DOES Doctor Snow hurt?” I asked Trisha after deciding I needed to see a chiropractor for my bum shoulder.

“Hint,” she replied, “the place is called Davao Pain Clinic.”

Okay…

I once had a chiropractor. I hated him. He loved torturing me. He was my teacher in art in sixth grade, but when we met again after three decades, he was already sporting a “Doctor” before his name. Being an art teacher was her first job, he said, he migrated to Tokyo after that, earned his specialty there, and practiced for two decades before going back home to Davao. He died of heart attack over a decade ago, and that ended my chiropractic foray. And then there’s Dr. Snow.

My friends in ABS-CBN were the ones who discovered him two years ago, I think. But I’ve never been gaga about other people poking their fingers into my flabs… masseurs included. Except that my shoulder was limiting my guitar practice.

I entered the clinic to be met by a gaggle of white-clad young women. Oh. After filling up a form that asked my medical history, I was ushered into a room where I was made to lie face down, and a therapist started poking her fingers at my back, apparently testing to see where to stick stuff into.

“Grabe katigas ng back muscles!” the lady exclaimed, talking to two other therapists who were apparently checking my back as well. Oh, really? Now why can’t I say the same about my tummy, I wonder. And then they massaged my back with a vibrating thingy, massaged it really hard, while the lady regularly checked on my meat… errrrr… muscles. “Medyo lumambot na dito… dito naman sa kabila…” she’d say, interspersed with their conversations about their personal lives, how one looks “yagit” in her elementary and high school photos, how the other is consistently growing fat as chronicled by photos, and stuff like that. The one testing my muscles is one whom the two others would refer to as “ma’am.”

After what felt like half an hour of being jackhammered, I was led to Doctor Snow’s room where again I was made to lie, face down and he started pushing my back with both hands in between sticking some trigger pins.

“Did you see her skin? It’s perfect!” Dr. Snow told her lady therapists in between sticking pins into my back. Errrr…. perfect for pinning, you mean?

He assured me that I have very good skin and that the pins will stay there for a very long period — two months at least. Just remember, he said, pat dry your skin with a towel every after bath; never rub. What? I wanted to protest. Two months without “hilod”? I kept my mouth shut though… they might not see the humor in that and hilod may be too foreign a concept for Caucasians…

Dr. Snow explained that the pins are not for acupuncture, they’re just triggering devices to make my muscles relax… He told me to return a week later for further treatment when I said that the jackhammer and scrunching and pushing and cracking didn’t relieve my discomfort much. Apparently, the jackhammering didn’t work and they might just need a pressure cooker to do the job.

I’m a bum, I hate exercises, but there is one set I have been doing since I found a book about it in one of those annual book fairs here over a decade ago. “The Secret to the Fountain of Youth” is the book title and it tells of five exercises Tibetan monks reportedly do, especially the elderly ones.

I tried it when I was in my 30s and didn’t find any remarkable benefit. When I hit 40, however,there were physiological changes including sore joints. The book claimed the exercises work for arthritis, and so I tried the exercises again. It worked. The soreness disappeared and I became more limber. Being the lazy bum that I am, I stopped when every joint was already working well. I’d return to the regimen again, when the sores return. Of late, I found even greater benefit, after learning a few more qi gong stretches that taught me how to breath properly and thus am able to tackle mountains without feeling as though I’m ready to faint everytime. The exercises became more regular, and if ever I did stop, it would just be for a month; unlike before when I’d go for upto four months without it.

I didn’t get all muscled up, my body still looks the same. Stout, chubby, stumpy legs. But one thing I did notice, my arms are not flabby unlike friends of the same age. Must be all those stretches, I thought… until Dr. Snow… It wasn’t just the arms, it was the whole back. Wow. Now, can I do the same for my tummy? I wonder… I still have to get past my tendency to be a bum every chance I get. Good luck to me.

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