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Pat Grocott

Off the floor – ARNI Training 5 weeks

Since my stroke in Dec 06, the need to improve and sustain a reasonably adjusted life has been foremost in my life. The need NOT to be totally dependant on the wheelchair, the need to make my hand semi functional, and the desperation to try and gain some independence. I decided to go ahead and seek more help by asking Dr Tom Balchin of ARNI to recommend an Instructor.

Sally Furnell, a trained Personal Trainer with lots of experience in helping people with various disabilities came to my rescue. She is now a trained ARNI Instructor and yesterday was my fifth session. With the full knowledge of my physio in hospital, my training programme with ARNI and the hospital physio is paying dividends. One of my bedrooms looks like a mini gym. I have a Pilates Swiss ball where I have balance exercises to do, a tubing hung over the door to do exercises to build up biceps/triceps muscles, and due to severe muscle wastage on my legs, lots of muscle strengthening exercises. One of the main aims of ARNI is to get off the floor, using leg muscles of the good leg, with the assistance of the good arm. It was so difficult. Sally ends her session with floor work, getting on the floor without holding on and ends the session with getting off the floor without holding on.

The first 3 sessions were a nightmare. Most strokees are afraid of getting on the floor, understandably. Yesterday 5the session Sally did lots of stretching exercises. I’m flexible and she stretched the ham strings by lifting my leg (good and stroked) 90 degrees. She stretched the gluteus muscles and the Quads. With patience, and using every breath, I got off the floor without hanging on to Sally. I was stunned.

Sally/ARNI is a godsend and although its going to be long term, I can see some light at the end of this dark tunnel. I have fears all the time. High tone in foot, big toe clawing, wobbly walking, weak arm etc etc all the challenges the befall a strokee. Tom Balchin, suffered a stroke 10 yrs ago, is a martial arts grand master and he uses martial arts techniques to train strokees. I do lots of exercises to strengthen leg muscles but on Sally’s (ARNI Trainer) recommendation, she suggested I drink a Whey Protein drink daily to assist muscle build. Sally is a qualified nutritionist so have just ordered some. Went to physio this morning 8am to do circuit session with 5 other people. The physio gym has a machine called a Balance Master for assisting core stability and helps to strengthen ankles. Another 8am session with physio to do arm exercises.

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