Friday, January 23, 2009

The Exorcism of Your Body's Demons

So it recently occured to me just how cool bodywork/massage therapy really is. I mean, I already knew, but I received a few reminders in the last month or two that really reiterated the point. I thought I would talk about them a bit.

About a month ago, I worked on someone we'll call Wendy for privacy's sake. Wendy had been having some back problems, mostly due to a fused vertebra in her lower back and sitting at a desk all day long. I gave her the quick interrogation I always do, trying to isolate the root of the problem and bring any chronic holding patterns to light. For those of you who don't know what a chronic holding pattern is, I will enlighten you. A CHP is an unconcious shortening of tissue due to repetition of an action. For example, you could be elevating a shoulder to hold your phone to your ear or holding a child on the same hip.

Anyway, Wendy was in some severe pain and had very little range of motion in her entire back. I decided I would use some Injury techniques mixed with my specialty, Trigger Point. Trigger Point is focused on eliminating the 'knots' everyone has. (It's starting to seem like I need to post a glossary of terms...maybe I'll work on that later). I began my work in her upper neck and shoulders, trying to determine if the trigger points up north could be cranking on the southern regions of the torso. I found several good ones, some that even get my favorite nickname for a trigger point, 'demons.'

And then Wendy said it...She looked up as we finished on a particularly nasty one, and said "OH! You're like an exorcist!" I found it very difficult to stop laughing! She giggled and confessed she had just watched "The Exorcist" recently, so it had just been on the surface of her mind. We had a good laugh, joking that I should put my new title on my business cards. We finished up, and lo and behold, Wendy was standing up straight! The trigger points had definitely been detrimental to her already injured back. She thanked me, left me a $10 tip, and went on to get her adjustment from one of the chiropractors I work for.

I haven't seen Wendy since, but for us bodyworkers, sometimes that's a good sign. She hasn't been in the office to see one of the doctors either, so I suppose that's positive.

I also had an interesting experience working on my sister the other night. She had been suffering from severe neck pain, radiating all the way into her shoulders and back. I was in Mesquite with my wife Keisha when it first set in, so my poor sis had to wait for my return earlier this week for any help in getting relief, aside from the magic pill Percoset(?). I called her when I heard and determined that it was probably a nerve trapped in between muscles. In football, they call what she had a "stinger."

I began working on her, which, for the record, was intense. I basically had to chisel granite off the top of her shoulders to get down to the likely culprits of her pain. It was tough going at first; it took about 1/2 an hour to see much in the way of progress. I pulled out my Structural tools (strokes) and, with renewed determination, started being a bit more agressive. We focused all over the shoulder girdle, into the pecs, up the neck, and down the arms. We even busted out some old school Mineral Ice (it's like Icy Hot I think) to try and soothe her pissed off muscles. Finally, I remembered something from one of my first classes in school; vibration has sedative properties. I asked my mom if she had a vibrating massager, and she found one for me to use.

This, my friends, is where it gets cool! I placed it on the top of her shoulder, right above the AC joint. All of a sudden, her arm started twitching and flipping around of its own accord! I have never seen a limb jump like that! I moved the massager, and it stopped. I put it back, and someone call Dancing With the Stars! The vibration softened the tissue, and I was finally able to work the trigger points and muscles causing the majority of the problems. She felt better when she left, and I hope to hear she's on the mend.

I really love what I do. I have never had a job that instilled this much passion in me. I hope to the heavens I am able to do this for a long time. There's a lot of bodies in the world that need exorcising, and The Exorcist is on the hunt!


  1. Steve, I am feeling so much better today. I have been telling everyone about my jumpy muscle and how cool it was. Thank you so much for being willing to work on me and for answering all my aches and pains questions all the time!I think you should keep blogging about massage--I think it is so interesting! Love You!!!

  2. I think you just like inflicting pain on your siblings and others. You're like the mad scientist of massage.