Lavinia Magliocco is a terrific bodyworker, Pilates teacher and artist. She is a compassionate soul, full of passion and empathy. She is passing through a though year: before the fire in her Pilates Studio and now a lower back pain -surgery will be needed – and of course dealing with the health-care system in the States. I am asking her both specific and general questions because I’ve never met such a strong and delicate creature and I truly believe she could enlighten us in term of what is happening in America, and in term of understanding the importance to live inside our hearts, in our bodies and observe our minds. And those aspects are not related to nationality in any way.
Lavinia Magliocco è una bodyworker straordinaria, insegnante di Pilates e artista. Anima piena di empatia, piena di passione. Il suo ultimo anno è stato alquanto duro: prima l’incendio nel suo studio di Pilates e ora una intervento alla zona lombare, con tutto quel che implica dal punto di vista assicurativo negli Stati Uniti. Troverete domande specifiche e generiche a questa creatura delicata e forte come poche io ne abbia mai incontrate
Filo_Fluido: Very briefly, what about your lower back diagnosis?
Lavinia Magliocco: Large L5-S1 disc extrusion that is pressing on the nerve root and which causes pain in R buttock, hamstring, TFL, as well as numbness and disfunction of Flexor Hallucis Longus.
Filo_Fluido: What is happening now in term of surgeon’s fee?
How does it work, what do you have to pay?
Lavinia Magliocco: Each entity charges: hospital; imaging; doctor who reads the image; surgeon; anesthesiologist – so all these separate entities charge their fee and that goes through insurance. The insurance I buy, which I pay a monthly fee of $800 now, has a $2,500 deductible an co-pay and a $5,700 per year Out of Pocket maximum. What this means is that on top of the monthly fee, until I have paid my share of $2,500 of bills, plus a percentage of bills until I reach a maximum out of Pocket of $5,700, the insurance doesn’t kick in. This is a standard Insurance contract in the USA. Oh – and this doesn’t include dental or eyes, for which I have no insurance.
Filo_Fluido: Can you give an advice for people living in America in term of health?
Lavinia Magliocco: Don’t get sick. Sarcasm aside, the older you get, the more expensive insurance becomes, and the more it costs to be sick. Until you have Medicaid. But then, some things aren’t covered, so I really have no advice because the entire situation is Una Merda.
Filo_Fluido: What did you understand so far about the relationship between spine and extremities and which habit would you suggest to keep the waves of the back in harmony?
Lavinia Magliocco: See my answer below. What could human beings learn from animals? I think a better question to ask is what can we learn from children? In the course of 24 hours, a very young child will move in all planes of movement, will be sitting, standing, on their belly, on their back, on their side, running, reaching, bending, everything possible. And this is what we need to do for ourselves as we age. We need to express every possible movement potential in order to maintain our inherent mobility and to keep, as you put it, the back waves in harmony. In each session with a client, I will make sure that I cover every plane of movement.
Filo_Fluido: Can you give and advice for young people living in America or Europe in term of general mental health and body health?
Lavinia Magliocco: America and Europe are very different in their attitudes. In America we suffer from a Calvinistic view which has been absorbed and re-expressed in New Age jargon, but is essentially the same: It is the view that Health is a reward for Goodness, and ascribes blame for ill health, sees it as a moral failing in the same way that poverty is seen as a result of poor choices and habits. To whit, in 2017, Republican Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks said “People who lead good lives don’t have pre-existing conditions.” (See my Youtube Performance Art video on my channel, Lavinia Magliocco) New Age Self Help gurus simply express it as Positive Thinking and as “You create your own reality,” and other seductive mis-apprehensions of how Life actually works. It’s not that we don’t influence our health – of course we do! And eating well, exercising, not smoking, all these things are good to do. But they will not make you immune to shit happening.
There are infinite factors, the majority of which we will never know, which leads me to why asking “WHY” is such a dead-end question. Why does an innocent baby get brain cancer? Why is Trump, who is such an evil person, healthy? Who the fuck knows? So my advice for people is do your best, get yourself a good movement and spiritual practice, enjoy your life, and the rest is not up to you. I cannot speak for the situation in Europe, but I would have the same advice. Can you give an advice for friends that are trying to mutually help each other in those times, (from distance or being near by)? Community is extremely important. When I was going through chemo, my friend from my spiritual community came and chanted with me. The care and support I felt from my spiritual community was essential. In addition, I connected with my ancestors and found that to also be profoundly helpful. Offering each treatment to the benefit of my ancestors – perhaps that unwound some of the family karma.
In Europe, the past is evident everywhere. You are walking in the footsteps of your ancestors, and this can bring a kind of peace and perspective that doesn’t really exist for white or black Americans, who have supplanted the Native Americans and have basically raped the land. Whatever you want to tell to me and to the world, here we are. Our bodies are only ever doing the best they can. To have compassion for the body, to treat it tenderly and with kind regard, is itself a spiritual practice. Infinite factors may lead one person to be ill. By all means let us keep an inquiring spirit. And let’s not despise western medicine, which has made enormous advances against disease.
I am alive thanks to Western medicine. I cannot even tell you how many people, during my most ill moment with Crohn’s, had the effrontery to suggest that it was “all in my head” and if only I’d give up gluten, I’d be fine. There will always be those people who think they know what’s best for you, and who speak from from their own deep fears and biases. Do your research, then decide what you can live with. Some people fear chemio more than cancer. Chemotherapy has its place and works extremely well if you catch Cancer early enough. And then there is a point at which it doesn’t offer anything. In the west, the advent of Freud and psychology, which in their time were revolutionary, don’t get me wrong, has created a deep bias towards explaining things in terms of their psychological origin.
While on the one hand this has lately led to an attempt to mend the Cartesian mind-body split, it is still extremely reductionist and doesn’t take into account the infinite number of factors visible and invisible which contribute to our health, not the least of which is our connection to this planet. Our actions against Mother Earth are like actions against our own flesh.