UPDATE: This blog post is not an endorsement. I'm just explaining a surprising result in my case. I have no idea or any way to know if it would be helpful for anyone else.
Do you know what this is? Or what it is for?
Stick with me here and I'll tell you.
Until 2017, I spent 76 years being so healthy that I hardly noticed my body. The occasional cold, the even fewer influenzas over decades repeatedly confirmed my long-settled expectation that good health was just how I rolled in life.
I didn't even think my health was particularly remarkable. It just was. Until it wasn't anymore.
Until cancer and, subsequently, COPD too, I thought of medical treatment in terms of big, serious stuff – hospital, surgery, prescription drugs. It turns out (and maybe you already know this) that much more mundane, ordinary remedies do a lot of good.
In January, I told you about my first big surprise in this regard – pulmonary rehab. With simple exercises and breathing techniques, the nurses moved me within a few weeks from being incapable of walking between the bedroom and kitchen without stopping once and sometimes twice to catch my breath, to sailing along the hallway.
Okay, not sailing. But it's been a long time now since I even thought about my breathing in and around the house.
A second problem has been neuropathy pain in my feet – tingling on my soles but worse, huge pain in my heels, particularly when I wake in the morning or get up from a chair after sitting for more than 15 or 20 minutes.
I mean really bad pain. I'd been gritting my teeth while I walked around like a crab for a couple of minutes until the pain subsided a bit and I could almost function.
Two weeks ago I found myself with another rehab therapist who specializes in feet, only feet. In addition to some exercises, she handed me a therabrush, also called a therapressure brush. (See image above)
My new therapist showed me how to use the brush in a circular motion on my heels - while I tried not to laugh out loud. How could what looked like a small, oval shoe brush keep pain at bay, I wondered.
I was just as skeptical at home when I placed the therabrush on the table next to my bed, and tried it for the first time the next morning sitting on the side of my bed.
After a few rounds of pressure on one heel and the other as I moved the brush round and round, I put my feet on the floor and stood up. I took a tentative step. And then another. And another.
And there was no pain. Or, rather, so little that it didn't matter.
Once again, one of those physical therapy folks showed me who's boss. If I had only read about this and not been directed by a therapist, I would never have tried it. Now I use it every day.
Mostly, in the news and on medical television shows, we hear only about the heroic means of healthcare and saving lives. They don't show us what a new way to breathe or 30 minutes of morning exercises or a cute little brush can improve our lives. A whole lot.
It's a good thing for me that these wonderful professionals don't withhold their expertise from non-believers like me, and I am most grateful for that.
A short and shallow trip around the internet shows me that there are other uses for these brushes but you're on your own to track down those. (Just search “therapy brush”.)