Dystonia is defined as a movement disorder which causes involuntary muscle contractions and spasms.
Focal dystonia may affect muscles of the eyes, mouth, vocal cords, neck, hands, and feet.
Types of focal dystonia include:
Athletes Dystonia / Yips
DR. FARIAS' NEUROPLASTIC TRAINING
Joaquín Farias is a leading specialist in neuropsychological rehabilitation in focal dystonias, biomechanist, ergonomist, psychosociologist, musician, martial arts instructor, shiatsu therapist, traveller, researcher and advocate for a patients's right to receive the least aggressive treatment available. Read Full Biography
Since 1996, he has been working on providing effective alternative and complementary care for patients affected by Dystonia revolutionizing the thinking behind the concepts of focal dystonia.
Dr. Farias has opened new fields of thought in comprehending the neuroplastic processes involved in movement training. He has brought to the table the concept that people who are affected by dystonia are also affected by agnosia and specific task-related amnesias. He points out in his work that by giving specific attention to these agnosias and amnesias reeducation effectiveness is boosted.
His work takes into consideration the connections between emotions and movement and pays special attention to the role that rhythm and timing play in movement coordination.
He considers that the term focal dystonia does not accurately describe the reality that these patients encounter. He has coined a new term for the phenomena which is Movement Confusion Disorder, because he believes it more precisely encompasses the mechanics at play in the brain.
He considers Dystonia to be a temporary lack or loss of accuracy and precision in brain activity. For this reason Dr. Farias Neuroplastic training aims to retune the brain and restore proper function of cognitive processes, perception and motor functions.
This new vision of what is implied by the phenomena of dystonia has allowed him to achieve unprecedented improvements and recoveries in patients affected by Musicians' Dystonia, Writers’ Cramp, Blepharospasms, Athletes’ Dystonias/ Yips, Surgeons' Dystonia, Cervical Dystonia and Ankle Dystonia.
Dr. Farias’ theory is to consider muscle spasms and tremors as logical and meaningful reactions by the human body. He has classified the different reactions observed and has linked them to different meanings by the body. He considers that spasms respond to unconscious defense patterns that follow a predetermined sequence which was programmed in the past. He believes that this sequence can be analyzed and dismantled sequentially.
Dr. Farias has developed a system to induce neuroplastic changes in the brain in less than 15 minutes. This unmasking of silent neural pathways in the brain so rapidly has challenged the mainstream thinking about the possibilities that retraining has to bring about actual changes in the structure and function of the brain.
Dr. Farias’ neuroplastic retraining is based on the remembering of lost functions as a way of reinstalling them. For this reason Dr. Farias first referred to his method as the art of remembering. In his opinion patients affected by dystonia live trapped in a brain loop that actualizes memories of erroneous movements. In order to break the loop, it is necessary to make a regression to the original memories of the proper motion rescuing and using them to regenerate functional neural pathways.
fMRI images have shown that after completing the training, normal cortical activity in the brains of patients was restored.
The fMRI below shows intense activity in the motor and sensory cortex of both hemispheres when a person tried to move his right-hand fingers and wrist exhibiting involuntary dystonic movements.
NORMALIZATION OF ACTIVITY AFTER RETRAINING
The person was asked to perform the same motion as in the first fMRI (above). This time he was able to perform it with the very same accuracy that he did prior to the onset of dystonia.
The image obtained during this action (below) shows less cortical area activity and does not show bilateral (both hemispheres) activation. This image corresponds to the expected image for this movement in a healthy subject.
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