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Sunflower Therapy for Children and Innate Maximum Potential (IMP) for Adults: Holistic Treatment for Learning and Performance Disorders

by Mark Mathews(more info)

listed in learning difficulties, originally published in issue 140 - October 2007

Since 1999 Sunflower Academy has been teaching a combination of natural validated techniques providing a very comprehensive addition to any practitioner therapeutic toolkit, enabling them to address very many more aspects of most patients’ problems in a safe natural way that works synergistically with other treatments to provide better overall results. The treatment is known as Sunflower Therapy for children and IMP (Innate Maximum Potential) for patients of all ages, and is essentially an approach to whole person integrated natural medicine, matched individually to each person’s needs in measured ways.

Disorders relating to mental and physical health, learning and behavioural difficulties in adults and children are all a multi-factor event. There are a whole host of therapy approaches that are successful to a degree but, so far, no single method has shown itself to be successful with lasting affect.

The concept taught by Sunflower Academy, known as Sunflower Therapy for children and IMP for adults, combines the examination and treatment methods of Applied Kinesiology (AK), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Manual Medicine. They are supplemented by Craniosacral techniques and Nutritional therapy. This concept, developed over the last two decades, has shown itself to be a most successful treatment method for all ages.

It could be said that health, learning disorders, abnormal behaviour and delayed development in both children and adults are more often than not the result of a physical disorder – the so-called neurological dysorganization.

The Theory of Neurological Dysorganization

At the hypothalamic level of the brain, as well as the intra- and extra cellular level of the tissue, neuro-transmitters and polypeptides drive the activities of the motor system, the immune system, the glands, the organs, and even the emotions. In the totality of the human body, the arbitrary separation of mind, motor system and metabolism do not coincide with reality.

Our muscular-skeletal system is made up of about 650 muscles, more than 200 bones and numerous joints. If certain muscles are tight or weakened, other muscles have to put in much more effort to keep the balance. It is easy to imagine how much the brain will have to work in order to keep up these corrections.

It now becomes clear why imbalances in the motor system represent a burden that can lead to neurological disadvantages for those concerned.

Treatment Process

For over a decade IMP and Sunflower Therapy has assisted in transforming patients lives, enabling them to achieve increased success, health and happiness, all of which have a positive outcome with family, workplace and society in general.

The treatment process starts with a complete assessment and examination of the adult or child, investigating 78 impact areas throughout the body. A report of findings charting areas of imbalance and weakness is prepared, and any deficits found are discussed with the parents or patient before the therapy is planned. Existing medical opinions, external findings and teachers’ assessments are included in the discussion.

Any disorders on adequate response to stimulus found are treated with the above-mentioned techniques. During the course of the treatment, the network of the body’s adaptation systems and their coordination are checked. If necessary the adaptive systems are also treated with Applied Kinesiology (AK). After that the fine reflex systems of the body are tested with regard to the eyes, ears, balance, co-ordination and ambulatory mechanism and treated accordingly. This includes a systematic and very thorough examination and treatment of the craniosacral system.

As the treatment progresses, neurological and mental response patterns, which cause negative stress and hence impair motor and mechanical abilities, are also treated. These negative response patterns can be hidden deep within the subconscious and so impair development. NLP methods are used to improve the child or adult’s performance and change their negative belief about their own abilities.

The neurotransmission metabolism and the balance of the autonomous nervous system are examined using AK. The treatment finishes with nutritional advice and, if need be, orthomolecular nutritional supplements. The functioning of the digestive and detoxifying organs, as well as of the hormonal glands, is checked. Chemical imbalances, such as allergies, Candida infection, parasites and heavy metal poisoning are another focal area of the treatment. Regular control examinations are undertaken in order to observe and assure the future development of the child, so that, for example, severe illness or periods of great stress do not worsen the results achieved.

Case Study: The Story of Tobias

by Dr Gerhard Otto MD, Allergy Medicine, Naturopath, Homeopath, Chemist, Sunflower-Therapist Essen, Germany

Case History
Tobias, a twin born in week 36 by Caesarean section, started treatment at the age of ten because of ADHS and a pronounced reading and spelling weakness. The mother reported difficulty spelling, reading and calculating. The boy suffered from neurodermatitis, and his behaviour was very often aggressive. There was considerable tension amongst the members of the family. The parents had divorced and were living with new partners.

Tobias’ communication with the outside world mainly took the form of physical clashes or complete physical and emotional withdrawal. He tended to cry quietly and not make any noise when in pain, despite injuries and painful manipulation during examinations.

Initial Examination Results
Swaying when eyes were closed, not able to stand on one leg only, lopsided pelvis and shoulder towards bottom left, hyperlordosis in the lumbar spine area, different leg lengths, different arm lengths, left pelvis wringing, thoracic spine fixation, blocked right atlas, symphysial fixation, maxillary joint dysfunction, only able to move from lying to sitting position with the help of his arms.

On the neurological level, there was evidence of a misalignment of the cranial bones. The coordination of eye movement was impaired. The Moro, fright paralysis and asymmetrical tonic neck reflexes were still present.

On the biochemical level, there was hyperacidity as well as imbalances in the adrenic system and in the anaerobic area. He tested positive for allergy, fungus infection and lack of zinc. Auto-immune reactions could also be observed.

Tobias was given three Sunflower treatments. During the first session, he was treated up to ‘News Phase 3 gait clear’ (i.e. all muscles were balanced while lying down, sitting, standing up and walking). It was evident that blockages in the thoracic spine were the main cause of the weak-nesses. The difference in leg lengths was of the upper and lower extremities were able to relax. Tobias was given an alkaline powder.

During the second session, the left elbow joint and the hypertension in the calf muscles (tibia posterior on both sides) were corrected by aligning the right knee, as were the other musculo-skeletal imbalances. After treatment of the maxillary joint the boy showed strong emotional reactions for the first time, with outward expressions of pain. Towards the end of the session he became relaxed. The hard manipulation of the masseter muscles were overcome by his emotional outbursts. Tobias was happy when he left the practice.

In a further treatment session the eye symptoms were corrected and acupressure, that led to the resolution of negative patterns, was undertaken. Tobias was given several homeopathic remedies, beta-carotene and zinc as well as some ‘homework’ (alphabet table and breathing exercises) upon release.

Mother’s report
Since the treatment, Tobias has been markedly less aggressive towards his stepfather and stepbrother. For the first time, the family is communicating in a less aggressive manner. His social behaviour at school has improved.

The craving for sweets has been reduced perceptibly. His skin has become clearer.

After starting to take the homeopathic remedies, he became worse for two weeks with his old aggressive behaviour pattern, but this subsided afterwards.

Therapeutic report
His holding of his shoulders and head has improved markedly. He is able to sit up, from lying down on his back, without using his arms. Whilst he did not get into any contact whatsoever (visual contact, expression of feelings, addressing someone) with strangers at the start of the treatment, the communication between Tobias and the therapist has improved since treatment: The boy smiles after visual contact and has developed enough self-confidence to point out mistakes or unclear instructions to the therapist. Since his treatment, his participation at school, his attention span and his performance all have improved.

Case Study 2: The Story of Mr M

by Mark Mathews BSc (Hons) DO MICAK, Founder of Sunflower Therapy and IMP

Mr M came to Reve Pavilion Natural Health Clinic in Surrey some time after he had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Long before this diagnosis was made, the mobility of his joints was getting progressively worse. He could neither fully open nor close his hands, and thus could no longer write properly nor play the guitar, which had been a life-long hobby. He could not raise his arms above his shoulders and could only walk short distances. He was also suffering, as is common with RA, from enormous fatigue. He also happened to be chairman and Chief Executive of an autonomous division of a public company.

Tests showed that he had problems chemically, structurally and emotionally. Treatment involved dealing with diet, allergies and nutritional supplements. It also involved a lot of work on emotional problems. The treatment was tough in that he had to cut a lot of things out of his diet for a time. He had to avoid things like alcohol, coffee, butter and beef. He had to eat organic food only for a long time. As something of a bon vivant he took this as pretty grim news. He did, however, stick to it because he did not want to go where his disease was taking him.

A year later he tested negative for RA. Two years later he was able to return to a normal diet, much to his relief. He still has some pain in his joints, especially in damp weather, but he is fully mobile and considers the pain to be very mild. There is nothing he feels unable to do. In fact, he does far more with his hands, such as carpentry, than he ever did before he was ill. He returned because he decided that he valued his health more than his wealth.

In Conclusion

In my opinion there is no separation between the physical, chemical and psychological aspects of a patient. All of these aspects work together and interact. What happens on one level reflects on another, and for me it is a question of which is most appropriate to work with, at what time. I see a cross-section of all kinds of people who come for all sorts of reasons, and my job really is to help them to make the most of themselves.


Mathews MO and Thomas Elizabeth. A Pilot Study on the Value of Applied Kinesiology in Helping Children with Learning Difficulties. British Osteopathic Journal. XII. 1993.
Mathews MO. A Combined Approach to Treatment of Learning Difficulties. Early Child Development and Care. 137. 111-122. 1997.
Otto G Dr. 2001. Die Sunflower Therapie. Allitera Verlag. ISBN 3-935284-34-9. June 2007.

Further Information

Sunflower Academy is a not-for-profit medical society dedicated to enhancing patient care worldwide, offering a time-efficient and affordable education to Practitioners with a minimum four-year medical background. The Academy intends to hold a course in the North of England in January-July 2008. For
further details you may contact Sunflower Academy on Tel: 0845 054 7509;


Part of this article has previously been published in the July 2007 edition of In Touch Magazine. For further information contact Kinesiology Connections on Tel: 020 8856 7717;;

Stages of Assessment and Treatment

Stage 1
Initial consultation, assessment and report of findings.
Stage 2
The structural functional integrity of the muscular skeletal system will be assessed and treated to normalize it for lying, sitting and then standing positions.
The body can be regarded as a network of interactive systems all of which should co-ordinate with and adapt to each other. A further structural screen investigates this ability, with the child lying on the couch. Wedges are placed in different positions under the child's body. Measurements are then taken to determine whether the body is accommodating these distortions; if not the adaptive mechanisms are corrected.
Stage 3
Finer reflex control systems relating to the interaction of eyes, ear balance, co-ordination and gait, information input, storage and retrieval, are assessed and treated.
Stage 4
The child is challenged with various activities required for normal skills of reading, writing and numeracy. Negative neurological responses which impede the ease with which these activities are accomplished are then corrected.

Negative Clearing (Learning to cope with difficult situations)

Parents and children are asked to complete a list of situations, events and issues that the child experiences difficulties in handling. Procedures are used to help eliminate inappropriate neuro-associated behaviour. The child is helped to construct more appropriate responses. Instruction is given on how to re-pattern these helpful changes until they become habituated.
Stage 5
Test as described in the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK) literature relating to neuro-transmitters and the balance of the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system are given. Dietary and nutritional programmes are devised when appropriate.
Stage 6
Additional screens of tests are performed to investigate inflammatory pathways, allergies, the relationship between muscles, organs, aspects of intestinal and liver function, and also glands and their hormonal function.
Stage 7
Further evaluations for chemical imbalances such as allergies, candida, parasites, toxic metals are made and addressed in appropriate ways.
Stage 8
In some cases Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques, as developed by Grindler and Bandler, are pursued to reinforce positive elements of attitude and approach to override negative beliefs and behaviour that may be blocking the child's normal propensities to enjoy learning experiences with self confidence. This enables them to cope well in situations where they were not their normal, confident able self.


Stage 9
Re-assessments are carried out to ensure that progress has been maintained. Clients are advised to return for periodic re-assessment and treatment where appropriate to ensure against recidivism. It is worth providing an occasional forward boost as the various transitional stages of growing up occur. Each stage, occasionally causes new difficulties for which additional help and support may be recommended.

How many visits will be needed?

The normal number of visits required to check out and address all these various screens and tests is seldom less than 10 and not usually more than 15 over a 12 month period.. It is not possible in advance to give an exact estimate as hundreds of tests are rapidly performed and any abnormal results are addressed individually and immediately.

It would be quite impossible in advance to do all the tests at one time and therefore the whole diagnostic system is split into manageable sections. We treat what we find in each individual case.


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About Mark Mathews

Mark Mathews BSc (Hons) DO MICAK graduated in Ecology from Edinburgh University in 1969 and was subsequently responsible for managing the set-up of the National Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales. He practises as a natural health practitioner and completed his first course in Applied Kinesiology in 1984, continued to study with the world’s most knowledgeable teachers of Applied Kinesiology, and published widely on the subject. He also trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) over many years and graduated from the Robbins Research International Mastery University. In 1988, Mark established the Rêve Pavilion Natural Health Clinic ( which provides an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach for the treatment of all kinds of health problems. Being dyslexic himself, he always had a special interest in helping children with learning and behavioural difficulties. He pioneered The Sunflower Therapy for children ( at the Rêve Pavilion, and in 1995 set up the Sunflower Trust Children’s Charity ( Mark is also the Founder of IMP whole person medicine for all ages ( and the Founder of Screen Mobile Limited. He may be contacted via the Sunflower Academy on Tel: 0845 054 7509;

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