TOPAZ Issue 8 / 2003
A Musical Tribute
Understanding Competition
The Template of Sacred Architecture
Helping hand for ADHD children
Brief history of humour
More about Humour
How to watch films
Shakespeare’s Private Theatre
A Day in the Theatre of Life

The Importance of Symmetry

A helping hand for ADHD children

This is part three in a series of interviews with people who apply skill, research ability and belief in discovering how children with ADHD symptoms can be better helped to a life with more quality. The first two appearing in Topaz 7 contained reports about gaining confidence through body training and about designing classrooms with specific colour combinations. Below physician and manual therapist Jeroen de Vries explains about his particular work.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

These beautiful lines from ‘The Tyger’, a poem from ‘Songs of Experience’ by William Blake, came to mind during our conversation with Doctor Jeroen de Vries. The reason for this is that the concept of symmetry is an essential principle within Jeroen’s work. The awe for the exact and purposeful design of all living creatures that Blake expresses in his poetry, is one of the driving powers behind de Vries work as a physician. Jeroen de Vries has been involved with the Template Network for many years and is devoted to his work as a manual therapist. We asked him for an interview as we were interested in finding out more about his work with children suffering ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Jeroen has had surprising results with hyperactive children through working with their vertebrae, and we wanted to understand some of the background to his work.

When Jeroen first practised as a GP some 20 years ago, his main pursuit was to find a way of working that was satisfying for him and his patients and he knew he wanted to use his hands. As a boy, Jeroen had a tenacious urge to understand how things work, constantly taking apart and reassembling watches and other apparatus. His determination and curiosity was to play an important part in his work as a doctor.
An important turning point in his search for new methods was a meeting with Dr Sickesz who had pioneered and developed the technique of orthomanual manipulation - a method of treatment aimed at restoring the symmetry in the framework of the human body. So impressed was he with her work that Jeroen began to apply his persistence, curiosity and tenacity to understanding and applying this methodology in his practise. Jeroen started to explore and work with the concept of symmetry in relation to the bones and vertebrae of the human spine and to try to understand its importance to our general health.

Jeroen: ‘For the first time I felt I was in touch with causes. And the cause was utterly fascinating to me - symmetry is the basis of our skeletal structure. Within this there is a universal principle that has a practical application in the alignment of the vertebrae, to do with the laws that govern balance and movement and their interrelationship. A small adjustment - perhaps as little as half a millimetre, say, in the pelvis - can have a dramatic effect, sometimes causing people to suddenly exclaim, ‘What’s that? I suddenly feel so clear in my head!’

One of my first patients, more than 20 years ago, was a three-year-old girl with severe asthma. I had learned that when you observe keenly it is possible to tell from the ribs the extent to which the vertebrae might be out of alignment. I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday looking at this girl’s ribs and seeing that they were out of sync. By working upon this we began to get instant and remarkable results in reducing the severity of the girl’s asthma. Very soon it became clear to me that this methodology could have extensive results in pain relief, as well as in helping asthma, intestinal problems, headaches and much more.’


We ask Jeroen to tell us about his work with hyperactive children.

Jeroen: ‘It began when I met Ingrid Bunnink1 in 1997 and I told her about a strange experience that I had when treating the back of a quite aggressive and recalcitrant young boy. After the treatment the boy became remarkably quiet and it was as if something had changed in him. When Ingrid heard the details of this story, she remarked: ‘I think that this boy had ADHD’, a diagnosis easy to make from her extensive experience. As she related her work, I proposed we do some work together to find out if our different ways of approach could complement each other. This was the beginning of a cooperation in which we have so far treated more than 30 children with ADHD. The results of our collaboration were a surprise for all involved. The behavioural patterns of the children changed dramatically - they became quieter, more communicative and aggression vanished in front of our eyes. Also the parents felt a great deal of relief. The way we work is very different - I like to think of my work as that of a car mechanic, who works upon repairing the body and engine parts, whereas Ingrid’s skills lie more in terms of counselling the driver of the car and improving how they drive.

In my work with children suffering ADHD I have found that the core of the problem is situated in the middle of the thoracic spine (th. 6 - 11) and the disarrangements have a lot to do with the function of the plexus solarus. I am each day amazed how behavioural problems can be helped by aligning the vertebrae. Obviously in my specialisation there are limitations to how much can be relieved through working with the spine, and I am still exploring these boundaries There is however much yet to discover.’

After a quarter of a century of working in this field, Jeroen is keen to learn more about the intricate way in which our bodies are constructed and the importance of symmetry and balance. ‘I often feel’ he says, ‘that when I am working, the healing craft of orthomanual manipulation is working through me rather than it is me doing it - it is a strange but settling feeling.’

Interview by Ton Hettema en Lotten Kärre
Photograph: E. Schoondergang

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