Therapeutic field day

Some might wonder why I would voluntarily subject myself to the infliction of further pain by external stimuli such as needles. And I don’t mean acupuncture. Rather, it’s a technique called IMS or Intramuscular Stimulation (see further information at www.istop.org). Practiced only by highly-trained practitioners (physiotherapists and physicians) around the world, and used mainly for the treatment of myofascial (also idiopathic and neuropathic) pain, IMS involves the insertion of acupuncture needles directly – and deeply – into shortened or tightened muscle tissues, thereby triggering a release of distressed tissue.

Essentially, what happens is this: Lying on my stomach, hands often clasping a rubber ‘stress’ ball, I wait for the inevitable slice of pain to strike: OUCH!! My muted whimpers signal the muscle’s release, and elicits a response of ahhh, that one was good from my trusted physiotherapist, Doreen, as she gently rubs down the just-punctured site. It’s not that she deliberately wants to inflict pain, but she’s a woman with hands of gold, trained in orthopedic manipulative therapy and I trust that she knows exactly what she is doing. And so, as we both laughed about it recently, not only do I continue to show up for appointments – but I actually PAY for the ‘pleasure’ of unavoidable pain!

To thank my body for subjecting itself to Doreen’s deft handiwork, I headed for the pool. Naturally, my body was placated as soon as I immersed it in water. There is something extraordinarily peaceful about being in the pool during the week at midday. Quiet as usual, except for the handful of swimmers doing laps on their lunch break; an aquatic physiotherapist moving gracefully through the shallow end with a stroke patient; and an instructor teaching a young child the flutter kick.

To the short-lived sounds of muzak ringing throughout the acoustically-challenged space, I had a quasi-physio workout followed by a 40-minute session of laps. As I reached the shallow end and turned to start yet another lap, I saw at the far end of my lane, a dinosaur staring me down. Momentarily, I was startled. Where had it come from? As I approached, seeing it bob up and down, listing to one side, it became apparent that the fiery red inflatable fiend had been tossed in for the kid’s swimming lesson.

Oh, the risks one takes in sharing the pool with all and sundry.

And then, while driving home (yes, I started to drive!), I heard a piece playing on the radio, by one of my favourite composers, Claude Debussy. It’s called Poissons d’Or – the goldfish. A fitting tune for the end of my kind of therapeutic day…

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