Following a fall from a cliff in 1982, a new professional goal came to mind after my paralyzed body was placed in the hands of modern medicine. Ten days after I was hospitalized, a spinal fusion was performed. To abate muscular atrophy, Physical Therapy (PT) started while I was in the ICU. I spent one long, miserable weekend trying to sit upright without passing out. Once I managed sitting, I was taken to PT to practice standing with the aid of parallel bars. Although I didn’t recognize it at the time, this was a life process. One thing needed doing before the next step could be taken.
I left the hospital in St. Louis flat on my back. I was loaded into the back of my cousin’s station wagon (thanks Sandy and Bernie) and driven home to Chicago. A PT came to my home to assist my family and I in learning how to move me to an upright position on my feet again. Gordon, my PT, was a gem. In fact, every PT that I had the pleasure of working with impacted my life and my attitude, so much so, I decided to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.
Two years in, changing majors took great effort. While I was still in a body cast, to escape boredom, I attended local college classes. The following summer, I returned to SIU to complete the classes I was taking when I fell. Nothing seemed to work for me in Carbondale. In fact, I injured my other wrist by losing my balance while dancing with a friend who Hee-Hawwed me. Eventually, I landed at NIU, a far cry from SIU. The difference was palpable, not only in the scenery but on all levels. SIU was surrounded by the Shawnee National Forest. NIU was in the middle of cornfields. I wasn’t thrilled to be going on without my SIU friends, but my new purpose drove me to polar opposites in Illinois.
A year later, with all of my prerequisites and volunteer hours under my belt, I should have proceeded to the NIU-PT program. That did not happen.
Lost, frustrated, and not happy to enter the workforce, I was thankful for my eldest brother Ronny’s offer to live with him and his wife Mel in New Mexico. From there, a whole new world opened up. The world of Natural Therapy would change my life forever.
On the first day of class, this question was posed: “Who has never had a massage before?” I was one of six people who’s hands went up. Follow-up question: “Why are you here?” I had no idea why I was sitting there. I heard Ronny’s voice: “Maybe this school could help you get into a PT program.” My thought was simple. With all that I had gone through, I would be an amazing Physical Therapist. I know the recovery process from zero feeling (paralysis) to walking and moving through life.
When I filled out the application for The New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics ~ NMSNT I had no idea what 3/4 of the modalities meant. They were as foreign to me as another language. But once I have a goal in mind, there is little to stop me.
On the second day of class, the six virgins had their first massage. Touch, pleasant touch, that was new to me and my strange new body. My instructor, Charlie Brown, not of Snoopy fame, led the charge. Charlie’s hands moved along the body as smoothly as his Kentucky accent filled the air. Charlie also introduced prayer into the mix to help us center and clear the air, to get out of the way of our client’s process. It is a powerful tool that I use to this day.
At first, my body jumped like a fish out of water by simply lying flat on a massage table. I warned my partners to keep clear of my legs as I had no control of their actions. Several classmates found this intriguing, others ran for the hills. With 33 of us, we had choices in partners.
Polarity Therapy was one of the modalities that I could not identify. “Energy” was something that I knew passed through electrical wiring, not the human body. Each day I doubted what the instructors shared. Prove it… that was my mantra. My friend Kyle and I would retreat to his home and talk about our days with Polarity Therapy. Mostly, we thought it was all BS. That is until it impacted us; until we experienced energy in our own bodies. It didn’t take long for our thoughts to switch from doubt to intrigue. In fact, we were blown away by our Polarity Therapy segment. Kyle and I traded numerous sessions on our own time trying to get a handle on this new material.
Polarity Therapy works with the nervous system. Not a surprise that my body responded to this modality after I scattered my pieces all over a boulder at Little Grand Canyon in Southern Illinois. With Polarity Therapy, it felt as though people were reaching into my spinal column and soothing it. It felt like they were stroking my insides and saying, “You’re ok now.” I was coming HOME again, to myself. A sense of peace came over me.
Lor, my mom, asked, “When are you going back to school (meaning college)?”
I replied, “I’m done. The NMSNT has changed my life.”
When I went to New Mexico I was going there to avoid work. It was an opportunity to explore new surroundings, spend time with Ronny and Mel, and help me get closer to my goal of PT. The thing is, with GAME-CHANGERS, you never know. I wasn’t looking for the NMSNT program to instill a new goal, but it did that and more.
Recently, while on a massage table receiving, I said, “Bodywork (Natural Therapy) saved my life. I don’t know where I’d be without it.” The NMSNT ~ a game-changer to say the least. Be well… Nancy T
For more on my journey, purchase “Finding My Way From Paralysis To A Rich, Full Life,” at http://naturalmassagetherapy.com/books/
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