here: it's just stupid ads from tripod.
A tale of Certified Medical Massage
I’d like to
tell you about this woman that saved my life. Or at least
My shoulders started giving me
few years ago. It didn't take
too long to diagnose the problem as classic rotator cuff
in both shoulders. I knew that there was a fair bit going wrong,
since the main symptom of rotator cuff impingement is pain,
leaves you with no doubt that you have a problem. Cranky rotator
don’t let you sleep much, either, and I am told that this long
sleep deprivation did little to improve my already curmudgeonly
But it's no wonder my mood wasn't
that sunny. I remember it well: "I'm too young to fall apart
like this," I thought at the time,
clenching my teeth through the pain.
I’m a pragmatist when it comes to
medicine; I'll try anything. If it
works, that’s good enough for me. I tend to reserve scalpels for
last resort, but other than that, anything goes. So I started a
to find a way of healing.
To make this particular part of the
story short, nothing worked.
Vitamins, targeted exercise, acupuncture, yoga, weeks of
reinjury; nothing worked. The problem got worse.
I went to a surgeon, someone who
specializes in shoulders, elbows and
hands. He gave me a cortisone shot in the worst shoulder and a
list of very specific exercises. The cortisone shot helped a
just enough pain relief so that I could keep going. I still
HURT, but I could grit my teeth and manage -- barely. The
not seem to help, in fact, they only seemed to make it worse.
The surgeon said things like "we are
trying to delay surgery as long as
possible." I know a few people who have had rotator cuff
the results are not always good. There are no guarantees.
people are worse after the surgery. And there is a theory that
surface that has been shaved by the procedure tends to grow
afterwards, so it makes repeat surgeries almost inevitable. I
Two years and three cortisone shots
later, I was no better. The pain was bad enough that I was not
able to get through a full rehearsal without pausing to let the
shoulders rest, and concerts were an ordeal. It was clear to me
that my musical career had a hit a "Dead End Ahead" sign. Even
teaching was painful, and to let my shoulders recover, I was
leaving my violin at home while teaching lessons, and only
borrowing my student's violins when I had a pressing need to
demonstrate. My playing began to deteriorate; I have always had
"fast fingers" and facile technique, so I could still blast
through difficult passages at full speed, but my intonation and
accuracy were no longer up to snuff. I was beyond desperate, and
was trying to accept the idea that my days of playing the violin
were limited. That alone was enough to cause me a great deal of
upset, but adding the fact that I was living in pain every
minute of my life was enough to cause genuine despair.
And then I heard about a new treatment called "Medical Massage."
I've been to massage therapists off
on through the years, and
always felt much better for it. Medical rehabilitation massage
takes the art of massage to a new level, with intensive and
training of the therapist in areas of physical therapy,
anatomical function, and the pathology of functional physical
This new classification of certification is a synthesis between
tissue myofascial massage and medically based physical
techniques. This combination has done a great deal to "connect"
fields, and the results have been excellent. Connection works.
My medical rehabilitation massage
therapist’s name is Kimberly LeFore,
by the way, and she practices in Billings, Montana.
At my first session in October of
2005, Kimberly went to
work on my shoulders. It was
painful, but considering how much pain I was experiencing on a
day-to-day (minute-to-minute, actually) basis, it was no more
seemed reasonable... OK, I'm lying. It was excruciating. But it
on the spots where she
was working, and then when she moved on to a new spot, the pain
too. It was endurable, in other words. And it also had that odd
of being "a good hurt," and I could sense that it was
learned that messed-up muscles and tendons hurt when a
massage therapists works on them -- but they get better immediately.
At the end of one session, my
felt better. Much better. I
slept through the night with very little pain. I was almost
say "I'm better" out loud, because I didn't want to "jinx" the
improvement. I made an appointment for once a week.
At the end of two sessions, I began
have hope that this might
actually be a turning point. The second session hurt much less,
spots Kimberly had worked on the week before were not as
Once my body was less messed-up, the treatment hurt less.
At the end of a month, I could
without pain and sleep soundly
every night. Taking
aspiring or ibuprofen before the sessions helped quite a bit
with the discomfort, and reduced the inflammation which helped
even more. I felt better
than I had in a decade. Kimberly says "I don't
do 'feel good' massage. I solve problems." And I’ll say amen to
As the weeks passed, the sessions
far less painful and much more
comfortable. A year later, my sessions were still definitely
-- Kimberly does very deep tissue work -- but not actually
unless I had gotten into trouble during the week with some sort
chronic tension. Untying the knots in specific trouble spots can
sometimes hurt, but the results are so wonderful that I have
them as nothing short of miraculous. During this time, I've been
to learn how interconnected the body is: the knee-bone connects
ear-bone, pretty much.
I went for weekly treatments for a
Then I went every other week
for a year, and now I am going once a month. I’m just tickled by
well I’m doing. I haven’t had a cortisone shot since. On a scale
of "one to ten," I'd rate the effectiveness of medical
massage therapy at "ten." (Actually, I'd rate it at "eleven,"
tend to get carried away in my enthusiasm.)
It may be difficult to find a
massage therapist in your area with the certification that
genuinely advanced medical training.
For a reference to someone in your area, you
can email Kimberly at:
If you've been suffering from
pain and physical disability,
don’t give up hope. There may be help out there for you. Good
After six years of sessions, I can honestly say that Kimberly
LeFore really did "save my life." When I wrote the above
article, I was minimizing, to a degree, just how bad things had
gotten for me. I was deeply depressed, in pain every second, and
could tell that I had only a few years left before I would be in
a wheelchair. And yet, after only six months of sessions, when
the Concertmaster position opened up in my orchestra, I was able
to say, "Yes, I'll go for it."
I was able to practice intensively and consistently, every
single day for a month solid, preparing for the audition,
bringing every aspect of my playing back to 100% -- and I could
do it completely pain-free. I did have the muscle soreness and
fatigue any healthy person would expect during such an intensive
time, but the playing itself was at 100% full function, and 100%
pain free. That was a miracle for me. Winning the audition was a
very happy moment for me, professionally and personally. It felt
great to win the audition, and it felt miraculous to feel that
As I write this, I just finished two days of hard physical labor,
breaking up an old set of concrete and brick front porch steps,
piling the rubble into wheelbarrows and trailers, filling in a
huge hole after hauling out a giant tree stump, working with
shovel, crowbar, pry-bar, sledgehammer, sweating in the hot sun
and wearing work gloves. I am pooped, but I feel good. Really
good. Six years ago, trying to work like this -- even for half a
day -- would have landed me in bed for a week. It's nice to know
that I may, God willing, have many years of a healthy, active
life ahead of me.