Unwinding What Triggered My Journey Into Holisitc Therapies

“Shittt! Shit! Shittt! Oh my God! Seriously? Owww..” My arms were swinging below the massage table, my hands were grasping at the closest wall, banging them tight-fisted. My toes were curled tight and I was thudding one of my feet into the table. “This is supposed to help me right?”

I continued working at the restuarant, but  I was also working at the a high end sports retailer – the one that went belly up. I’d met many interesting healthy sports minded people. Lots of travelers, climbers, cyclists, skiers, boarders. One particular day one of my colleagues Richie had some friends stop by after work. He’d actually been taking about them for a while saying how great they were.  One of them was a massage therapist and he wouldn’t stop talking about how good this guy was.

I hadn’t had a lot of “work” done on me since that first major accident in university. The accident was Oct ’95 and it was now 2001. Remember –  my ex had no insurance for that car to even be on the road, so I didn’t get treatment right away in a time that is most crucial for healing. When I started to get some, it was a little physio. Then that mandatory chronic pain program a couple years later which was no therapy and useless for me. Then maybe 2 massages from that guy when I went to Algonquin. This was now 6 years later and I had been living with this chronic pain riddling my body ever since and just lived with it. I didn’t take pain killers and didn’t have money to treat it and really wasn’t offered any solutions. I didn’t believe in pain killers and wanted to find the source of the issue and heal it naturally.

I still remember meeting him. I was on my way up the stairs to the tent department (very cool room by the way – picture an entire second floor decked out with 15 colourful high-end tents – any kids Fort dreamland). We often took naps in the tents during break time as they were decked out with thermarests etc. Until an unsuspecting customer went looking inside!

As I was going up my colleague Archie yelled at me,

“Hey Kate meet Emillio Maximo. Emillio Maximo, meet Kate. I looked back and Emillio looked right at me and came up to me and shook my hand firmly.

“It’s nice to meet you Kate.”

I never forgot that. I’ve always recognized when someone has a firm handshake AND looks you in the eye. There was also something about the way he looked me in the eye that had this kind of I see you sense to it.

I don’t remember the first few times we met now – I think they were social gatherings with a number of people just hanging out, chilling, having some pints after work on east commercial drive in Vancouver.

Meeting this person was important to me. Something that happened while he worked on me would set off my search in getting properly treated for the pain my body was carrying. We became friends and eventually he worked on me.


It didn’t feel good ladies and gentleman. In fact, it killed like a son of a gun. When he worked on my in his small room, I could literally bang the walls – which I did – and moaned and cursed during the work. Have you ever had rolfing? This was worse. To this day I have never found a therapist that works the way he does and I’ve searched high and low. Why did I continue to go? I wasn’t going to “relax” I was going to take pain away. I would be freezing cold when I left, and after two days, I could move – more freely – my body wasn’t as crooked. He even worked inside my inside my mouth on my jaw. ‘Killed. Like.a.son.of.a.bitch. Awful. Like really awful. I’d be balling the whole time tears streaming down my face. All that orthodontal work amongst the car accident and me wanting to save my brain, but jamming my arms into my jaw, and the un-elasticized metal brackets getting lodged into my gums and the ER doc putting four freezing needles through my face into my jaw because he couldn’t get to the gums – my jaw is not a happy camper. Still isn’t actually. I’m not sure what it will take, but I wish the pain and tightness would go away.

I tried to see him as regularly as I could, but it was tough on a minimum wage  and paying my bills. I saw him around every 2 weeks, sometimes with breaks between. In the winter I went to see him and had a most peculiar thing happen that scared the bageezuz out of me.

He had worked on me an hour or more, possibly two as he would do sometimes. When we were done, I went to the ladies room and as I was sitting there all of a sudden, my neck and my head started twisting to the sides rather rapidly. It scared the shit out of me. It seem to be just happening naturally. I wasn’t shaking my head intentionally. It was doing it and I was trying to stop it and at the same time it seem to have a force of it’s own, but I wasn’t basically tripped out that this was happening without me engaging it. It calmed down and I walked back to the room quite timid and he asked me how I was doing and I told him that something weird happened in the washroom and I didn’t understand and quite frankly I was a little freaked out.



“Unwinding. You were unwinding.”

“I don’t know what that is Emillio.”

“It’s ok. Your body was just responding to the work I did.”

“I’m scared. I don’t understand.”

“It’s ok. It’s actually a good thing. Go home and have a bath and go to sleep. Don’t worry. If it starts to do it again, just let it happen. If you need to call me. Try not to fight it.”

I left the office. I hated the commute back. It was way out in boonieville, it was freezing out and  my body temperature dropped even more after his work, and then having to take a bus all the way back downtown. I’m sure he would have offered me a lift, but he was an extreme athlete and  cycled back and forth to work daily. I went home and my body did start to “unwind” as he called it more. I tried to just let it happen a bit. I think he called to check on me as well.

After this happened/ I was very curious what this response was my body was having and how I could happen with out me controlling or telling it to do so – that’s what scared me the most. What else was in there? I remember asking him more questions, but he didn’t wan to press the issue. Just that things happen when they happen.

Within a couple months, having holding 3 part-time jobs none other them in my field at this point and no forseeable design work. 911 had just happened and companies marking departments were the first to feel the effects and as a designer we felt the fallout from that. Vancouver, was also not the bustling metropolis I thought it would be. There is not lot of big communications companies there. I had been there around 2 years and decided to up and move cold turkey to Toronto.

I took the train across the country and sold my furniture (roommate never paid me for it even though I trusted him and he was supposed to). The train took 4 days to Ottawa with a night time layover, so I took advantage of that as my home town before moving on to Toronto.

Massage Heals. Find an excellent massage therapist. Educate yourself on various massage trainings. Typically certified is better. If you are looking for healing massage therapists or therapies in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver I can help you out. Otherwise, you’re on your own. Look for multidisciplinary clinics. Often your local health food store bulletin board or yoga studio can have talented massage therapists with numerous modalities under their belt. A referral from someone you trust is always going to be the best referral.

All my Ottawa government friends. You have 5-6 massage allowances on your insurance. Go treat yourself to a massage even though you think you don’t need one. I don’t know a single soul who hasn’t loved a massage after receiving one. And, if you have never had one, then no, you don’t know if you need one if you have never tried!

Find a registered massage therapist in Ontario:

Typical sessions: 1/2 hr – 1 hr – 90 min – 2 hrs
Typical Price Range: $60 – $120 / 1 hr. ($80-$100 average)

‘Miss my excellent Massage Therapists,

Red Fingerprint Listening to: “Land Down Under” by Men at Work
Locale:  On route to Ottawa from NY.
State of mind: Wishing for my literary agent to appear…

© 2013 by Kate Flood. All rights reserved.