“What you tolerate, you accept” – Cassidy Phillips
As we wear and tear, and we all do, we have a choice. We can chalk up those aches and pains to age, work and lifestyle. We can take pride in the battle scars and soldier on, fuelled by NSAIDS and ice and anything else that gives us temporary relief though these are usually just ways of delaying the inevitable.
Or we can take charge and begin the task of restoring ourselves, rebuilding from the ground up.
Tim Ferriss has an interesting chapter in his new book “The Four Hour Body”. In true Ferriss style he decides to reverse permanent injuries that have plagued him after years of physical abuse. Now admittedly, his initial approach is based on “money no object”, exposing himself to the kind of cutting edge medical interventions normally reserved for high level athletes.
And the outcome after four months? The Harvard trained spine specialist reviewing his MRIs tells him “I could not appreciate any before-and-after difference”. At one point, on the back of a series of injections and prescriptions for a shoulder impingement he is told that he’ll “…just have to live with it”. All this for seven thousand dollars…to add injury to insult, Ferriss picks up a staph infection from one of the injections that adds another ten thousand dollars to his bill.
So, the “30 year old in a 60 year old body” decides to look elsewhere. Movement. Ferriss looked at Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga, Egoscue. manipulation through massage, acupuncture, ART and AMT. And medication, some conventional, some alternative.
The key interventions were Vibram style footwear, to eliminate lower back pain. Escogue Method for cervical, neck and mid back pain. Advanced Muscle Integration therapy for Pecs, glutes and calves. Active release Therapy for Shoulder internal rotators and treatments for knee, wrist, infraspinatus and achilles. We are talking one seriously messed up guy here! But a selection of these methods solved the problems “conventional medicine” couldn’t fix. Methods that, for the most part, simply involved him taking control and implementing body work, mobility and movement strategies to get out of pain. Get the book, read the journey. It is a sobering but ultimately empowering tale and Ferriss deserves our respect for reporting back and sharing his findings.
Sadly, the first part of this story is not unusual. We all know people who have lived with pain, struggled to find a solution and ultimately gone down routes that have only offered temporary relief, if any.
If only Ferriss had met Cassidy Phillips somewhere along the road. Phillips faced his own Waterloo. Told his athletic days were over due to fibromyalgia he began his own journey to get out of pain and get moving again. That journey led to the creation of Trigger Point Performance Therapy, a clinical and self care system that offers a personal, hands on approach to biomechanical dysfunction and pain.
Some time ago I was introduced to The Grid by Jonathan Lewis from Balance Performance. Jonathan has been at the forefront, introducing the Trigger Point Performance Therapy to the UK. I thought the Grid looked interesting, a foam roller with knobs on. It was only once I started using it properly, breathing deeply, exploring areas of tension and release that I began to understand just how valuable it was. I purchased the Ultimate 6 TPPT kit, a more sophisticated set of self myofacial massage tools and began to work my way through the manual. The tools are unique. The process is scalable. The results and benefits are, for me at least, immediate.
Jonathan visited us in Edinburgh to teach an excellent Trigger Point Therapy workshop, delivering a comprehensive introduction to TPT’s Ultimate 6 method. It was almost 5 hours of in depth instruction with plenty of time to review and ask questions. Most of us are subject to similar daily stressors and challenges – desk work, commuting, lack of sleep, deadlines and demands. This loop of inefficiency slowly saps our energy and sets us up for injury. For athletes and average Janes and Joes alike, Ultimate 6 is a gift.
The Ultimate 6 method looks at the precursors for effective biomechanics. Hydration, posture, breathing and muscular elasticity are key. The system itself logically works from the ground up, using the TPT tools to address the various parts of the chain. We start with the Soleus moving on to the Quadriceps, IT band, Psoas, piriformis and pectorals. There are a number of complementary drills that target additional areas. It looks to restore movement and function, eliminating pain and distress.
The Myofascial Compression Techniques that TPT employs target specific muscles focussing on adhessions and trigger points. The process is slow, controlled and using simple breathing patterns the practitioner works in a relaxed manner, teasing out the dysfunctions. What is perhpas most interesting is the trigger points themselves invariably refer pain to other parts of the body. For me, a focus on the psoas has a profound effect on my lower back, the area I struggle with most. The tools are yours to implement, the results are yours to value. The process is brief and accessible. Do it and you benefit. Simple
I recently had an introduction to Kinesis Myofascial Integration thanks to bodyworker and S&C coach Cedric Unholz. I can already see how TPT and KMI crossover and I am looking forward to seeing the results.
Like Simple Strength’s own Mandatory Mobility, TPT has become a non-negotiable for me and like Ferriss, I have my fair share of injuries but thankfully I have the tools to deal with them.
If you have any interest in really taking charge, getting out of pain and getting back in the game you owe it to yourself to check out TPT. If you are looking for an excellent Manual Therapist in Edinburgh, drop Cedric a line, tell him Rannoch sent yah!