypotonic nerves with sensory stimulation. A recovery program based on dance and movement alone cannot awaken underused nerves in a useful timeframe for most people, it’s just too dang slow! You’ll need an accurate map of your hypertonic and hypotonic nerves so you can actively help your brain reconnect with specific underused pathways and integrate them into new functional patterns.
Thou shalt vigorously stimulate neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to forge new connections and learn. There are many techniques you can use to help your brain integrate the pathways you re-awaken into default patterns. Where possible and as allowed by local law, microdosing psilocybin mushrooms can help promote neuroplasticity and speed up your recovery. Warning: neuroplasticity is a neutral state, and you’ll need to actively direct your brain towards symmetrical use of your nervous system in order for it to be beneficial.
Thou shalt be mindful. You’ll need self awareness and steady, intentional action in order to successfully rewire your nervous system. You’ll need to learn to minimize anxiety and cultivate equanimity, and learn to respond rather than react to what’s happening within you.
Thou shalt be compassionate. Our emotions, memories and traumas are tied to the same neural pathways as our movements, postures etc. As you change your nervous system, you’ll be confronted with the implicit beliefs you may have held for decades, traumas you may have forgotten, and the need to change deeply entrenched habits. You’ll need to be in touch with your open, compassionate heart in order to hold and process all of this with kindness and love for yourself.
Thou shalt receive what comes with love. Even the toughest days have something to teach you about your nervous system. Receive everything with genuine curiosity rather than eagerly chasing a specific outcome.
Thou shalt be resilient. The recovery process isn’t linear, but you possess the resilience you need to keep going when you’re confronted with the fluctuations of your symptoms. Keep your hopes up, you can do this!