University Health Services
certainly one of the most useful resources at Harvard. See
the section about severe sufferers for hints on
dealing with UHS.
Student Disabilities Resources
office (496-8707, fax: 495-0815, email@example.com) provides several
services to registered students. To register with SDR, make sure that
when you see your
doctor at UHS you request that they fill out the SDR referral
form and fax it to the office.
If you see someone outside UHS, make sure that
your doctor sends a note (on letterhead) to
SDR with the following information:
diagnosis, level of activity currently permissible, and
anticipated duration of
current condition. Be aware that even if your physician says your
RSI can last
for several months, SDR will need updated documentation in order to continue
provide accommodations and/or services. Louise Russell is the director of SDR,
you'll probably talk to either Mary Megson or Katherine Callaghan when you
call. If you
need to leave a voice message, you should be very specific about
what you are calling about.
If you need help with typing, talk to the office
about arranging to hire a typist.
Currently, you must find someone to do the
typing, but SDR will pay for it (there may be a
time limit on how long they will
pay). If you register with SDR you will be able to use the
provided by the Adaptive Technology Laboratory (ATL) in the Science
which SDR will refer you. Note that while the office can arrange scribes for
final exams, they do not arrange or pay for scribes for midterms. Therefore,
make sure you
talk to your professors weeks in advance about finding scribes if
you need them. Check the
SEO miscellaneous section for midterm scribes.
Student Employment Office
Student Disabilities Resource Center may pay for a work study
typist, but you'll have to
find them yourself. Or, you may need to
find scribes to write your midterms. Try the
Office (495-2585); you can either create a
listing specific to your
needs, or just look at their list of
typists. They also
have a miscellaneous section. Note that all
SEO functions can be done by phone, so if your
hands hurt, call them,
You can get a referral from the SDR to the Adaptive Technology
This lab provides computer equipment and software, including Dragon NaturallySpeaking
dictation software, text to Braille, and other services to help
accommodate students with a
number of different disabilities.
The staff of the ATL provide training to teach you to
software most effectively. They are also extremely friendly,
and an excellent source of
advice on technological solutions to your
problems. Before you can use the ATL, you must be
referred to them by
the SDR. Working in the
are Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org and
Claudia at email@example.com. The ATL's
number is 496-8800.
Environmental Health and Safety
provides free evaluations of your workstation
or office setup. They can give you a list of
things you need to
correct, which can be helpful in convincing your department or adviser
to get them for you.
Health and Fitness
HHF (495-1771) is primarily for faculty and staff. However,
sometimes have fitness classes which may be of interest, and which are
open to students
on a space-available basis. Many of these classes
are of interest to people with an
interest in alternative cures to
RSI, such as Feldenkrais or Yoga classes.
Many pianists who have RSIs
have found Taubman techniques extremely helpful in allowing them
to play the
piano again. This is especially important because pianists so often develop
RSIs. Non-pianists with RSI can also benefit greatly from Taubman techniques;
Taubman seminar for computer workers with RSI helped the majority
of them return to work!
Taubman techniques are equally applicable to typing as
they are to piano. The Taubman
Institute is a summer institute at Williams
College that teaches their techniques. More
information is available at:
repetitive strain injuries are diagnosed as soft-tissue
injuries, treatments that focus on
those tissues can be helpful. The RSI
Action Group does not recommend any one particular
massage therapist for
this task, but Arun Jaine of Integrative Body Therapies (424-0255) is
practitioner in the area who is familiar with repetitive strain
injuries. Ask about
student rates. You can also get some less expensive massages at student clinics in the
A somewhat controversial field in medicine that has provided significant benefit
to those with RSI. It is a structural form of treatment that focuses on improving bone
alignment and mobility. Osteopaths have a medical education equivalent to MDs, and as a
result are lawfully able to prescribe medications and even perform surgery. Sessions with an
osteopath are highly tailored to the individual patient, and also vary greatly with the
practicioner; most, however, make use of subtle forms of bone and muscle manipulation
intended to free up restricted areas. From the patient
perspective, osteopathy involves less
patient involvement than other forms of therapy described below, but personal experiences
have been highly positive nonetheless. However, given the major role of the practitioner in
this form of treatment, success with osteopathy seems to have a lot to do with how carefully
you choose your doctor.
One last, gigantic plus for this form of treatment:
Osteopathic visits are covered under most health insurance plans! If your insurance
refuses to pay, however, rates can be prohibitive: they often approach the rates of regular
The following is a list of highly recommended osteopaths in the area,
also be able to recommend others closer by:
- Edgar S. Miller, DO.
49 Red Pine Dr
(978)369-6030 (Not sure if this is a business or home phone!?)
- James H. Gronemeyer, DO. 290 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington MA 02174.
- B. Jayne Alexander, DO. (508) 697-3185.
Acupuncture seeks whole body healing based on Chinese
medicine. Yes, it involves needles.
No, it’s not too painful. Some say
that success is highly dependent on the practitioner.
There are student
clinics in the Boston area for the student budget (individual sessions
cost approximately $15-$20).
The Harvard Tai Chi Tiger Crane
Club has free classes in Tai Chi. Visit their webpage at http://hcs.harvard.edu/~htctc.
The club is very
aware of the Harvard RSI community and has several techniques
designed to help people with
These are methods that incorporate and combine many
structural and mindbody elements. Both methods involve significant levels of subject
involvement and offer a means to guided self-improvement. The teacher acts to foster
improvement, but ultimately the learning process has to be self-motivated. Lessons usually
consist of a combination of hands-on bodywork and verbal teaching to develop self-awareness
of one’s body through movement. Through application of the technique, the student learns to
integrate physical and mental aspects of the body in a highly conscious way. For
sufferers, this can offer a means of taking control of a situation that might otherwise seem
The following is excerpted from a web page of one of the national
organizations of Alexander teachers, now called
(1869-1955) demonstrated that the difficulties many people experience
in learning, in
control of performance, and in physical functioning are caused by unconscious habits. These
habits interfere with your natural poise and your capacity to learn. When you stop
interfering with the innate coordination of
the body, you can take on more complex
activities with greater self-confidence and presence of mind.
information can be found on the comprehensive website http://www.alexandertechnique.com.
includes numerous links to the different associations of Alexander teachers that will help
teacher near you.
We're fortunate in Boston to have one of the largest Alexander
teaching communities in the world. There are several
teachers in the direct vicinity of
Harvard Square. In addition, the Alexander Technique Center, located up Mass Ave
Harvard towards Porter Square, may have information regarding affordable group classes (1692
3rd floor, 617-497-2242).
A good description of the Feldenkrais®
Method can be found at http://www.wellspace.com/offerings/feldenkrais.html.
The Alexander Technique
provides a concrete means for overcoming these impeding habits, and for
helping people learn
better and do things more freely -- from learning to play a musical instrument better to
moving with more comfort and ease through your daily life. From back pain to learning
blocks, whether you are a musician or an office worker, Alexander lessons remain
fundamentally the same: You are guided through simple movements and learn to develop more
control in your activities.
The Alexander Technique, however, is not a therapy that
treats a passive patient. It is for the
person interested in working towards his or her
goals with increased awareness and practical intelligence. Although the Alexander Technique
does not treat specific symptoms, you can encourage a marked improvement in overall health,
alertness, and performance by consciously eliminating harmful habits that cause physical and
emotional stress, and by becoming more aware of how you engage in your activities. American
educational philosopher John Dewey, Nobel-prize-winning scientist Nikolaas Tinbergen, Aldous
Huxley, George Bernard Shaw, and many others have recognized the Alexander Technique as an
effective aid in improving physical and psychological well-being."
- Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique
by Michael Gelb (1996). An excellent general
introduction to the Alexander Technique.
Covers the basic concepts of the technique and its history, and gives a number
- Freedom to Change - The Development and Science of the Alexander
Technique by Frank Pierce
Jones (1997). This Alexander classic was originally published
as Body Awareness in Action in 1976 [available
in the Loeb Music Library under this
latter title: call # MUS 343.1]. An excellent introduction to the Technique that
both its history and Jones' extensive 25 years of research on the subject at nearby Tufts
- The Use of the Self by F.M. Alexander – the best and clearest
book written by the man who created the
technique, this autobiographical account traces
Alexander’s ‘discovery’ and offers a unique perspective on the work.
Though not always
highly readable, it is nonetheless fascinating for its personal insights into this process
self-improvement [available in Widener library: Phil 6110.3.10].
Unfortunately, the Alexander technique can be pricey: private lessons range
from $40 to $80 an hour! Although we
don't currently have much experience with it,
Feldenkrais seems to tend to be more high profile, trendy, and hence even
expensive! Group lessons are available in both methods, however, with a significant
reduction in cost (see
Yoga offers a
means of exercise and stretching as a means to increasing
whole body awareness. Most Yoga
teachers focus on breathing as a unifying
and integrative body mechanism. The emphasis of
each yoga class varies
widely with the instructor and the particular form of yoga being
taught. Some yoga classes have a more spiritual emphasis, while others (proliferating
rapidly these days) seem like aerobic classes in disguise (e.g. "Power Yoga").
sufferers, though, yoga can provide an opportunity to exercise
in a way that is surprisingly
pain-free. Many people with RSI who have
tried yoga comment that it allows one to do things
that normally cause a
good deal of pain otherwise. It’s also very affordable, here: $5 a
semester at the MAC (495-2219)! Or, you can find classes at the Center for Wellness and
(495-9629, see above).
CNOT, the Coalition on New Office Technology,
650 Beacon St., 5th Floor,
Boston in Kenmore Square, 617-247-6827 is a
great resource. You can check out the CNOT home
While most of their
members are in Massachusetts, they are a national
resource. They run various seminars and
maintain a referral book with
reviews of various doctors related to RSI. If you need to
find a good
doctor, or you want to check on a referral, or you have a good or bad
experience with a doctor, give CNOT a call. Out of the same office is
the Office Technology
Education Project, with the same phone number.
Finally, in this one space, there is RSI
Action, (an unaffiliated
inspiration for Harvard RSI Action), which works on issues of RSI
the UniveRSIty, across universities in the Boston area, and in general
on RSI prevention
and advocacy for workplace and legislative changes.
It is commonly
accepted that bodily exercise is important in keeping one’s intellectual and physical
capabilities functioning at their full potential. In the busy daily lives of students,
taking the time to exercise can
be quite difficult. However, the benefits of regular
exercise are highly worthwhile.
Oftentimes people with RSI, especially those who have no
clinically diagnosable medical condition, will be under a
pattern of minimizing use of their
upper extremity because of the fear of causing further pain. In our experience,
immobilization can sometimes even exacerbate this problem, by drawing more negative
attention to the dulled
out limb and reinforcing the notion that it is "useless."
body exercise can therefore be very helpful in managing this condition. Not only does
healing by invigorating damaged muscles through increased blood flow and
oxygenation, but it can also have the equally
(if not more) important psychological effect
of removing excessive concern over the effected region. It can allow the
comfort in knowing that the affected limb is fully functional.
All forms of vascular
exercise are helpful (running, swimming, playing
sports, biking, aerobics, etc), but
swimming in particular can be very
helpful for people with RSI because of the way it allows
you to set your
own pace in a very non-aggressive, low-impact environment. However,
everyone will have his or her own exercise preferences and what is
important is taking the
opportunity to do it regularly.
The OSHA web page
is the best place to start for scientific or
documentation on RSI. You can find information on the Draft
Proposed Ergonomics Program
Standard. The section on the scientific
an impressive bibliography of RSI information.
Boston Voice Users Group
Boston Voice Users Group A local voice-users group exists in the
Boston area. Meetings are
currently on second Tuesday of each month,
at MIT, location announced on their mailing list.
See upcoming events section. Users or potential users of all
dictation software are welcome, though the first dozen or so
all seem to be Dragon people.
There is a local, low-volume mailing list for meeting arrangements.
firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe, send an
empty message to:
subject line SUBSCRIBE.
announcements for those who need phone contact are being
coordinated by Mary Hopkins, (h)
The sorehand mailing list
The sorehand mailing list is a high
high noise general mailing list for sufferers of RSI. If you want to
be on a
mailing list about RSI, this is the main one. I strongly urge
you to use the digest option
if you subscribe, lest you be completely
overwhelmed. To subscribe, send mail to LISTSERV@ITSSRV1.UCSF.EDU with
any subject, and
the message body reading:
subscribe sorehand Your
To unsubscribe, send the
to the same address.
To get the mail in digest
form, send the
set sorehand digest
Job Accomadation Network
Job Accomadation Network
http://janweb.icdi.wvu.edu A toll-free consulting service that
about job accommodations and the employability of
people with disabilities. JAN also
provides information regarding the
Americans with Disabilities Act. It's a service of the
Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Accomodation info:
1-800-526-7234 in US live line 8-8 Eastern M-TH; ADA info:
1-800-ADA-WORK 8-5 Fri, machine
after hours fax (304) 293-5407 email
re ADA: email@example.com
Repetitive Strain Injury: a Computer User's Guide, by
Pascarelli and Quilter,
is a comprehensive source of information on
how to live with and recover from RSI. It is
usually available at
Wordsworth's. There are also one or two copies in the Harvard
library. If you have any problems, you should definitely read it, and
if your problems are
serious, you should definitely buy it.
MIT's Adaptive Technology for Information and
http://web.mit.edu/atic/www/rsi/mitrsi.htm with useful information and links.
want more information on prevention, a really good place to look is Paul
Marxhausen's RSI page at
with even more pictures and even some mpeg
videos. There are also
references to good books on prevention, including easy links to on
line book stores so you can order them right now.
Injury FAQ http://www.tifaq.org is a gold mine of
information. If you are
looking for information about ergonomic
devices, these archives are a good place to start.
website (http://www.pc.ibm.com/us/healthycomputing/) is
an excellent and comprehensive
guide to computer ergonomics.
http://www.amara.com/aboutme/rsi.html contains prevention and
information on RSI.
The Hand Book by Stephanie Brown, is a good book on
how to type (if you can type at all!). It's going through revision
and not available until
about February or March 1997, but there is a
copy on reserve in Baker Library.