ALL I WANT IS 
A LITTLE MIRACLE

    "I've got a present for you," I said to my wife a few months ago.
    "What did you buy for yourself this time?" she asked as I led her into our home gym that was at one time a garage that was actually used.
   "TA DA!!!" I exclaimed as she set her dubious eyes on a brand spanking new shaking machine that only cost $2300.
   I didn't tell her the price, at least not right away. First I explained how many times I tried it at the sales place, and how it really helped my perennially stiff legs. Then I asked her how much my health is worth, in her opinion.
   She didn't venture a guess. Instead, she reminded me of some other gadgets I bought on a whim and ended up never using. I told her that was then, and this is now. The shaking machine was definitely going to improve my life.
   And it did, for about a week. Then the "exercise," where you stand on the platform and it shakes the living bejeesus out of your whole body, began to take a toll on my right knee, which apparently didn't like being shook. So I haven't used it since.
   Instead, I decided that I was missing an important supplement that was causing my leg muscles to be ridiculously stiff. I've never been flexible (I was the only kid in kindergarten who couldn't sit in an Indian position). Yoga has helped, but in the last year or two the leg stiffness has reached another level. So I became determined to combat it.
   With the shaking machine destined for E-Bay, it was time to get information on supplements. Not surprisingly, everyone had an opinion.
   "Tumeric," mentioned a friend when the subject came up. "I used to be very stiff, but now I bounce out of bed in the morning."
    I'd never heard of Tumeric before, which was a good thing. It was obviously a miracle supplement because it cost $59.00 for 60 pills, so I bought some and optimistically dropped one down my throat, wondering how I would reward that friend for saving my life.
   Didn't have to, because it didn't help. Then I added, upon the recommendations of others, Potassium and Magnesium to the mix. Stiffer than ever.
   Another friend, who is into homeopathic medicine, researched stiffness in the legs and announced all my problems would be solved if I ingested Rhus toxicodendron, which was available in all organic supermarkets.
   "What is it?" I asked, not entirely convinced.
   "Its main ingredient is an extract from poison ivy," she explained. "Just give it a try."
   So I did. The good news is that I didn't start itching all over. The bad news is it didn't help my stiff legs.
    Having run out of ideas for miracle supplements, I decided to go see a physical therapist and see if he had any ideas. Some might suggest this was the first thing I should have done. But that would have been too easy.
   The first thing he said is that if I'm not cramping, which I'm not, it's probably not related to minerals, or lack thereof. That information alone would have saved me about $300 and a lot of pill popping.
    He casually mentioned that age might be a factor, but we both laughed that one off, since he was about the same age as me.
   After a short examination and a lot of questions, he suggested that I try Rolfing, which is a deep-tissue massage therapy that breaks up the fascia and scar tissue that surrounds the muscles. I'd heard about it and all I knew was that it was excruciatingly painful.
   "I want the pain," I bravely declared. "No pain, no gain."
   So off I went to a recommended Rolfer. I walked into her office in Sausalito and learned that she discovered Rolfing while dancing professionally in the ballet.
   I expected Brutus and I got a ballerina. "HURT ME, DAMNIT," I cried as she worked my leg muscles in a scientific way that didn't hurt much at all. In fact, it was rather soothing.
   I've had three sessions now, and unlike shaking and supplements, it actually seems to be working. I now get out of the car after a long drive like a vibrant 88 year old, not the 95 year old I felt like last month. That's a start.
 

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