Q: What did the yogi say to the hot dog vendor?
A: Make me one with everything!
I ain't no doctor; I can't even spell MD, RN, CPR, HMO, AIDS, or CBC.
Several years ago I was in a bad MVA, which means a car wreck. Our car was destroyed by a large commercial truck that escaped virtually unscathed. The other driver, my young child, and I, all said we were uninjured, as we stood around being thankful we were alive and waited for the wrecker and police to arrive. Next day, my neck and shoulder started to hurt. I eventually visited two world-renowned orthopaedic surgeons. They showed me on the CT images where two of the vertebrae in my neck were obviously pinching the nerve that ran between them and out to my shoulder. I did not have any loss of motor skill or feeling, thankfully, only pain. Both surgeons recommended that I not have surgery, as long as I did not have a functional deficit, and as long as I could tolerate the pain. They recommended a physical therapist to help get me started with some exercises that would hopefully help. It didn't.
So, for a whole year, I just dealt with the pain. Sometimes it would keep me up at night. I discovered I could get some relief by sticking my elbow up in the air and holding my hand behind my head. I would work, cook, eat meals, sit in bed, ride horses, operate a vehicle, or even trail run like this for miles and miles.
Sometimes when the pain in my neck would flare up, mrs_horseman would say to me, "I am sorry you hurt. Why don't you try some stretches?" I knew that she meant yoga.
For decades, I would come home from work and find mrs_horseman practicing yoga. Like an exotic piece of new furniture, I might find her doing a hand stand in the middle of our bathroom, or knotted up in a ball in front of the fireplace. Once, while waiting for our plane at a gate, I woke up from a nap to find her doing yoga on the airport floor, wearing a "Fuck Y'all, I'm From Texas" t-shirt, with half-a-dozen men in business suits staring at her in absolute wonder.
I kept telling my wife no, I don't want to do some stretches, and I suffered in pain for about a year.
Finally, I gave in. I asked my wife if she would teach me.
She sat me down on a blanket in the living room, and opened a book, Kundalini Yoga for Strength, Success, and Spirit, by Ravi Singh. She said that we were only going to do the first three sets of three warm-up exercises. In between each set, and at the end, we would sit for a time with our legs crossed and then lie on the floor, in specific ways that are clearly and briefly described at the beginning of the book, which she had me quickly read. Then we began.
It took me maybe 30 minutes to do all nine of the simple exercises, with the prescribed rest and meditation poses between each set. I was suprised. They were not difficult. With a little instruction, I believe almost anyone can do them. However, as I lay there on the floor in corpse pose between sets and at the end of the session, I was very confused. It seemed to me that my body was somehow at war with my injury. It also seemed that maybe the injury was winning! I couldn't lie there for more than a few seconds. The pain in my neck, back, and shoulder was very obvious, but not very painful. It was a strange feeling for me.
We repeated the session the next two evenings, with much the same results, except that the pain became less obvious at the end of each session, and I was able to lie in corpse pose for much longer time periods. The day after the third session I was pain free. I have been pain free ever since, more than five years.
Over the years on Zerohedge I have frequently expressed my desire to practice disintermediation in my life wherever and whenever possible. Here was one example:
As Obamacare inexorably destroys many aspects of the health insurance system in America, if not the entire healthcare system, mrs_horseman and I have found it to be beneficial and comforting to practice disintermediation with our health, as often as is prudent. As ZH readers may know, we have removed many middlemen from our lives, such as the corporate-food-chemists making exciting new sweeteners, by producing much of our own food. We have also removed many middlemen, like drug companies, supplement companies (Herbalife), and even some doctors, by simply maintaining healthy weights with regular exercise and active lifestyles. We have dramatically reduced interactions with many middlemen, like health insurance claims processors, pharmacists, and nurses, by recognizing that given a little time, rest, and toughness, a healthy body is often able to fight off most diseases and heal most injuries on its own. In the above case of my car accident, we totally eliminated middlemen like surgeons, spinal implant sales reps, healthcare administrators, and hospital CEOs by practicing yoga.
Please do not misunderstand me. I think modern medicine is fantastic...for some things. When one of the lil_horseman breaks a leg, we don't just pray for healing. We also don't take him to the emergency room, pediatrician, chiropractor, or stand-up MRI facility. We call and then go, directly, to visit an orthopaedic surgeon. Also, as pale white people of Northern European decent with familial histories of skin cancer, we periodically examine each other from head to toe, but still pay a regular visit to a board certified skin cancer specialist with dual-fellowships in oncology and plastic surgery.
Practicing a little disintermediation in your health just takes 1) a bit of common sense; 2) the ability to understand the difference between a symptom and a medical condition; 3) a desire to not be a professional patient spending countless beautiful days in a doctor's office just to learn that you aren't dead yet; 4) the willingness to do just a little research to find the medical doctor that is board certified as a specialist in the area of whatever ails you; and 5) the knowledge that insurance companies simply cannot require pre-authorization, network participation, or a PCP referral for treatment of emergent conditions. God bless the internet!
Notice there is no chiropractor listing on that site. There is a very good reason that health insurance companies will usually not pay to have a doctor of chiropractic medicine adjust your back and wave colored lasers over you as a treatment because you fell on your elbow.
I am not necessarily saying that I believe all chiropractors are quacks. It is certainly possible. However, my personal experience, described above, matches the experiences of many other people I have talked to. So, it is no wonder that I believe back injuries, like I had, can be best addressed, permanently and cheaply, by yoga or similar self-inflicted treatments. Feel free to pay your local chiro for intermediation, 10 sessions a month, for months on end, because your insurance company sure doesn't want to. From what I have seen, only the chiropractor and the lawyer that referred you to him truly receive any benefit.
I am sure that by now many of you are saying, "Where is the part about better than internet porn, or was that just more hedgeless_horseman click bait?" Fair enough. The bad news is that it is definitely click bait. The good news is that yoga is indeed better than internet porn, but alas, probably not cheaper, at least the kind of yoga that one might find more sexually stimulating than internet porn. After all, and as horrible and damaging as it is, internet porn is widely available for free.
What I am talking about, now, is practicing yoga with other people at a commercial studio. Dear readers, I will say that you will be hard pressed to find a collection of more beautiful, healthier, sexier, hotter, sweatier, and scantily clad men and women of all ages than you will meet, up close and personal, in a typical power-flow class at any major hot yoga studio. And if that is what it took to get you to read this article, and to give yoga a try, then so be it.
Any normal people reading this article (as if) will be pleased to learn that, in reality, a typical power-flow class at any major hot yoga studio is definitely not likely to be a pervert fest. In fact, mrs_horseman and I have found it to be quite the opposite. All around the world, we have discovered that yoga class instructors and participants tend to be mentally healthy, as well as physically. The studios truly strive to be, and in fact are, Judgement-Free Zones. So, for every Caitriona Balfe and Brad Pitt lookalike, you will likely see a truly beautiful, healthy, sexy, hot, sweaty, and scantily clad Oprah Winfrey or hedgeless_horseman lookalike.
If you feel like you would be more comfortable taking the studio-instructor approach, instead of learning from a book or youtube at home, then here is a good place to start:
Unlike the Kundalini yoga warm-up exercises that mrs_horseman first had me do at home to heal my neck, hot yoga and/or power yoga can be very challenging, at first, and a great workout. Talk to the studio, let them know you are a beginner, and they will get you in the right class.
Finally, I want to offer you, dear reader, the hedgeless_horseman E-Z Internet Guarantee and Stone-Cold Leadpipe Lock for anyone, injured or healthy, beginning and completing a program of disintermediation and yoga, which is that you will absolutely increase your self-esteem. Self-esteem is something of great value. It is strange, because others cannot give you self-esteem, but they can steal it from you, by doing for you what you can do for yourself.