Danish Wounded Warrior Project – Copenhagen, Denmark

 

DanishWoundedWarriorsProject

The Danish Wounded Warriors Project supports young victims of traumatic multiple injuries, return to a meaningful life by minimizing the impact of their physical and/or mental impairments with the help of highly advanced, specialized physical training.

Highly promising results have already been achieved with the incredible support invested by private funding.. Many of the soldiers and civilians were told by Doctors and Physiotherapists following initial rehabilitation, that there was nothing more that could be done for them. However after participating in the Danish Wounded Warriors Project, recent recorded results reveal an overall improvement of the participants “Quality of Life” by 22%.

Since the successful results of the last 8 months, participants have successfully returned to being contributors to Danish society in educational programs or have returned to full time employment – others are setting new goals towards representing Denmark in the Paralympics in 2016.

With the Pilot project drawing to an end, DWWP vision, is to further their knowledge and expertise in order to support the whole Danish community. This will be done by translating a 2-year program (consisting of 2 modules) in to training manuals and courses to be taught in veteran centers, hospitals, physiotherapy clinics, nursing homes and for home use all over the country.

 

  1. Return to life Training Program (Year 1)

DWWP’s pilot study, showed an overall improvement of ‘Quality of Life’ by 32.5% in a small ‘test group’ of Civilians with multi traumatic injuries. The Return to life program will therefore target a large group of Civilians as they leave the hospital environment and give them the resources to reconnect, re-own and control their ‘new body’- ‘post injury.’ Rather than falling into a ‘socioeconomically disadvantaged category,’ these individuals can experience a higher ‘quality of life’ and contribute to the whole Danish community in a productive and rewarding way through individual training programs that improve their fine motor control, strength, coordination, mobility, balance, and self worth.

 

  1. Training for life Training program (Year 2)

The 2nd module entitled “Training for life,” will empower the participants to take their training programs into their own hands for the rest of their lives. Home programs will be developed and participants will be integrated into group training alongside other DWWP participants, creating a synergy and network to support one another into the final stages of rehabilitation.

 

DWWPresults

 

 

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‘Wounded Warriors’: Royal Danish Ballet dancers train repatriated wounded soldiers in Pilates.

“Denmark is the country in the ISAF (International Security and Assistance Force), that has had the largest number of casualties compared to the country’s population. Out of all the countries, Denmark is also the nation, which has the largest percentage of its soldiers who have died. It is also among the nations with most troops deployed relative to size.

37 soldiers have been killed in various hostile engagements or as a result of friendly fire, and 6 have been killed in non-combat related incidents, bringing the number of Danish fatalities to 43. In addition, 211 soldiers were wounded in action and injured.

With a new mandate issued by the Danish parliament in 2006, Danish military operations transformed from relatively safe non-combat operations in the centre of the country to combat operations alongside the British contingent in the violent southern Helmand province. Although the last combat troops have now left Afghanistan, a number of Danish defense personnel will remain in the country in order to train the Afghan police force and to man special units and tanks. According to reporting by Politiken newspaper, the roughly 300 Danish soldiers who will remain in Helmand province will participate in combat if necessary but will have the primary focus of securing the withdrawal of other Western forces between now and the end of 2014.”[1]

This article reports on an innovative program developed by Royal Danish Ballet Foundation and its dancers to assist both in physical and mental rehabilitation of soldiers wounded in action in Afghanistan and provides insights into how it was conceived and developed. Reflections from participants are included.

 

Background: TheTin Soldier.

Besides the Fairytale “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” by Hans Christian Andersen – one doesn’t tend to associate Ballet Dancers with Soldiers – although there are in fact, more similarities in our training than one might have imagined.

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Kizzy Matiakis. Soloist with The Royal Danish Ballet Photo by David Amzallag

 

 

 

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Jojo Bowman, Ballet dancer with The Royal Danish Ballet/ Certified Pilates instructor teaching Danish Wounded Warriors at the Adventure Camp in Bornholm Denmark 2012.Photo by Christian Radil

 

 

Being Ballet dancers, we are forced from an early age to acquire many specialized skills. Ultimately, we are required to obtain elite levels of fitness, high amounts of self-discipline, forced to continuously push physical boundaries, expected to handle hard criticism on a regular basis, as well as have the ability to overcome injuries and invest in endless training for the prevention of injuries. We are elite athletes and our careers rely on being in the best physical shape.

Dancers have been using Pilates as a rehabilitation method for decades. However, Pilates was actually originally created during World War 1, where the founder of the system, Joseph Pilates, used his method to rehabilitate injured soldiers. Unlike most, Pilates would not see a bed ridden amputee as a disabled man with only one leg – but a highly skilled, fit young soldier – with 3 perfectly working limbs. Using his vast experience in physical training, he wasted no time in getting these men back exercising on a daily basis, by quite simply reworking the structural aspects of the old style hospital bed frames, removing and reattaching springs – therefore allowing the patient to apply movement and resistance to muscles – despite the fact that they were bed bound. The results were outstanding. The soldiers experienced far speedier recoveries, as well as significantly improved body alignment, increased core strength and more refined coordination and balance.

In March 2010 in Copenhagen, almost 100 years on, a heavy influx of wounded soldiers were being sent home to Denmark with monstrous disabilities and amputations. Worrying reports were highlighted within the media, concerning the lack of rehabilitation efforts, and it was impossible to sit back and do nothing. With the support of The Royal Danish Ballet Foundation, a small group of dancers decided to approach ‘The Copenhagen University Hospital’ with a proposal of offering our help. As well as being elite ballet dancers – my colleague Jessie Lee and I, are also certified Pilates Instructors – and wondered if we could use our expertise as movement specialists, to train the soldiers in Pilates – a biomechanical and anatomic movement system designed to improve motor control and functional movement of the body.

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Jojo Bowman and double amputee Christian Richardson training at The Royal Danish Ballet 2010.Photo by Dimitris Vulalas

 

 

The rather skeptical senior consultant of the Orthopedic Trauma Unit, Finn Warburg – was initially puzzled by our proposal. His concerns were naturally the effects of putting those who had the most difficulties moving around, in the same room as possibly some of the most elegant movers in the world. I made every attempt to dissuade him- throwing anatomical conclusions and biomechanical theories his way and rounded up our meeting by cheekily mentioning that we should never underestimate the value of putting a smile back on their lips…and what better way to do that than bringing them to the Royal Danish Theatre to hang out with Ballerinas in tight leotards!! To my dismay – 4 years later, he still tells that story- whether it be at European conferences, or informal dinners! My brazen comment even made it into his autobiography… However, this meeting led to an incredible affiliation with the Copenhagen University Hospital – not to mention a beautiful friendship with Finn, who has become an irreplaceable ambassador and spokesman for our project ever since.

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Finn Warburg Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon Copenhagen University Hospital/ Rigshospital Trauma Unit, responsible for polytrauma patients and wounded soldiers

 

 

 

 

The Project:

(i)____Training Begins.

Our initial contribution to the wounded soldiers rehabilitation, was based on a more contemporary approach to Pilates based on our own knowledge of being both dancers and movement specialists. We began working with 2 young double amputees. Both A-symmetrically amputated – with a knee disarticulation and high hip disarticulation, of which Denmark had never seen before. We decided to build a temporary neutral base for these guys that was ‘non-medical’ and ‘non-military’ and decided where better than “The Royal Danish Ballet gym,” where they could train alongside dancers. Some people undoubtedly questioned putting these young, newly immobile men into a room with those who are most agile – but we saw an opportunity to bring 2 rather closed worlds together in hope of creating a dynamic and socially challenging environment for both the dancers and the soldiers. Suddenly our task of helping these men “walk again,” was just one part of our long and invigorating journey together.

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Ballet dancer Jojo Bowman and double amputee Christian Richardson. 2010 Copenhagen. Photo by Dimitris Vulalas

 

 

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Pilates Instructor and ex ballet dancer Jessie Lee, training double amputee Mark Peters at The Royal Theatre. Photo by Dimitris Valueless

 

 

 

 

Despite the fact that these 2 young men hadn’t yet taken the step to return to civilian life, the soldiers reported feeling quite at home being surrounded by a familiar sense of discipline and focus, creating a similarity between the dancer’s world and their own. Having emphasized their need to be thought of as “abled” as opposed to “dis – abled” the ‘non-medical’ environment seemed to prove a positive, neutral space to work together. We used the tools and movement sequencing of the pilates system to address the physical challenges, the ingrained ability of a dancer, to ‘feel from the inside out’ to fine tune and eliminate dysfunctional compensatory movement patterns- and last but not least – the natural instincts of a human being, to contribute to healthy communication skills, to promote a sense of self-motivation and by working together towards a “common goal.”

 

(ii)­­­­____International collaboration begins

Our desire to further our knowledge in this field quickly led us to contact world renowned Pilates expert Elizabeth Larkam MS Ed who has over 25 years’ experience in this specialized field. In September 2010, “The Soldier Foundation” supported an invitation for Elizabeth to travel to Denmark to hold a workshop at Copenhagen University Hospital which for the first time in Danish history, gathered wounded soldiers, doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, dancers and military personnel under the same roof. This is where our journey really began and it started to become very apparent that the soldiers we were training were making remarkable progress. The initially skeptical Dr. Warburg who hosted the Workshop reported after the event: “It is not every week you feel your life is brought to a higher level, but the work of the dancing Pilates instructors with our “wounded warriors” and the workshop, indeed made things swing, opening eyes and showing new ways ahead”.

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Workshop at the University Hospital entitled: “Movement Sequences in the Pilates environment to facilitate function and/or gait for polytrauma Patients with prosthitic limb(s), traumatic brain injury and/or vestibular disorders.” Photo by Morten Fredslund

 

 

 

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Figure 8: Elizabeth Larkam MS Ed with single amputee Kristian Nielsen surrounded by Doctors, surgeons, physiotherapists, military personnel and ballet dancers. September 2010, Copenhagen. Photo by Morten Fredslund

 

 

 

Initial Results and discoveries

After the success of the workshop our intake of soldiers doubled and it seemed what began as dancers reaching out to help wounded warriors, had escalated to great heights and over time had created a demand, based on results. It was both our opinion as Pilates instructors and the opinions of the soldiers themselves, that there were improvements in gait patterns, balance, coordination, spine mobility, core control, freedom of movement and self-esteem, as well as a reduction in pain, fatigue and levels of stress amongst the both physically wounded and mentally affected soldiers. None of the soldiers were now dependent on wheel chairs, or reliant on caretakers, friends or family. New life opportunities had opened up, as they were more able- and new goals were opening up before their very eyes.

Doctors, physiotherapists and surgeons also acknowledged the improvements and supported the project with recommendations for further investigation.

Jessie and I continued to keep journals, filming walking and movement sequencing and writing case studies in an attempt to document our findings in any way we could. We were discovering things by trial and error and learning the challenges of for example, working with and without the use of prosthetic limbs, which could often seem restricting.

Having relied on the same movement patterns for their whole lives – suddenly these amputees were faced with a completely new “arrangement” of not only tissues and muscles – but insertions and functions. The ends of their muscles are not simply reinserted to where they once were “pre-blast” – in fact on the contrary. The surgeon leaves the ends of the muscles to find their own paths and re-root themselves in order to leave them with the strongest, and most efficient residual limb. It was therefore essential for us to “recreate” their movement patterns –as opposed to “regaining” them. Each amputee’s movement patterns were therefore different and unique. We were then forced to explore that new territory /arrangement of their muscles and tissues, “post – blast.”

As the soldiers had to learn to walk again, they could no longer rely on the information from their feet, telling their brain where their bodies were in space – now they had to teach their motor cortex to control the flow of information from the “top – downwards.” It was moments like this that continuously reassured us why a system like Pilates was so beneficial for teaching someone to walk again. The emphasis from walking, had to now come from the trunk and transfer down into the pelvis – into the residual limb, and connect into whatever ground force they then had-otherwise they were left with them being ‘an extension of their prosthetics,’ instead of the their prosthetics being ‘an extension of themselves.’

During this stage of the process, we relied very much on our experiences and attributes of being dancers. It is “movement” that drives us not “performance.” We are not focused on “how far one can walk” but “how one walks” – in other words, the course of movement strategies one chooses to arrive there. We spend our entire careers being given a movement that we initially observe – then are able to depict and reproduce into our own bodies by use of the mirror – and eventually have the ability to translate that movement into our own muscle memory before an audience once that mirror is removed, and fine tune it to the last degree. It is with this experience we encourage the soldiers to use their own film footage, to analyze their gait patterns and share with us what they would, or wouldn’t want to change about it. Here we are able to invite them to try different movement strategies, to improve certain aspects of the aesthetics of their gait, and guide them to learn movement from the ‘inside out’ as oppose to the ‘outside in.’

 

U.S. Navy Hospital, San Diego

In the summer of 2011, we were given the incredible opportunity to study with Elizabeth Larkam MS Ed in San Francisco where together we designed new movement sequencing created to improve coordination, neuro-muscular connections, fine motor control skills, strength and balance for standing, walking and running, using the exceptional versatile Pilates apparatus configured to provide optimal biomechanical support for each soldier´s individual training. We were also given the unique opportunity of meeting Michael Podlenski. PTA, ATC physiotherapist and Pilates instructor at U.S. Navy Hospital in San Diego. Michael has been a part of the treating team at “Associated Physical Therapy” since 1987 and as a physical therapist assistant and certified athletic trainer for more than 24 years of experience in orthopedic physical therapy and sports medicine. In the last 4 ½ years, he has worked extensively with amputees and polytrauma patients. The program is part of the center’s department: “Comprehensive Combat and Complex Casualty Care.” Here we saw the integration of Pilates and regular rehabilitation strength training, running side by side and witnessed the US soldiers combine these two complimentary methods as they took steps towards their recovery.

 

Project development: Business hats

This trip to USA gave us endless material and resources and left us with an overwhelming enthusiasm to create an established and professional set up of our own. We were growing tired of the frustrations and restrictions of our voluntary work and decided to strive to meet the demands of being able to provide more resources for the patients that were asking for this training.

It was time for us to hang up our “tutu’s and pointe shoes” and put on our “business hats” in order to enable the soldiers/Polytrauma Patients, the access to the specialized Pilates training, the space to provide it, and the instructors to teach it. With our growing network, we had the unique possibility of creating an International Pilates training and knowledge center for patients with poly-trauma patients, bringing experts directly to our wounded soldiers for workshops, seminars, educational opportunities and to further our research within this specialized field. It was during this time, we learnt more about ‘project design’ and ‘fundraising,’ than we ever imagined possible. We drew from our experiences and were forced to think ahead, formulate and sculpt exactly what it was we were creating.

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

We had primarily set out to contribute to the physically wounded soldiers, although it was becoming apparent that the positive effects were not just improving their physique – but also their psyche. Most of the soldiers we were already working with had some elements of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD) yet were now experiencing less anger and rage and felt calmer in their everyday lives. Interestingly enough, at the time we became aware of this – we received an invitation to teach at a unit which had been created for soldiers who were suffering from PTSD. They had just had their funding revoked and were given only a month to close down the unit. The Captain in charge of the unit had heard about our work and wondered if we could introduce Pilates to the mentally affected soldiers in hope of finding some tools to assist them when they returned to civilian life.

Theoretically, we were convinced we could make some progress with this population. It was very much our impression that trauma affects the entire human organism – body, mind and spirit – and therefore, the whole organism must be engaged in the healing process. Besides our own understanding, common validated research clearly supports that physical activity can reduce symptoms of anxiety, can have a positive effect on psychological stress symptoms, can lower the incidence of depression and furthermore concludes that there may well be a short term effect on clinical depression. Traumatic exposure is also associated with a range of negative sequels affecting both mental and physical health. [2],[3]

Despite the growing recognition of the obvious connections between the body and mind in traumatic stress disorders, few treatments attempt to address both somatic and psychological symptoms. The majority of evidence-based treatments for PTSD adhere to narrative, memory processing, or cognitive reframing approaches that deemphasize the role of the body in the recovery process. As Dr. Bessel van der Kolk explains, many trauma survivors require incorporation of some form of somatically oriented therapy to attain a sense of safety and mastery over bodies that have become highly dysregulated as a result of chronic trauma exposure and adaption. [4] Embracing these theories, we decided once again, to dive into the deep end and take up the challenge of teaching the PTSD group over the duration of a month, with the assistance of military personnel within this field. The success from this work and the intrigue to learn more, opened up new doors and led to the decision for further exploration.

 

Summary of progress: Copenhagen present day

After 4 years of volunteer work, we stand with a key to our new Training and Knowledge Center in our hand. We have raised almost 1 million Danish Crowns to fund and document the training of fifteen soldiers (10 physically wounded and 5 mentally affected) who will undergo weekly training in Pilates for Polytrauma patients, for the duration of about 1 year. Each participant will partake in a carefully designed “intervention protocol” which will allow us to gather and measure both physical and psychological outcomes, so we can draw conclusions from our findings. The instructors will be both national and international experts within this field, encompassing the experience from San Diego Navy Hospital, Walter Reed Hospital (USA), Tel Aviv Pilates Veteran Center (Israel), Headley Court (UK) and the Danish Wounded Warriors Project (Denmark).Our first ever volunteer (double amputee Lance Corporal Christian Richardson), is undergoing his education to make steps towards becoming probably the 1st ever double amputee Pilates Instructor in history. Jessie Lee and I have been named Pioneers in an international collaboration entitled “Heroes in Motion” which is housed under the PMA (Pilates Method Alliance) and will serve as a starting point for the development of this area of work within the profession.

 

http://www.pilatesmethodalliance.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3401 (What is ‘Heroes in Motion?’)

 

 

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Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark presenting the Anders Lassen award to Jojo Bowman and Jessie Lee. April 2012 Photo by Leif Ernst

 

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Jojo Bowman and Jessie Lee are awarded the Medal of the Danish Society for Military Medicine by the Chief of the Defense Health Service General Erik Darre

                

 

 

This has been one of the greatest adventures of my life and in some ways it’s just beginning. Our wish is to be able to continue to train our Danish Wounded Warriors, as well as transferring our finely tuned training programs to severely injured civilians, using the same principles of treatment. The incredible people I have come across during my short 4 year journey, is overwhelming- and I feel completely privileged to have had the honor of sharing these brave, young people’s personal journeys of rehabilitation.

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Jojo Bowman and double amputee Martin Aaholm dancing in The Royal Danish Ballets War-Ballet “Contact” June 2014 Photo by Malcolm Brabant

 

 

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Esther Lee and Martin Aaholm photo by Soren Starbird

 

 

 

 

 

Case Studies:

 

Special Forces soldier’s Testimonial supporting the Danish Wounded Warriors Project

Name: Jonas Mikael

Age: 29 yrs

Occupation: Special Forces Soldier since 2003.

“Having survived 3½ years of the most intense and ultra-rigorous training regime to qualify to be a Special Forces Soldier – I would have imagined I knew everything there was to know about physical training and body awareness. Pushing boundaries became a way of life and self -discipline an unquestioned commitment.

After 6 deployments to Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, my life took a disastrous turn for the worse, when I was shot. A bullet tore through my left thigh and exited through the gluteus, severing 90% of my sciatic nerve.

After surgery, the Doctors were far from positive and said it was likely that my left leg would be permanently paralyzed, as the remaining 10% of the nerve was not functioning. I was given a 2 year window of time for possible improvement of nerve regeneration- and so began my grueling journey of rehabilitation.

As I saw those next 2 long years draw to an end – I entered into the darkest places imaginable. Having exhausted every hope of treatment ranging from physiotherapy, osteopathy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic’s, hypnotism as well as alternative medications – walking was still a struggle and the excruciating pain of weight bearing on my left foot, was the equivalent of standing on 10 razor blades. physio’s suddenly diagnosed a mysterious and unexplainable leg length discrepancy of 1½cm and I was seriously considering amputation as a last form of pain relief. The realization hit me, that this chronic pain and complete disassociation with my left leg, could be my only way of existence from this day forth.

It was that summer that I heard about The Royal Danish Ballet Foundation’s initiative, to train wounded soldiers in Pilates, and my life as I knew it – changed forever.

I was instantly drawn to the adrenaline high of the intense focus and flow of the Pilates environment. I was equally horrified at the complete total inability I had to connect my body as a ‘whole unit.’ I had only experienced working on isolating the training of muscles in order to obtain strength, and to suddenly see my body as ‘one force,’ stabilizing, supporting, coordinating and connecting – was the most overwhelming and empowering realization. I was blown away by the instructor’s ability to read my posture and gait patterns, to constantly alter my training needs and reinvent material adaptable to my personal injury, as well as fine tune the path forward and experience movement in the most fundamental and functional way possible.

After only a year of training, my so called “leg length discrepancy” was eliminated and my compensatory patterns had subsided. My complete body awareness and motivation led me to reconnect to my left leg and learn to not only accept it, but also work with it not against it, which was a revelation in my road to recovery. I saw a new “whole” person in the mirror looking back at me. My lower back pain had diminished and together with the instructors, had managed to go from training in running shoes- to bare feet. We trusted in each other to test the neurological waters so to speak, and gently introduced different textures and surfaces to stand on – initially non- weight bearing. Against all medical odds, we were therefore able to control the “pain volume” if you like, to reconnect the brain and the high sensitivity in the sole of my foot.

One of the key elements to my new found self was through breathing. One would expect with my elite training in diving and swimming within the Navy, that my techniques in breathing, would have been an obvious resource that I could have put to good use during my initial rehab. However, when I look back and ask myself that very question, I realize that my mind was so overpowered by the intense pain I experienced on a daily basis, not to mention the frustrations and inabilities to function as I once did, that it had almost gone into ‘shut down mode.’

4 years on, I experience a total mind/body connection and can translate that into my daily activities. I have just begun studying psychology and use breathing techniques to allow concentration, to obtain full open mindedness, and to relieve frustration if I am unable to do things as fast or as well as I did before my accident. My breath can quite simply tell me if I am in the most optimal position to experience movement correctly. It’s as if alarm bells sound if the breathing and movement doesn’t flow in a familiar way.

Pilates has given me the gift of experiencing movement as a source of pleasure and competence – rather than pain and without it I would be a different person than I am today.

 

Testimonial 2

Name: Mark Peters
Age: 29 yrs
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation: Corporal in the Danish Army since 2001
Deployments: Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan
Condition: Double amputation, missing left thumb and destroyed middle finger.

When I was approached by the Pilates instructors from The Royal Danish Ballet, I couldn’t help being a little skeptical. I couldn’t possibly imagine what Pilates training could do for me…I soon ate my words!

I am a 29 year old soldier, who after 11 years in the Army, was hit by a buried road side bomb (IED) in Afghanistan, losing both my legs, my thumb and destroying my middle finger. In a split second, every dream I had was shattered, and a new destiny lay before me as I began my life as a double amputee.

As a soldier, it was second nature to me to work on the big global muscles. I spent hour upon hour pumping iron and working on my biceps and pecs in almost a body builder-type fashion. My automatic response after my injury was to try to pick up from where I left off, but suddenly it didn’t seem to make sense anymore. Everything seemed upside down and I had to start learning to walk from scratch. My hospital rehab mostly consisted of getting up on my prosthetics and ‘walking, walking and walking,’ without an awful lot of understanding as to “how to walk”.

I began training in Pilates in the summer of 2010. I was still living in the hospital and was pretty much wheelchair-bound. Initially, it was very hard to dig down past the superficial muscles and tune into the deep stabilizing muscles, but I soon realized that I was onto something when the day after training I had aching muscles – muscles that I didn’t even know existed! With the instructor’s guidance, we found an individual program that really delved deep into the elements of gait. We were able to begin with non-weight bearing exercises, so that I had a chance to figure out the movement patterns, without the complications of balance issues as well.

One of the biggest challenges for me was to encourage the brain/body connection. My body had always ‘just worked.’ I never had had to stop and question ‘how’ I did a movement. I had always been a fit guy and had never endured an injury before. I had always received information from my “feet to my brain” to tell me where my legs were in space. Now I was faced with the challenge of reversing this information flow. In my Pilates training we focused a lot on this, and through my breathing and awareness of my body I was soon able to control the direction of the information flow to quite a big degree. The instructors also really helped me to explore my muscles’ “arrangement”, as they called it. My “post blast” set up of muscle insertions were unique to any other person, and we therefore had to start over with exploring this new arrangement and learn not to “regain” my old movement patterns – but quite simply to “recreate” them!

Gaining control over my body seemed to improve by the day. Simple tasks such as balancing long enough to zip up my coat, or putting on my gloves, which a few month back were an impossibility, were suddenly a reality. The doctors had told me that I may never walk with my type of amputation, and here I am 3 years on climbing stairs, driving a car and having a job. My walk is smoother and my posture and alignment unrecognizable.

It gives a certain pride that these ballet dancers/Pilates instructors have chosen to spend their free time and effort on helping us. What an amazing initiative they have taken.

 

 

Literature/References:

  • Coalition casualties in Afghanistan. Wikipedia.
  • Sundhedsstyrelsen Fysisk aktivitet-håndbog om forebyggelse og behandling
  • Scand J Med Sci Sports 2014: 24: 259-272 doi: 10.1111/sms.12050
  • Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 2011 17: 431 originally published online 25 August 2011 DOI:10.1177/1078390311418359

Project related links:

  • http://vimeo.com/50721671 A documentary short following the Pilates rehabilitation of severely injured Danish soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. Royal Danish Ballet dancer Jojo Bowman and Pilates instructor Jessie Lee taught the soldiers, using facilities at The Royal Danish Theatre.
    A film by: Dimitris Vulalas(3 mins 55)
  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304760604576427471519502358.htmlArticle in The Wall Street Journal by Natalia Rachlin
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNZEmd7GlTIInterview with Jojo Bowman for Heroes in Motion
  • http://www.dw.de/dancing-with-the-wounds-of-war/a-17648060 Royal Danish Ballet create a performance entitled “contact” where they invite 3 injured war veterans on stage to share their stories.

 

 

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***JoJo Bowman and Jessie Lee Norfolk have also incorporated the SmartSpine System in their lesson and treatment protocol.