My Moving To Heal Experience- By Karla Siebe

Today I would like to share with you this testimonial written by Nia blue belt, Karla Siebe. She writes about the benefits of the Nia Moving To Heal Program, and how it affected her personally.

This post was originally published on the NiaNow website.


Moving To Heal was an exceptionally positive experience for me.

I have been struggling with a left-arm injury, now diagnosed as a rotator cuff injury. I had breast cancer the year prior and had undergone a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. I suspect the rotator cuff issue happened when I overused my arm painting my house and dancing energetically, without taking care to build up the damaged tissue prior to rigorous exercise.

When I took Moving To Heal, I had put one session of physical therapy behind me. They had given me a few movements to ensure that I didn’t get a frozen shoulder, but no more. Meanwhile, I could not perform simple movements such as putting on a coat or shelving dishes without a lightning strike of pain.

I was incredibly discouraged and disheartened. I was honestly terrified that I would not heal enough to cross country ski that winter, or continue my path in learning to teach Nia. I went to the class thoroughly expecting to dance with my left arm hanging limply by my side, believing perhaps that would be the best I could do. In a couple of Nia classes, I had actually tied my arm to my waist, but dancing wasn’t fun that way.

Moving to Heal Class

The class began with simple walks and movements designed to get me to feel my body. As my body loosened up, I felt a real need to move my arm, but the activity still hurt. Feeling safe, thanks to Pauline’s encouragement and the knowledge from everyone in the class, I started to gently rock my left arm by supporting it with my right hand. Soon, the rocking turned to broad arcs, and then it turned into full-on port-de-bras, using my right arm as a support. For the next half hour I danced pain-free with both arms, but never asking my injured arm to do any work!

As I drove home after class, I realized the dull ache in my upper left arm, that had become a constant in my life, was completely gone. In fact, it was replaced by a feeling of warmth and looseness.

I had a physical therapy session that same afternoon. My PT was stunned by the mobility my arm had gained. I had 100% mobility as long as I didn’t require the muscle to work. There was no better treatment than the Moving to Heal class. I leapt ahead in my exercises to movements designed to strengthen all the supporting muscles in the area; so as I heal I will have enough stability to support my mobility.

My arm is well on its way to 100% recovery. I have been to a few regular Nia classes where I have used the same technique to support my arm as I move it. Realistically, some of the movements are too fast, and I’m unable to give my arm the same gentle support that came from Moving To Heal. I am diligently doing my physical therapy, looking forward to the ski season and re-entering the Nia world as a substitute teacher. I credit Moving To Heal for giving me the boost to know that I WOULD heal, as well as the mobility needed to ensure the quickest recovery possible.

I would recommend Moving To Heal to friends and family. I can easily imagine a Moving to Heal curriculum as a prescribed protocol endorsed by the medical community.

By: Karla Siebe, Nia Blue Belt

Photo by Erline Van Hijfte


You can find Nia Moving To Heal at Emerald City Judo in Redmond on Fridays at noon with Pauline Osborne.

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