Article first published “PEI Living Magazine” Winter 2017.
Written by Louise Campbell Wordsmith.
Lorrie Jollimore always thought she would be a teacher. As her graphic design career blossomed, however, it seemed unlikely. And then everything changed!
Lorrie’s interest in neuroscience started when her daughter was diagnosed at 11 months with Cerebral Palsy, resulting from a brain injury at birth. Seven months later, Lorrie became aware of Anat Baniel Method® (ABM) NeuroMovement®. Endorsed by Neuroscientist Dr. Michael Merzenich, the father of brain plasticity, NeuroMovement relies on movement and awareness to develop, enhance or build or restore function.
This interest led Lorrie to a major career change, and she did begin to teach — but her classroom, students and lesson plans were not anything like she expected. Lorrie became certified as an Anat Baniel Method Practitioner (ABMP) by studying at the ABM Center in San Rafael, California. This rigorous training program attracts aspiring practitioners from around the world.
“We use words such as teacher, lesson, and student to emphasize that NeuroMovement is about learning, not therapy,” said Lorrie, now one of only two ABM-trained NeuroMovement teachers in the Maritimes. “The learning is based on the brain and the body connected as one. The brain learns through movement and movement is impossible without the brain.”
Normally a baby’s nervous system intelligently maps movements into its brain so they become natural. Babies born with physical impairments are unable to do this mapping; however, through NeuroMovement, the infant learns and maps ideal movement.
Four-month-old William, a premature twin born with a neurological disorder, was trying to move his body using his neck only, causing painful spasms. Through gentle movements, Lorrie is helping him map connections between his brain and body and he is now moving his arms, legs, back and pelvis.
“He is less spastic and doesn’t arch as much, and sleeps through the night,” reports his mother Emily. “He coos, reacts to sounds, smiles – and has really come to life.”
Bathurst, NB, mother Anna credits NeuroMovement with her daughter Rowan’s improved speech. While addressing physical limitations, Lorrie began incorporating different sounds into lessons and the girl started distinguishing between them and using them to form words. Continuing speech work has led to an increased vocabulary and a boost in the girl’s self-confidence.
NeuroMovement increases range of motion and decreases – or even eliminates – chronic pain in adults and can help restore function following a stroke.
Due to a motor vehicle accident, Lorrie’s student Paula had lived in pain for more than 25 years, prematurely giving up her nursing career. After trying acupuncture, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments, she finally got pain relief from NeuroMovement lessons.
“I began to feel different right away. Lorrie gently worked with my legs and hips, ‘showing’ my brain what movements could be done. That night, for the first time in many years, I was able to swing my right hip into bed smoothly and without pain,” said Paula. “Through ideal movements, my neural network learned different patterns and possibilities, allowing my body to start healing itself.”
Despite intense physiotherapy, stroke survivor Carol was left with a spastic left hand and an inability to walk on her left heel. Through lessons with Lorrie, eight years after the stroke, Carol remapped her left body and ultimately achieved her goal of walking confidently on the grass for her daughter’s outdoor wedding.
Lorrie is thrilled with her new career and continues to be amazed at the results of her lessons. She operates Movement and Vitality in Charlottetown – and her daughter happily runs with her friends.