April 2016


'Awaken the medicine within, and restore the natural
self-healing capacity of body, mind, and spirit.'

                                                 Dr. Roger Jahnke in THE HEALER WITHIN


Hello my Journey to Wellness friends. I am especially excited to bring you this very special issue of Journey to Wellness.

Nothing makes me as happy as sharing the story of someone who is defeating Multiple Sclerosis with lifestyle changes such as exercise. This is such a story.  Through grit and determination Frannie Lorant-Moore is reversing the damage MS did that put her in a scooter for the last 27 years.

Frannie is now on the verge of walking on her own. I hope reading Frannie's story will encourage you to be persistent in your own journey to wellness.

Now enjoy Frannie's exciting story.



ALL ABOUT THE PSOAS (so-as) muscle 

Almost two years ago I did a Skype consultation with a lovely lady from Shreveport, LA, USA. Her name is Frannie Lorant-Moore. Frannie has been confined to a scooter with Relapsing-Remitting MS for the past approximately 27 years. MS forced her to retire after a 21-year career as an elementary school teacher.


Sometimes the person with whom I am doing a Skype consultation makes a strong impression on me, and Frannie was one of those people.  We ended up Skype-ing for 2-1/2 hours. That had never happened before nor since.


Our long conversation covered a lot of ground during that period of time.  Frannie was like a sponge, soaking up everything I shared with her. She is a very strong, determined person, and that day she made up her mind that she would defeat MS just as I had done. Talking with Frannie that day I realized that she is very much like me.  Actually we talked about that.


I gave Frannie all the recommendations for everything I had done to reverse my PP MS, and she immediately accepted that if I could do it, she could do it too!  She, however, did not take anything for granted.  She asked every question she could think of and I responded to the best of my ability.


One of the items we discussed was exercise.  I told her what I had learned from Shoosh Crotzer about the psoas muscle and the role it plays in MS disability, and suggested she get the Yoga for MS DVD program, which has a section specifically to rebuild the weakened psoas. Actually there are two psoas muscles, usually called the major psoas and the minor psoas.


The psoas plays a major role in the strength of our legs, as well as our ability to walk. The common foot drop relates directly to the weakened psoas.  For some unknown reason MS seriously weakens the psoas, and since the major nerves that control our legs and feet go through the psoas we develop the walking problems associated with MS.  (To a lesser degree there is some association between the weakened psoas and bladder and bowel incontinence).


For some reason unknown to me Frannie did not immediately use the Yoga for MS DVD, but she has an excellent physical therapist and eventually she talked to her PT about what I had told her about the psoas. She immediately assigned Frannie the Sphinx pose (pictured here) to start strengthening the psoas.


Sphinx yoga pose  Frannie was instructed to do this pose twice a day, holding it constant for 15 minutes each, early morning and just before retiring in the evening.


Frannie reported to me almost immediately two things. First, it caused a severe burning sensation in her low back (which lessened over time), but second almost immediately she began to see improvement in her feet and legs.  Remember that she had spent 27 years without walking or lifting her feet and/or legs.  In a few days she began to report that she could lift the weakened right leg and put it on an ottoman. She also had worn a brace on that weak leg for a lot of years, and she was able to begin to remove the brace for periods of time.


Frannie was so excited by this time that I received explicit details from her at least every day, and sometimes several times a day. One of the things I remember the most about our initial consultation was how very badly she wanted to walk again. 


As I write this it is day 58 since Frannie began doing this Sphinx pose for 15 minutes every morning and again for 15 minutes every evening. She has a TV in her bedroom, which helps her to stick with the 15 minute periods.


She then added what she calls the GASTROC, pictured below. Now I quote Frannie, "Which is simply sitting on the bed with legs straight in front of you, toes pointing to the ceiling.  I am taking the long belt that my PT used to keep me from falling and put it around the ball of my foot on the weak R. leg to  strengthen the ankle.  I also spend 15 min. pulling the foot taught and at times can raise the foot maybe 10+" high with the belt  while waiting on my 15 min.  While timing 15 minutes, you can raise the leg 5-6" and pause and do over and over while still timing which is truly pulling the GASTROC.  I have noticed a stronger ankle.


After Frannie was able to remove the brace, she started walking between the parallel bars with her PT, wearing only what she calls a "Denver T Ankle Brace,"  barely using a finger to help with balance. After several more weeks the PT added the Indian Style, pictured here, to work on the adductors.

In Yoga this is commonly called the Staff pose. Frannie adds:

        Here is where you take the belt and place it around the ball of the bad foot and pull tight. 

Note:  One could also use a piece of narrow, firm fabric to substitute for the belt Frannie describes.


This is what Frannie refers to as the Indian Style pose, often called the Easy Pose in Yoga. Some forms of Yoga refer to it as the Adductor Pose. Here you are stretching and strengthening the groin muscles.


This pose is also the common sitting position for Yoga meditation.





Frannie reports, "Today is Day 58 almost 2 months and for 124 times of the PSOAS. GASTROC is 62 times and the ADDUCTOR-Indian Style is 30 times.  Glad they are in this order  because it seems an easier FLOW.  The hardest is the PSOAS, then rest easier.  I get excited just keeping track with the # of times on my chart."

Here are Fannie's instructions:


1.  PSOAS--lying on your bed on your stomach at the end of it with your face at the foot and your feet at the head of the bed.  Just raise up on  your elbows placed at the end of the bed and you are arching  your back and  it should really  feel TIGHT since  you have not been using  your PSOAS or walking.   I have noticed a slight bit better bladder control also, because the PSOAS also  works with the bladder.


2.  GASTROCNEIMUS  which I have shortened to GASTROC which is working with your calf and the ANTERIOR TIBIALIS which is the front of your leg at the shin shortened to ANTERIOR TIB. 


You need one of those strong 2 inch belts that they use at PT that they put around your waist to keep  you from falling.  I don't think a towel is strong enough but may work for  you.  My PT said  you could get these belts for $10  at a PT place or hospital.  You wrap the belt around the ball of your foot while sitting with your legs straight flat in front of you and keep a good pull.   I will raise my foot by pulling on my belt about 5" off the bed, over and over for that 15 minutes just pulling on that 2" belt. 

All of this is just to get the LEG to lift which I could not lift before because of FOOT-DROP but now lifting my R. leg up on my ottoman and picking up my leg to take a step.  As soon as it gets much stronger then I will be lifting my foot faster and able to retain my BALANCE. It is slow now but just touching a cabinet for Balance.  The faster your step then you will have your Balance back.  I used to think that balance is all your head but NO it is in your faster movement. I thought Balance came from  your brain. No, No, a faster step is actually just catching your fall.  Has nothing to do with your head but your strength and speed of catching your FALL with your next STEP.  Just simply SPEED in your step will give you your Balance back.  I can't wait to be walking OFF to somewhere  without my scooter.   LOL.


3.  ADDUCTORS which are the groin muscles.  Sit Indian Style on your mattress  and lean forward while sitting on your bed and feel the tightness in the Groin.


I do each of these 3 exercises for 15 minutes EACH and spend that 45 minutes every morning and every night. 


(Very special thanks to the Yoga Journal for photos we "borrowed" of the three poses.)


NOTE FROM BETTY:  Many hundreds of you who receive this newsletter have the Yoga for MS DVD. If yours is gathering dust somewhere, get it out and get busy.  Remember this routine is "modified" Yoga for people who have MS.  The section that works on the psoas and the groin muscles is where you are lying on the floor with your feet in a sofa.  Do them carefully, and do not overdo.  When you place your feet on the front of the sofa and push your knees to the sides, this is most important for the whole lower half of your body, as well as bladder control.


Even though I will not be stocking this DVD in the future, I still have two copies if anyone would like to order one.  Just use the order form link HERE for my shopping cart.


And of course a very special thank you to teacher/student especial, Frannie.  It is people like you who encourage me to continue to do what I do, long after I probably should have retired.


I hope you are enjoying a great summer. Watch for a regular issue of Journey to Wellness soon. If you have questions or concerns about the psoas, please let me know HERE and I'll address them in the next issue.

{{hugs}} to you all.