During the introduction course at the VHS I got one indivual lesson and learned enough to decide I would give it a try with the teacher who had done the course.
Starting the week after that course, I was working in Luxembourg and had to fly there every week (Monday in, Friday back) so it was not possible to do any kind of intensive "treatment" as is normally advised at the begining of the use of A.T. (and almost any other method or "treatment" - even if A.T. is not a treatment but a movement re-education method).
I could at most have a weekly hour and not even every week so it was almost 6 months before I completed my first 10 "lessons".
The first 2 or 3 lessons helped me discover new pains because many movements or positions I carefully avoided for many year in fear I would get pains were now possible with the encouragement and guidance of the A.T. teacher.
These were however the kind of pains resulting from activating muscles which were not used to move, at most similar to the pains one knows from "after sport" and not the kind of intense deep pain I was used to suffer in the lower back and I eagerly accepted these new pains and experiences.
The first months in Luxembourg were not much different from before except that I had learned to keep moving instead of blocking myself: when in pain instead of sitting rigidly and avoid any further movement I would get up and walk as I had learned to walk with the A.T. teacher... and my colleagues got used to my strange habit of wallking up and down (inside the meeting room) while all others sat quietly during our frequent meetings (I actually did nothing more then sit at meetings those days!...)
At one time I even changed rooms in the hotel because I had been given a room which was too far from the entrance and from the dining room and, at the time, walking 50 meters less made indeed a big difference for me!...
I could naturally walk (but not more then 5 minutes without a pause, which was seen by the doctor as a normal situation cnosidering my back problem) but walking 50 meter more to get from the sleeping room to the dinning room was a needless big effort (today I enjoy walking like a child who has a new toy) and did all I could to avoid walking if I did not absolutely needed it, although I did eventually start to go out occasionally for a little walk when the back tension was stronger.
After one or two months in Luxembourg (and after 3 or 4 lessons), the first real miracle happened: after lunch, during one of those walks I took outside as an alternative to sitting rigidly and swallow my pain, I actually felt the absence of pain. Pain had been my companion for years now, it was never absent, only sometimes strong and sometimes easier to handle, but never absent, specially in the last years (6, 10 years? the frequency grew slowly and I got slowly used to it, so I did not exactly notice when it became perrmanent, but at least the last 6 years it had been a permanent companion, probably a lot more).
These walks were still always limited to 5, sometimes rarely 10 minutes.
This time I did not take longer but after the first 50 meters walking with the "length, width, lightness" I had learned in the A.T. lessons, I noticed the "absence of pain".
I remember the street, the sidewallk, the way the Sun was shinning!...
These first 5 minutes were a real miracle and changed my life: until then I saw A.T. only as a way to "learn to live with" my pains.
I had never expected more then "getting along better with my pains".
As far as I knew my back problem was there since I was born, got worse due to false habits in my young years, causing scoliosis, but there was no way to correct it, all I could do was to be carefull and avoid that it could get worse.
To actually feel the absence of pain was something I had never expected would happen!!!
Please send any comments to António Guerreiro. Last updated on 08.02.2004.