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Self-Healing Around the Globe - Meir Schneider Courageous Pioneer

by Richard Mandrachio(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 201 - December 2012

Alleviating Degenerative Disease

One of the greatest health problems faced by humanity is continuous degeneration. When people begin to degenerate, they believe there is absolutely no way they can reverse it. Most treatments are given with the idea that once you get worse you can never get better. In many cases, particularly with vision impairments, these degenerative conditions are generally believed to be incurable. We basically accept the fact that our joints should hurt, our muscles should ache, and that a paralysis should be permanent. One courageous pioneer, Meir Schneider, has taken it upon himself to be a crusader against that premise, and has continually examined the fact that degeneration could actually be slowed down, stopped, or eliminated. Elimination of degeneration became his goal.

meir-beach-exercise
Meir's Exercise on the Beach

So how is it done? First of all, it can be achieved by using the incredible healing resources the body has. One must be willing to live with the wonderful changes that nobody had ever predicted could possibly happen to us. It also requires a change in attitude of just supporting people while they’re degenerating; instead, move them beyond where physical therapy predicts they can go, beyond where medicine predicts they could move. Ultimately, and with perseverance, reality can be altered.

Over the years, Meir Schneider has gradually developed the theories that he currently teaches to massage therapists and to lay people in workshops and seminars. Some of his most important work, however, is with vision. The eyes, he says, can improve if you relax them deeply, adjust them to different light frequencies, learn to look at details, and learn to look into the distance. Essentially, if you balance the use of your eyes, then you will see well.

From vision improvement, Meir graduated to movement as a way to heal any part of the body. He believes the entire body can change if you balance it, especially by learning to use muscles you’ve never used before. This leads us to the massage profession. Meir insists we need to create a whole new approach that interconnects massage and movement, so that we use more of our muscles. In his last book, Movement for Self-Healing, he tells the stories of how 30 people have improved themselves with movement.

Yes, medicine has advanced us quite a bit, but ultimately, we can move things forward. You cannot undo a person’s genes; you cannot undo brain injury. But you can improve lives with massage, movement, and relaxation.

Massage Treatments for Muscular Dystrophy

On a recent trip to the UK, Meir met Anna, a woman who works for the Muscular Dystrophy Society in England. Anna suffers from limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, which is a severe illness, and she walked with great difficulty. That’s why she went to Meir for several double sessions. He had rented a massage table and worked with her on the table quite a bit, using very soft movements. This is something especially important with muscular dystrophy cases. You massage the weak muscles with very soft effleurage, and shake the strong muscles if the person has strong ones. In Anna’s case, she was still mobile, but had lost a lot of strength. She would bend her entire body when she walked up steps. She told Meir she did this because she needed to see where she was going. Meir could understand since all she had to do was to step on a slight protrusion or elevation, and her weakness would cause her to fall. Naturally, she did not want to fall; after all, who does? In fact, many people with muscular dystrophy have ended up in wheelchairs after their falls. Meir taught Anna to look down and also to look up, because when you contract your back, you put a tremendous amount of stress on your quadriceps. It took Meir several hours to show her how to straighten herself. She finally did and felt great relief, especially in her legs.

It’s important for massage therapists to do more than massage paralyzed people. They should also watch their posture and their gait, and adjust the massage treatment to respond to both. The result of what Meir did with Anna is that she is now able to walk up steps without difficulty. With muscular dystrophy your strength is decreasing all the time, so this was her first attempt in several years.

Another thing to know is that people with muscular dystrophy also suffer from tension. Tension of the connective tissue deserves deep tissue massage for a few minutes. One person afflicted with this condition came to see Meir from the UK; he arrived with a very stiff neck due to the long flight from London to San Francisco. Consequently, Meir did deep tissue massage on his neck to loosen the tension, but it was also necessary to work with him very gently. Remember, deep tissue work does not need to be brutal or extremely aggressive.

A very interesting muscular dystrophy case was a woman named Beatriz. She came to Meir unable to walk without a limp, unable to lift her arms, and almost unable to eat due to facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, which causes weakness of the face. Meir massaged her muscles gently and moved them passively, lifted her arms up and down, and massaged inside her cheeks with a glove. Soon she was able to eat, lift her arms all the way, and walk without any problems. Since then, Beatriz has become an occupational therapist.

A New Approach to Healing

After 40 years of working on himself and others, not only has Meir overcome his own visual difficulties, but he has created an entirely new approach to healing. Though many people haven’t understood this method, there are those who accept his work for its unique scope and the new perspective it offers. Until recently, Meir was only one of three teachers who taught his technique; there was also Vareed from Israel - from early on in Meir’s development - and Beatriz, who joined him after improving her own condition in the early 90s. She eventually asked Meir to train others in his method, saying they had found it useful and unique, so some people were granted the provisional rights to practise it for a year or two. Because of this, one of the most important events of Meir’s life became his recent trip to Brazil; it was the first time that Beatriz and he had the opportunity to instruct 17 people. They were to become teachers of Meir’s work who would conduct training courses so that others could also practise and teach his techniques. The result was a reciprocal relationship between teachers and students which moved the class atmosphere forward every moment. Moreover, members of the faculty were happy to improve the program by re-imagining new ways to explain his work. There were now 20 qualified teachers instead of 3, which made Meir realize the international potential of his system.

Until then, Meir used to think we could only work within the gene configurations we already have; that one’s genetic makeup is unchanging. He also believed one could improve beyond one’s imagination but only within a limited structure. The encouraging case of Simone, however, changed these preconceived notions.

Simone, a middle-aged Brazilian woman, was almost completely blinded by a traffic accident. After having taken Meir’s six-day course and several individual sessions with him, she was eventually able to see with 95% of normal vision even though physicians believed she would never see again. So it became clear to him that even severe physical conditions could be improved. During a lecture explaining his work, Beatriz surprised Meir with a reference to some new research that showed you could change the configuration of your genes by working on your breathing. If anyone else had said this, Meir would have probably sneered at the statement, thinking it impossible. But because of the great respect he has for Beatriz as one of the most advanced students of his work, as well as a Professor of Occupational Therapy, he took it to heart; yet, he did not know what to do with it.

Then, something marvellous happened that has transformed Meir’s view of life: the case of Isabela, a five-year-old who was diagnosed with degenerative muscular dystrophy - the third worst kind. Normally it is expected that someone with this condition would be paralyzed before age 20 and die before they turn 50, and that is an optimistic prediction for this illness; often it is worse. Isabela was brought to Meir by her mother Larissa for two treatments in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during his earlier visit to that country more than three years ago. To his surprise, Isabela, her mother Larissa, her father Eduardo, and her brother Cristian came to San Francisco for 3 double sessions with him. Isabela could no longer stand from a sitting position, and her father had to carry her upstairs. Meir worked gently with her and taught her parents to do the same since they were very concerned. Interestingly, her father was a Doctor of Internal Medicine and her mother a Dentist, both conventional in their respective practices. Isabela had difficulty moving her shoulder, so together they massaged it and had her visualize the movement - and the shoulder moved freer. Working in a pool was tiring for the young girl, but ultimately successful.

During the last few days of Meir’s recent trip to Sao Paulo, when he held private sessions with clients, Isabela and her entire family met him at his hotel. Though he feared to see Isabela confined to a wheelchair, Meir was relieved and gratified to see that she wasn’t; instead, she was able to sit and stand without any problem. Larissa told him that Isabela now dances ballet and does things in such a way that you’d never suspect she ever had a physical disability. When Meir asked her conservative father how such a thing was possible, he replied that for several months after having seen Meir they had worked with Paula - one of the practitioners of Meir’s method - and then they had administered conventional physical therapy, including hydrotherapy, twice a week. More importantly, Isabela’s parents had changed their attitude towards their daughter’s condition and prognosis. This was confirmed by her father when he told Meir, “We have changed our thinking about the future of our daughter.” Their new outlook, together with therapy, had a powerful effect. Although he had seen improvements before, this change in Isabela’s degenerative illness was a first even for Meir; he could not believe the amazing transformation. While still trying to understand how a gene configuration could possibly alter, Meir realized that he had experienced potential evidence of it firsthand, and he said his heart jumped for joy.

Natural Vision Improvement for Everyone

When Meir visited New York City during Spring 2012, he met many new patients. One that impressed him greatly was a lady named Angela who had a very serious eye problem. She lost about 99.9% of her vision to an illness called retinitis pigmentosa, which destroys most of the retinal cells. She walked with a cane, but what amazed Meir was that she did not see herself as a blind person, which put to shame many people who call themselves blind merely by taking off their glasses, because they actually have decent vision. Now, Angela could not really discern anyone’s face - she could not see that Meir had eyes or a nose or a mouth - but saw some sort of halo instead. Since the META Center - where Meir was working in Manhattan - would not allow him to use their balcony on the sixteenth floor, he took Angela down to busy 7th Avenue. They headed for a storefront, only to find it closed. It had a protective metallic door that was striated, so Meir asked Angela to look at the metallic ridges in the daylight, and she could actually distinguish them. He then put two eye charts on the locked door with the ridges. She was not able to recognize them as eye charts until he asked her to step closer - to within about one inch of the wall - without telling her the charts were there. She moved her face from side to side and was surprised that she saw a B and an E, those very large letters that doctors expect you to easily see from 20 feet, or else you’re considered legally blind; she saw those letters for the first time in five years. When she excitedly said she would show her ability to the doctors, Meir regretfully explained that most doctors don’t have that kind of sensitivity; they would not put eye charts in the sun where someone could possibly see them well. Nevertheless, they went back upstairs and continued the exercises. He showed her the front side of the chart with the letters and then the blank back side. Much to her delight, she could distinguish one side from the other. Angela was able to see that one side had letters, versus the other which had no letters; this time it happened from as far away as two feet. Meir explained how her problem was not that she had failed to see but that there was no instructor to teach her how to see with the vision she has. And that is just the point: new instructors are needed who must really adjust themselves to their individual patients.

Meir’s tour of eight cities included thirteen lectures, four days of workshops, and of course, working with patients. One was a small five-year-old named Alberto. His grandmother explained that since the mother wasn’t involved in the boy's life, she and her boyfriend took it upon themselves to escort Alberto. Meir told her she needed to be clear about the fact that she was now the mother, and her boyfriend the father. Both of them were so grateful that someone gave them that status: two people who were concerned about the child even though it was a second-generation mother and a new father. So Meir first worked on his posture, which was extremely stooped. Next, since he couldn’t see much (he had had several retinal detachments and cornea transplants, and was considered completely blind in one eye and nearly completely blind in the other), Meir put him in a dark room with blinking lights. This is a routine exercise he uses when someone sees very poorly, because a blinking light in the dark has the greatest contrast. Meir was very surprised to discover that both of Alberto’s eyes saw the lights easily. As a result, it occurred to him that Alberto had the ability to see. Most people who are as visually impaired as Alberto don’t see the light as well or as consistently. So they let light enter the dark room, and Meir put his face within half an inch of Alberto’s, who looked back at him. What Meir discovered was that, while most of us look at everyone else from a distance of 4, 5, or 6 feet, Alberto could only see from less than an inch away. And that’s why he didn’t look at anything, because no one was ever instructed to put things close enough for him to see. There were no practitioners who understood him outside the world of the 20/20 standard of measure. Once people began entering into his visual range, Alberto started to actually see them. Moreover, he began to look closer at toys, he started to roll balls and catch them, and his posture straightened. This exemplifies something important: we need to learn to organize our visual system around the vision we have. There is no such thing as bad vision; there is vision that is stronger, and there is vision that is weaker. Very often we are so concerned about what we cannot see, we ignore what we can see, and end up not fully using the vision we have. Consequently, we need new instructors to teach us to do just that.

Vision for Life Cover

In his new book, Vision for Life, Meir uses ten steps for obtaining better sight naturally. He teaches people how to prevent vision problems, like how to use the computer easily. He also teaches how to get rid of nearsightedness and farsightedness. But, what’s more, he instructs people with low vision how to see with the limited vision they have and how to improve it to the utmost. As of the 1800s we were conditioned to believe that eyes cannot improve, with all kinds of theories around that assumption. Now, we can actually show that vision could in fact improve. Such understanding will not come from within the institution; it will come from the outside. And Meir could be that champion on the outside - and perhaps even change global consciousness.

About Meir Schneider

Meir Schneider PhD LMT healed himself of congenital blindness and developed an original holistic approach to health. The Meir Schneider Self-Healing Method is a unique and innovative combination of therapeutic massage, movement, and natural vision improvement exercises for prevention and rehabilitation of degenerative conditions. This effective technique has been medically documented and proven effective in increasing mobility, improving the function of body systems, relieving pain, improving vision, and increasing productivity. Meir Schneider may be contacted via the School for Self-Healing www.self-healing.org/

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About Richard Mandrachio

Richard Mandrachio is an editor of novels, textbooks, and self-help guides, and a writer whose articles and literary reviews have been published internationally. His clients include The San Francisco Chronicle, Poetry Flash Magazine, Sacramento Book Review, the Rumpus.net, Suite 101, Info Net Publishing, Milady Publishing, Self-Healing Research Center, and the US National Park Service. He also currently serves on the jury for the Northern California Book Awards and works from his home-based office in San Francisco. Richard may be contacted via richardmandrachio@hotmail.com

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