I first started getting integrative acupressure from Ted Schiff at Valley Massage Therapy in January of 2017. At the time I was frustrated with current efforts to rehab my back which I had injured at work, including physical therapy and anti-inflammatories prescribed by my doctor. I decided to go after this chronic lower back pain with everything I had, and I tried traditional oil massage with my go-to person as well as an actual visit to my doctor about the issue. The oil-based massage provided temporary relief but did not deal with the problem in a long term way. The doctor’s visit was a rehashing of information I had already been told, that my left leg was slightly longer than my right, that getting an MRI would not be helpful in this situation because even if it revealed problems such as a bulging disc, there would not be anything that could be done to fix them. My doctor remained optimistic that the problem was muscular and not sciatica or anything else nerve or spine related. I am a creative thinker and to me this explanation just did not seem sufficient and I refused to believe that nothing could be done to reduce the pain I felt after long periods of sitting and standing.
My doctor mentioned that to balance out the leg differential I should have my physical therapist put a lift in my right shoe, a generic half inch lift, that would compensate for the length differential between the legs. Additionally, he prescribed me stronger anti-inflammatories, over the counter. I had been using ibuprofen. I was at this point fed up with western medicine’s lack of a dynamic approach to this issue. I did not blame my individual doctor because I knew that he was doing everything correctly with the knowledge base and school of thought that he came from. But something felt missing. My mother recommended Ted to me and I figured I would give it a shot because she spoke so highly of him and his techniques. Ted explained to me very thoroughly his knowledge base in shiatsu and Thai yoga massage and his combined form of integrative acupressure that I receive. He went into detail about the eastern basis of his work and the extensive academic and hands on training he received. Only a few minutes into the session, after I told Ted that my legs were different lengths, he said that to have significant differences in leg length is rare but possible, but most people simply have tight hips that cause the discrepancy. As an avid squash player I thought that that more likely than not described me. Sure enough, after minutes of work on my right hip and leg my legs came out to an even length, and that moment was the beginning of me finding more answers to my problem.
Huge satisfaction and relief came from continued work and consultation with Ted, and I use the ribbed foam roller he gave me almost every day to loosen my muscles. My back pain has been helped significantly, and though it persists I continue to try new methods based on my experience and intuition to alleviate pain. Physical therapy and anti-inflammatories were a moderately helpful approach, but this relief and strengthening only has been significantly helpful in combination with Ted’s bodywork, foam rolling and yoga. Yoga has been my newest healing attempt and has proved very helpful for strengthening similar to what PT does, and helps with not only the pain but my attitude and anxiety surrounding it as well. I am excited to be going to medical school, particularly osteopathic medical school, because this allows me to bridge the gap between traditional western and alternative holistic treatment options. I believe it is essential to explore both pathways in the route to effective disease prevention and treatment. Ted has not just been a massage therapist to me but also like an alternative doctor because of the vast amounts of information and skills he has provided me with. I am passionate about the Holistic Health movement and I firmly believe that integrating licensed holistic professionals into our realm of insurance-accepting healthcare and therefore including far more people in these great treatment options will increase the quality of the patient experience in preventive care and in doing so greatly reduce long term health care costs in our state and country.
My testimony as a patient and an incoming medical student Evan Jacobson 6/6/2017