How Do You Make Dystonia Disappear? Madonna!

When all else fails and you long to be
Something better than you are today
I know a place where you can get away
It’s called a dance floor, and here’s what it’s for, so

Come on, vogue
Let your body move to the music
– Madonna, “Vogue

There’s a story on The Globe and Mail that everyone affected by dystonia should read, but here’s the quick rundown:

  • In 2007, journalist Federico Bitti was diagnosed with focal dystonia – a neurological disorder that results in involuntary contractions of the muscles
  • Over time, he had trouble driving, sitting on a chair, drinking from a glass, and walking. Three months after the onset of his symptoms, Bitti had to stop working
  • Over the next seven years, he tried various forms of treatment, including:
    • Botox injections, which are intended to paralyze the affected muscles
    • Benzodiazepines, which are intended to relax the affected muscles
    • Anticholinergics, which affect signals from the nervous system

Unfortunately, Bitti didn’t have much success with any of those treatments

But here’s the cool thing about the story: Using his knack for research, Bitti discovered Joaquin Farias’s Intertwined: How to Induce Neuroplasticity. He became fascinated with Farias’s approach to retraining the brain and decided to contact him.


Bitti began training with Farias for 90 minutes a day, six days a week, over six weeks. And then one day, as Bitti was leaving his session, Madonna’s “Vogue” started playing on his iPod and he noticed that his walking improved. He told Farias about the experience and music was added to the training sessions.

According to Bitti, “the results were immediate and impressive.”

If he was dancing, he could move his neck and shoulders without complication. But perhaps more impressive was the fact that when he “struck a pose” he could remain still.

Bitti knows he’s not cured, but perhaps he’s stumbled upon a new approach to therapy that can help others with dystonia.

“With my new awareness,” he says, “new movements are coming up naturally.”

James Ernest Cassady

James Ernest Cassady

Though "Ernest" is a family name that's been passed down for generations, James truly earned his middle moniker when, at the age of five, he told his mother that "laughing is stupid unless EVERYBODY is happy." Since then, the serious little bastard has been on a mission to highlight the world's shortcomings (and hopefully correct them). In addition to his volunteer work at hospitals and animal shelters, James also enjoys documentaries and the work of William Faulkner. He is originally from Oklahoma.

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