What the Chiro knows

Susan lit up at our last appointment, urging me to see Sophie – her colleague, the chiropractor. And so, with a promise that there would be no ‘cracking,’ I saw her for a first treatment yesterday.

As soon as I lay on my back on Sophie’s treatment table, she got busy, traversing the landscape of my body, top to bottom, front to back, like a mechanic getting started on a tune-up. She tweaked, she knocked, she pulled and twisted. She pinched, stretched and manipulated. She kneaded my foot muscles and tapped on the bones. With my toes pointed, Sophie pushed back as I pressed my foot against her hand. It soon became patently clear to me where she had acquired those muscles in her arms.

When I turned over on my stomach, Sophie had no reservations about heading right for my sacrum. Unwarned, I nearly leapt off the bed as her fingers moved about. That was my first clue that Sophie does not tread lightly; she’s all about getting straight to the crux of the matter. Well, she hit the crux of my sacrum on her first go and it was all business from there. She fingered my spine, the lumbar region, the posterior part of my brain. Reaching around to the front of my head and down to the neck, she pressed hard into my collarbone.

Bit by bit, as if she were a blind artist or deep-sea treasure-seeker, Sophie continued to explore around and just below the surfaces of my aching body parts.

Then, on my back again, Sophie laid her hands on my forehead and asked me to retrieve memories leading up to the accident, in detail; and then to remember as much as I could of events right up to the present moment. I thought those episodes of relived trauma, echoing in the room’s silence, would never end. But they subsided once Sophie’s handiwork shifted gears.

With a gloved hand and the practiced precision of a dental hygienist, Sophie dove into my mouth and went right for the mandibular. Poking and prodding my lower jaw, giving no preference to left side over right, she yanked lightly, hoping to loosen the rigidity in my head. Right side moves well, she said, but the left side is really stuckwhich probably explains the frozen shoulders. With her jaw stretched wide open, Sophie then instructed me on how to maximize the volume in my diaphragm, by breathing expansively.

With what seventh sense are these, my (alternative) health practitioners, endowed? I find it utterly mesmerizing, to observe and to inquire about their techniques. How are they so attuned to the body’s slightest nuances? Are they trained to develop a heightened awareness of musculoskeletal strengths and frailties? Aside from a cane, I have no other outwards manifestations of injury. So I wonder what disparate (yet related) fragments of knowledge my therapists have obtained that compels them to hone in, almost immediately, on the exact spots that still cause me distress.

Sometimes it seems like a mystery, but the longer I hobble through this labyrinth of healing, the more I get it: alternative/complementary practitioners actually understand how the body works and how one part is invariably linked up to the others. They comprehend the inherent interconnectedness of muscle, bone and ligament; of fascia and tendon; of head to toe.

Blessed are they, my über-healers.

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