Frequently Asked Questions
The Infinity Walk theory and method was conceived in the mid-1980's by
clinical psychotherapist, Deborah Sunbeck, Ph.D. Many professionals in
special education and physical medicine who are familiar with Infinity
Walk do not realize that its original use was targeted for clinical
psychotherapy. Dr. Sunbeck, who was specializing in behavioral medicine
practices at the time, was searching for an effective holistic method
that would facilitate integrated healing and self-development.
THE SEARCH FOR ONE "UNIFIED" METHOD. Dr Sunbeck's original
criteria for the method required that it (1) allowed the person to learn
to facilitate their own progress, and/or be easily facilitated by
non-professionals as well as professionals, (2) enhanced or restored
self-esteem, personal dignity, and hope for a better future, (3)
supported the person's intrinsic need to integrate all new learning and
change on every level of being - physical, emotional, cognitive and
spiritual/philosophical; (4) progressed easily and naturally by
following the body/brain's normal sequence of developmental growth; and
(5) was sufficiently self-motivating to practice between therapy
sessions and continue after therapy ended. Two psychological theories of
professional interest to her helped create benchmarks for an effective
measure of the method's potential for clinical success, social
facilitation and intrinsic motivation theories.
Dr. Sunbeck also knew that the method would need to get the client "out
of the chair" and moving if it were to truly integrate the whole person
and if it were to fully trigger natural development processes in the
person. She also knew that the best test of a clinical method's capacity
to reach the core trigger mechanisms of human motivation and change is
that it can be applied to any stage of development; and with
modifications, to any age group. A second test of the method's value
required that positive shifts along physical, emotional, cognitive or
introspective/spiritual parameters should all be possible if the method
was truly "integrative of the whole person ". Though a person may choose
to use the method for a single purpose, e.g., physical coordination,
cognitive attention, self-esteem, public speaking, enhancing study
skills), the method would need to independently prove itself across
multiple clinical, educational, medical, and spiritual disciplines to be
considered truly integrative by her own standards. (Also read About Dr.
Sunbeck to understand the personal and professional background she
brought to the creation of Infinity Walk.)
THE BILATERAL BRAIN. The 1980's produced a surge of
professional interest in "alternative" approaches to health and
well-being. Some of this interest explored the mysterious relationship
between the lateral halves of the brain. Early in her career, Dr.
Sunbeck was exposed to a flurry of research and literature suggesting
that the bilateral brain not only served different motor and sensory
nerves (left vs. right sensing and moving), but that the lateral halves
may also represent different perceptual, cognitive and emotional aspects
of the person. Published conclusions from the study of "split brain"
research, multiple personalities, Erickson's clinical hypnosis, Dr. Jane
Ayres' Sensory Integration theory and The Menninger Clinic's biofeedback
research on "altered states", fueled Dr. Sunbeck's early interest in
what was then called psychosomatic medicine, and is today only slightly
better termed "behavioral medicine". Dr. Sunbeck found her professional
passion in attempting to create a clinical method that could integrate
the resources, abilities, and memory imprints of the lateral halves of
the brain and make them consciously available to a person's will and
desire for growth and healing.
THE GUINEA PIG YEARS. Dr. Sunbeck turned her "80's" clinical
tools and knowledge on herself for three years, believing that her own
conscious urge to create this still unnamed clinical method was coming
from her unconscious, and her own intrinsic need to relate directly with
her brain's lateral hemispheres. She was in fact an excellent subject
for such a self-study because, like many other people, the behaviors of
the lateral halves of her body were noticeably divergent in
unexplainable ways. She was right-handed and right-sighted, but never,
with any exception did she place the phone to her right ear, even though
her hearing was equally excellent in both ears. The left ear phone
placement was a definite "preference". Why?
A dentist pointed out her left-sided chewing bias when he remarked that
she needed to start chewing on the right side as well or she would wear
down the left teeth much sooner than the right. After that comment she
took notice and realized that she always chewed food on the left side
and never on the right. Why? The change to balanced chewing had to be
consciously willed. Eating was found to be less enjoyable on the right
Dr. Sunbeck had been very athletic in her 20's, including "high peak"
hiking in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. But, by age 30,
her right hip joint was complaining when she walked too long over uneven
ground. Also being a daughter of a naturopathic chiropractor, Dr.
Sunbeck questioned "Why just the right side and why at such a young
age?". She switched her activities from strenuous hiking to daily
swimming in her 30's to stop the early joint deterioration. But, the
question of why it was happening intrigued her. She suspected that an
unconsciously created, imbalanced lateral movement habit was causing the
problem. This conclusion proved correct, in hindsight, after she
resolved the problem with a bilaterally balanced daily swimming program
and intensive emersion into the study and practice of Moshe Feldenkrais'
Awareness through Movement method.
Dr. Sunbeck, like many people, also had divergently different life
interests in the 1980's. A part of her would have been happy being a
reclusive forest ranger, another part of her would have loved to follow
her earlier career interest in singing and song writing. Yet another
part of her would not be satisfied with her life unless she could look
back on it in later years and feel she had left some sort of
contribution to humanity's social and spiritual evolution. Each "part of
her" could have consumed a whole lifetime. She wondered how one part won
out over another and what, if anything , the bilateral system had to do
with our capacity to hold such divergent life interests within us.
She had not been an intrinsically ambitious student but she had learned
to turn an academically driven part of her brain on and off in pursuit
of a fulfilling career. What was she turning off and on? As she delved
deeper into understanding the bilateral brain, she realized that one's
happiness and success may well be subject to the whims of "which part of
us" is unconsciously directing our decisions and perceptions on any
During these self-inflicted "guinea pig" years a evening visitor to Dr.
Sunbeck's home might find her slowly undulating across the quiet, dark
surface of her pool in "reptile fashion". Pool circling quickly gave way
to a more natural feeling figure-eight surface gliding over the water.
The shift was instinctive. Circling the pool had left a part of her mind
attending to her breathing, the time and other matters. The shift to
undulating left and right through the waters brought a sense of timeless
well-being as the movement became effortless. Everything "came
together". Her body would lose all awareness of its history with land.
Yet, at these very times of feeling most "primordial", her cognitive
mind would be most generous in yielding sparks of theoretical insight
that allowed her to integrate bits of unrelated knowledge and experience
into the concept that birthed Infinity Walk.
Much of Infinity Walk's early development evolved in the water. The rest
emerged during her walking of a land-based version of this same
figure-eight movement pattern. An upstairs deck overlooking her backyard
went through two outdoor carpet replacements during those experimental
years. She had worn a hundred mile and more of figure-eight walking into
the carpets. Her right hip had never felt better and unlike her
experience of more common "forward" walking and hiking, she was feeling
an additional "lift" that fueled her inspired research and writing even
more. These were also the "sticky hair" years. When she was dry and on
land, Dr. Sunbeck would have her head "wired" for EEG biofeedback so she
could quickly capture changes in left and right brain signals before and
after "Infinity Walking". Brain wave readings consistently confirmed
what she felt - this bilaterally integrating method spread increased
brain response across the hemispheres (brain location) and across a
broad range of brain wave frequencies (rhythmic timing of various
specialized neurons). The shift in neural response was similar to that
seen when a person's attention has been fully engaged and stimulated by
a completely novel and intriguing experience. (This is the best
circumstance for natural learning, and the best opportunity for positive
lasting change to occur.)
SHIFT TO SPECIAL EDUCATION, LEARNING AND PERFORMANCE. The
direction of Dr. Sunbeck's Infinity Walk R&D shifted to special
education after she met Michael, a 14-year-old gifted artist who was
failing school. Just weeks into his work with Dr. Sunbeck, Michael's
learning capacity shifted to that of an enthusiastic student who made
honor roll by the end of the same school term. Most important to Dr.
Sunbeck's emerging theory was a telling statement made by Michael that
he knew when learning was effortlessly possible and that it coincided
with a feeling that was like jumping into the cool waters of a
refreshing swimming pool. Michael was not talking about just a vague
shift in mood, attention, or motivation. He was becoming self-aware of a
bilateral flooding of "neural priming" (See Sunbeck, 2002) that could be
triggered at will, through knowledgeable intention. This was also Dr.
Sunbeck's Infinity Swimming and Infinity Walking experience. Michael
showed Dr. Sunbeck that perceived academic learning capacity could be
rapidly altered for the better by triggering bilateral neural priming
that normally only occurred in spontaneous, intriguing and otherwise
novel circumstances. Michael's story is told in Chapter One of Infinity
Walk: Preparing Your Mind to Learn (editions 1991,1996, currently out of
print). A link to this book chapter is provided here for those
interested in this history. MICHAEL AND THE ILLUSION OF LEARNING
DISABILITIES. From the late 1980's to the late-1990's Dr. Sunbeck's
non-clinical time was given over to bringing the Infinity Walk method to
educators and parents.
PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC INSIGHTS. Dr. Sunbeck's private practice
followed this same natural shift towards working with more academic and
work afflicted learning and performance issues. Simultaneously she
tackled more complex and elusive psychodynamic disorders, such as
multiple personality and dissociative disorders, which might hide their
slippery chameleon-like process between shifting neural perspectives and
resources. Developmental, medical, academic and work history took on new
levels of meaning and importance as she searched for brain lateralized
clues to client's perceptual and behavioral inconsistencies that plagued
their lives and short-changed their happiness and attempted successes.
She has been collecting her clinical observations from therapy successes
since the mid-1980's. Her thoughts on how best to use Infinity Walk to
facilitate certain types of counseling successes are in her newest
Infinity Walk book due out in 2005: The Complete Infinity Walk: Book II:
The Emotional Self.
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPISTS AND DEVELOPMENTAL OPTOMETRISTS DISCOVER
INFINITY WALK. Starting in the 1990's occupational therapists and
developmental optometrists began to approach Dr. Sunbeck. They were
hearing about Infinity Walk through parents, and special education and
early education teachers. The method was a good fit for their work in
sensory integration and visual-motor training. Some of these
professionals now include the simple motor and sensory aspects of
Infinity Walk training in their own workshops. Dr. Sunbeck respects
their professional ability to do so within their area of expertise and
appreciates that the method has been found to have such broad value. She
only asks two things of professionals who are teaching, or wish to teach
Infinity Walk within their own field of expertise. First, that they do
not give it a different name that makes it untraceable to the root
source of the complete Infinity Walk method; and second, that it is
explained to their trainees that the use of Infinity Walk as a simple
sensory-motor exercise is only the beginning of its therapeutic
potential, not the total method. Dr. Sunbeck welcomes competent and
respected licensed professionals in all fields of clinical expertise to
"spread the good word" about Infinity Walk, and to do so in a way that
enables their listeners to gain more knowledge about the complete method
if they so wish. To encourage this good will she offers 50% book and
video discounts to professional workshop presenters who are willing to
make the source material available to their workshop attendees. Follow
these links to read more about policies and legalities related to
teaching Infinity Walk method, and how to order books and videos at 50%
PHYSICAL THERAPISTS AND NURSING STAFF COME NEXT. On May 20th of
1999 Dr. Sunbeck's 40-year-old brother suffered a very serious stroke.
When all inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation was exhausted he was
much improved in the relative sense of how far he had come from the
initial trauma to his body; but he had not even begun to reintegrate the
multi-levels of multi-tasking that he had been capable of prior to the
stroke. He quickly succumbed to post-rehabilitation depression that
takes hold of a person when they start to believe that most of the
healing is behind them and that it has not been enough to help them find
their way back to the self that they knew. They are lost in a strange
body that refuses to obey them and they begin to despair.
After so many years of witnessing Infinity Walkers make developmental
and remedial progress, Dr. Sunbeck naturally looked for a way to modify
Infinity Walk so her brother could benefit from it. He needed daily home
access to the method. He also lived hundreds of miles away from her. His
gait was unstable and required single focused attention to move around
his home. That is, he would not look up and around while walking, or
talk with someone while walking, because any additional task might throw
off his balance. Dr. Sunbeck envisioned a railing that followed a
continuous figure-eight track. Once built, adding the method to the use
of the railing would be simple. Her brother is a movie buff, having
worked in the Hollywood film industry for many years. So, she knew that
placing such a railing in front of a television would pretty much
guarantee daily practice of bilateral eye tracking, neck turning, etc.
It did; and how!
In addition, his wife was trained to act as an Infinity Walk "social
facilitator" to encourage expressive language practice while Infinity
Walking. Video footage of his incredible progress from day-one (3-11-02)
to one month later is available to professional facilities interested in
a possible purchase of this Infinity Walk assistive railing. Contact Dr.
Sunbeck directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE INFINITY WALKABOUT®. Starting in 2004, the availability of
The Infinity WalkAbout will allow the Infinity Walk method to reach
people who could not otherwise benefit from it. At this time, questions
from physical medicine professionals regarding the Infinity WalkAbout
may be sent to Jane Ver Dow, P.T., c/o email@example.com. Jane has
been enthusiastic about the Infinity Walk method since the early 1990's
when she organized an in-service, with Dr. Sunbeck as guest presenter,
at a large physical rehabilitation facility after happening across her
book. Jane has also stayed informed on the Infinity WalkAbout
development since its first prototype build, and was Dr. Sunbeck's
choice for a professional consultant on its use by her brother. Jane is
happy to answer questions within her areas of expertise with include
physical rehabilitation, motor disorders and the combined use of the
method and railing in residential care facilities and nursing homes.
The Infinity WalkAbout® with adjustable height/width handrail, and
single or double rail options, is now completing its final R&D prototype
stage, and is available for purchase as of 2004. (see Infinity WalkAbout
for more about this.)
WHAT'S NEXT? Dr. Sunbeck's five year plan for Infinity Walk
theory, method and products include: (1) the first Infinity Walk
"self-help" book for the adult general public; (2) a 4-volume college
curriculum series that includes "The Physical Self", "The Emotional
Self"; "The Cognitive Self"; and "The Spiritual Self"; (3) U.S.
manufacturing of Infinity WalkAbout with a number of design models to be
released over this time period; (4) U.S. manufacturing of Infinity Walk
rugs and surfaces; (5) Development of Infinity Walk games and learning
programs; (6) Instructional Video/DVD formats that focus on special
topics and needs.
WHERE IS THIS ALL HEADING? Currently, it is Dr. Sunbeck's
intention to eventually grow Infinity Walk resources and assets into a
public not-for-profit foundation. All profits made from Infinity Walk
products and services have always been reinvested back into the work. It
is a natural evolution of her philosophy to ensure that this work be
preserved and further developed under the protection of a public
foundation. A future foundation is planned to have a strong
international Web presence.
COLLABORATIVE OPPORTUNITIES. Dr. Sunbeck and InfinityWalk.Com
welcome win-win collaborative efforts with other companies. Email her if
you feel your company is a good fit for a collaborative effort (e.g.
manufacturing, marketing, retail, co-authorship, publishing). PLEASE DO
NOT email your original ideas for inventions or products. This creates
legal confusion we cannot take responsibility for. InfinityWalk.Com has
a huge backlog list of Infinity Walk related inventions conceived by Dr.
Sunbeck and protected under U.S. patent, trademark and copyright laws.