The Front Story, A Rave Review on Facebook Messenger
“Hello Joe! Happy New year! I do not know if you remember me but I was one of your indirect clients at the 10k run when you sat by my side for 2 hours almost when I could not stand the touch of a feather on my legs. A million thanks by the way! I wanted to let you know that that day played a significant role in my life because I had so many questions about what had happened or why I’ve never experienced so much pain in my life. I am now 2 weeks away from graduating massage therapy school in Philadelphia and 3 weeks away from taking the state licensing test. Now with a little more knowledge I know how apply the self care techniques on soft tissue to ensure muscular vitality along with helping other people too! I considered going to physical therapy school and even chiropractor school, but I already have my main career as an engineer. But I can say that the encounter with you sparked another life interest in me that I started pursuing and going after. And I could not be happier! God bless and happy new year.”
And Now, The Back Story
This really made my day and goes back 3 or 4 years ago…I was attending a running race event demonstrating Total Health Manual Therapy in 10 minute mini-sessions. Out the back of my booth space I see a family waving frantically from across a lawn area for me to come over to them…I was working on someone and gestured that I would see them in a couple minutes. The young woman literally was in such acute pain in her legs that she could not be touched at all and was not able to get to standing. I attempted many things, and realized she may be dehydrated or low on blood sugar or something. So we, the surrounding family and friends, got some bananas and oranges from the other vendors at the event. Meanwhile I tried everything I knew or imagine to do over an hour period of time. All along I kept thinking I was the only thing keeping her from the necessity of an ambulance and the emergency room, so I was definitely doing the best I could. I chose not to share the urgency of the situation with her, to not create any extra fear, but I was confident that my skills would prevail. As risk-taker I went where other therapists would not; I gave up on my booth and gave myself a mental hour to help her out. Over time there were incremental improvements to her situation, none of which could get her on her feet, so at about 45 minutes in I shared that if she couldn’t stand we would have to call for an ambulance and get her to an emergency room.
She literally had a locked ankle (with toes pointing) and could not on her own, or with my help, unlock and straighten out her foot. She finally agreed to attempt getting to standing on the one good foot and bit by bit put more weight on the locked foot. When that was accomplished over a number of minutes, I urge her to walk it off with the help of two of her male friends. They walked through the parking lot, and making it to their car, drove off. I never saw her again. I believe I had given her my business card and that we may have had a brief social media communication shortly thereafter. I did not know that somehow we had become Facebook friends, and over time I had forgotten her name until receiving the recent rave review, and come to find out her name is Michelle Stephanie, and has gone on to study Massage Therapy for her personal self-care. I had never forgotten the situation and have shared it a few times. Sometimes the story just gets better and better!
More from Michelle’s Viewpoint!
“The back story, as I remember is as follows: I have not always been the best runner, but I really enjoy the mental, emotional, and physical challenge that running brings. Prior to running the 10k in Hemet, I had already ran numerous 5ks, 10ks (one in Colorado) and 1 half marathon. Each race presented itself with the usual cramping and soreness that I tend to commonly experience. I am used to the severe cramping and having to keep my body moving after a race. Aware of this, I tend to follow all the hydration and meal coordination required to minimize the post-race pains. The race in Hemet, was something I never had experience before. It was intense hypersensitivity and locked lower limbs. The touch of a feather sent shooting pain through my entire leg. I could not move. All I can remember is crossing the finish line, sitting down from how tired I was, and then excrutiatingly not being able to get back up. A nurse rushed to my side, and then Joe did too. I tried to remain calm (simply because I am used to post-race trauma and needing to give myself time to stretch and drink water). Dehydration did not cross my mind at all because I had done all the “water drinking” required to have a successful race. I remember that after 20 minutes of experiencing this pain and Joe unsuccessfully getting my legs to move. I started to panic!! My usual recovery time is 20-30 minutes. I started hyperventilating due to the awareness of how much pain I was in for the most minimal movement. Feathers could have been knives, I could not tell the difference. In my panic, all I remember is Joe telling me “you need to let go of your pain. You need to let go of your pain. I cant help you until you let go of your pain.” In all of this, I was frustrated that I felt I had no control over how much pain I was in. I remember Joe and family friends making me scarf down bananas, and electrolyte solutions. But it wasn’t until “You need to let go of your pain” that something in my body resonated. I was mentally in a different state…I was experiencing pain and could not make sense of anything else besides thinking in that moment that I needed to leave out of there walking. 45 minutes later, they mentioned calling an ambulance. I was determined to walk. I refused every inch of pain I was experiencing but did not know how to let it go. I could hear Joes voice far away from me, but I could see he was right at my feet. I had never felt so weak and so strong. I could tell my body was at the verge of fainting from pain. I fought it. I could feel the pain as its own existence enclosed in my body like a capsule. “Breathe, you need to let it out. Breathe again! And one more breath!” I was unaware that I was holding my breath. Joe walking me through my own breath and doing some sort of guru magic. I could feel myself melting. I could feel the pain exiting from my breath at some point where I felt like I just needed to throw up. Movement and touch: one toe at a time, one ankle at a time, and finally we were at my knees. I was moving my knees! I felt exhausted. I felt like I just got beat up by a thousand suns and had just gone into a battlefield. I felt a sense of victory because I did not get wheeled away in an ambulance. It took a Joe, a nurse, and a family friend to get me out of this painful experience. But joe was the one who kept his hands intentionally on my the entire time. I could never make sense of this experience. But it comes to me at all times in all running races and even in my training. This experience was such a mysterious one to me that led me enroll in massage therapy school to understand how to self maintenance the body to live in an optimal vital state. I learned later that what I experienced was hyperdermatome sensitivity due to fascial dehydration. Which led me to love, understand, and appreciate myofascial release therapy. Body work does not always have to be deep or painful to be effective. Sometimes the light touch is where we need and receive the most benefits (this is where my experience with Joe resonates deeply). Fascia in itself is the thin fibrous network of connective tissue that runs all long our body, creating enclosures and compartments for every organ and muscle. It is considered as the “inbetween” network throughout the body. And my experience definitely had me inbetween something magical. It was literally out of this world as I could remember connecting with the pain and everything I was feeling, disconnecting with it because it hurt so much, and connecting with it again only to be able to let it go through my breath. I have mentioned Joe to everyone of my classmates and teachers. And even some of my teachers had never heard of such a situation or client. So I am deeply thankful Joe, that you whole heartedly stayed by my side, with intention and mindfulness, and I do not remember either when we became fb friends. I did have your card. And in all my moves from work, to school, to out of the country, had lost it. But here we are. And I am thankful for your existence and universal trigger our experience was. You are the force behind every client I will have in the future, when they are in pain. Happy Birthday!”