Focal Dystonia Retraining

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
ronjazz
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Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by ronjazz » Fri Nov 13, 2015 9:42 am

I've seen evidence of dystonia causing double posts.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

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Blondie
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Location: Devon, UK

Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by Blondie » Fri Nov 13, 2015 10:01 am

Ha ha you're right, sometimes this forum seems to have dystonia. :)

guit-box
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Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by guit-box » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:23 pm

People like Joaquin Farias in Toronto have had huge success coaching people with FD ('treatment' and 'cure' are inappropriate terms) and his site includes testimonials from (named) instrumentalists all over the world, several of which hold key orchestral positions.
I went to the website you mention and couldn't find the specific names. Please post their names, instrument and website. I'd like to contact them and hear their stories and watch videos of them playing.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation told me that they repeatedly asked Joaquin Farias to offer specific paperwork regarding his research that could verify the scientific validity of his treatments and results -- they received nothing. They told me as far as they know the only thing Farias has succeeded at was emptying wallets. Of course it doesn't mean his treatments don't work, but it certainly casts a very dark shadow. Who are you going to believe? Some random unnamed persons on a forum on the internet or the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation?
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Blondie
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Location: Devon, UK

Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by Blondie » Fri Nov 13, 2015 4:22 pm

guit-box wrote: I went to the website you mention and couldn't find the specific names. Please post their names, instrument and website. I'd like to contact them and hear their stories and watch videos of them playing.
I see his website has been redesigned, there are some testimonials there but not nearly the amount there used to be:
http://www.fariastechnique.com/testimon ... -dystonia/

Gustavo Mulé, Violin. National Symphony Orchestra. Argentina: you can start with him.

I specifically recall orchestral musicians who provided the music for big film productions like Avatar, Titanic and others, leading violinists and such.

He also posts videos on his Facebook Page, some named people there:
https://www.facebook.com/joaquin.Farias ... ng?fref=ts
guit-box wrote: The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation told me that they repeatedly asked Joaquin Farias to offer specific paperwork regarding his research that could verify the scientific validity of his treatments and results -- they received nothing. They told me as far as they know the only thing Farias has succeeded at was emptying wallets. Of course it doesn't mean his treatments don't work, but it certainly casts a very dark shadow. Who are you going to believe? Some random unnamed persons on a forum on the internet or the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation?
Well none of the people I was thinking off are random and un-named. On the Facebook group I mentioned his name comes up more than any other, I have read dozens of positive testimonials from (named) musicians all over the world. Its not anonymous group.

Eric for example, who nearly had his career finished due to FD and is now recording again:
http://flamencoseattle.com/ Ask him yourself, I'm sure he'll be happy to give you details.

If you like I can ask for volunteers on the group who don't mind being contacted by you to verify their claims about Farias - would that help?

Farias' training approach is basically targeted exercises plus some targeted psychology. Given that there is no specific method as such, there is nothing repeatable that you can test under lab conditions and write a paper about, the advice varies according to the individual.

The DMRF Bulletin Board are tied to beliefs - FD is some kind of creeping brain disease like parkinsons, uncurable, no hope. I remember that disgraceful 'wallet emptying' quote that Estrin put on the board about Farias - and where's HIS evidence to back that up?

Check out what Norman Doidge, MD, has to say about Farias before you swallow what Glen Estrin has to say:
"I think that Dr. Farias is a kind of clinical genius in his work with the dystonias. I believe, as time evolves, it will be clear that his work is of historical importance."

Who are you going to believe? Psychiatrist, researcher and leading authority on neuroplasticity or a failed french horn player?

oriventura
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Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by oriventura » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:16 am

guit-box wrote:
People like Joaquin Farias in Toronto have had huge success coaching people with FD ('treatment' and 'cure' are inappropriate terms) and his site includes testimonials from (named) instrumentalists all over the world, several of which hold key orchestral positions.
I went to the website you mention and couldn't find the specific names. Please post their names, instrument and website. I'd like to contact them and hear their stories and watch videos of them playing.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation told me that they repeatedly asked Joaquin Farias to offer specific paperwork regarding his research that could verify the scientific validity of his treatments and results -- they received nothing. They told me as far as they know the only thing Farias has succeeded at was emptying wallets. Of course it doesn't mean his treatments don't work, but it certainly casts a very dark shadow. Who are you going to believe? Some random unnamed persons on a forum on the internet or the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation?
Hi guit-box, my name is Ori, I'm from Israel and doing the therapy of Institutart from Terrassa for 5 months exactly. I can attest my playing is WORLDS better and it keeps getting better every month. From time to time I post videos on Musician's with Focal Dystonia group in facebook. On youtube you can also see videos of Katerina (guitar player from greece) and Marco de biasi who recovered. It's a fairly simple treatment but if you are patience and sticking with it it works. I also spoke directly with Katerina and she told me she has no trace of dystonia what so ever and she even barely remembers how her treatment developed since it was 3 years ago, for her dystonia is just some fading memory from the past.

guit-box
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Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by guit-box » Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:55 pm

Thanks for your posts about players who have recovered and your experience with this specific practitioner. I'm interested in hearing details about what you have been doing to recover--please share details if you are willing. Before anyone says it's specific to the individual and wouldn't do anyone else any good, I know, I've heard that said many times, but I'm still interested in individual specifics that people used to recover and appreciate hearing about *all* the minutiae from players who have returned to playing professionally. You can post youtube videos here. I will check out the Facebook focal dystonia page if there's anything like this posted. Before and after videos are less interesting to me, I'd like to see specific retraining videos and techniques.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

guit-box
Posts: 1379
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Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by guit-box » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:02 pm

Is the Facebook group called: Musician´s Focal Dystonia Recovery is Possible? That's the only one I could find and it looks limited to a couple posts from electric guitarists. Please post a link to the page if this is not the one.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

oriventura
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by oriventura » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:59 pm


oriventura
Posts: 81
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:46 pm

Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by oriventura » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:02 pm

in terrassa they build you a splint for the hand that you can "freeze" the finger/s you want. And you are doing everyday set of a few ex. like playing only with m and i while a an pinky are frozen, etc. in this link, under "treatment" you can see pictures of how it looks like (press on the pics to zoom them): http://www.fcart.org/distonia/english/

ronjazz
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Re: Focal Dystonia Retraining

Post by ronjazz » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:57 pm

Guit-box, I have a few observations about FD retraining. I was stricken in August of 2001, overnight. Analysis shows that I was trying too hard to achieve a flamenco picado at the speed of Paco de Lucia, and that is most likely what led to my condition, since I allowed enormous tension to build up. I was able to record another CD in 2004, but shortly after that, my condition got worse. 3 or 4 years ago I saw articles by Jerald Harscher, and decided to give him a try, since he was within a 2-hour commute of my home, and I figured, correctly, that I could do face-to-face interspersed with Skype sessions.

I found Jerald to be a good diagnostician, and well-versed in the current literature and research on FD, as well as having studied with Shearer, and he had also gone through FD and recovered. Unfortunately for me, Jerald is very gentle and laid-back, so I didn't really take him very seriously for the first couple of years. I did what he suggested but also what I thought would work, and made very slow progress. It wasn't until I realized that I should pay very strict attention to him that my recovery pace really picked up. Since that realization, I have worked studiously in the Shearer "Learning the Classic Guitar", starting at the beginning with thumb exercises and studies, and moving through each and every instruction in book 1 to the musical examples in bk 2, while following Jerald and Shearer's instructions to the letter. The results are indisputable: I have little or no dystonic movement or spasms, and I can play whatever I like, as long as it's V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W and I increase the metronome rates very gradually. This has been a great relief, if somewhat frustrating; I can feel and hear improvement EVERY DAY, yet must resist the temptation to play at even moderate tempi until specific movement forms are easy to do well. I find it most interesting that the great 19th century teachers Sor, Aguado and Giuliani all have basically the same approach as Shearer: start with the thumb, then add individual digits, then combinations. I have added to the Shearer books Chris Berg's wonderful "Technique and Essence", which builds on the Shearer stuff and is even more insightful, and has been a great help in achieving my recovery.

At one point, I tried various splints and external aids, but Jerald pointed out that learning to walk with crutches was probably not the best way, and that if I played slowly enough, I could train my brain to do what was needed without artificial means. This makes sense because FD is a neurological problem, not a physical one, and all of the solutions reside in the brain's body maps, which have been corrupted by poor techniques. FD retraining has less to do with the fingers than with the brain, as far as I can tell, and the slow practice of simple movements remaps the brain to great effect. I have every confidence that I will return to my previous technical level (which was high enough to win competitions and get recording contracts) and move beyond that, if I live long enough. I do know that in the past 2 months alone, I have recovered many techniques that I thought were gone, and i see no end in sight.

Having said all of that, one must have the luxury of being able to practice several hours a day, 6 days a week. I have developed a rather monastic lifestyle in order to do this and maintain a professional performing career: up very early, 3-4 hours between 5:30AM and noon, lunch, business, another hour of practice, off to gigs. I log each day's session, and plan each week's regimen so that I can determine my progress or lack of same. There is much more to this, but I'll stop here for the time being.
Lester Devoe Flamenco Negra
Lester Devoe Flamenco Blanca
Aparicio Flamenco Blanca with RMC pickup
Bartolex 7-string with RMC pickup
Giannini 7-string with Shadow pickup
Sal Pace 7-string archtop

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