I’m about to tell you a story…something that happened to Diane and me this afternoon. But before I do, my disclaimers. I’m not any kind of spiritual guy. I’ve walked that path, both in the conventional, North American, churchy/religious sense as well as exploring Eastern concepts of spirituality on my own. I’ve considered some “new age” concepts and when it was all done, nothing stuck and I’m perfectly fine with that although some others aren’t.
I’ve also had my share of health issues and take great exception with the state of the current medical “system” in the states. A healthcare model that operates “for profit” will never put the needs of the patient ahead of the greed for profit.
Further, I don’t think that conventionally trained physicians know everything about healing, the body’s natural energies or alternative treatments. I also don’t believe that all alternative treatments work. There! All my disclaimers…done!
So, back to our amazing experience this afternoon. It was a gorgeous afternoon here on Ecuador’s coast. The Pocket Babe and I wanted to get the hell outta’ the house. Where to? I suggested taking Carmine and driving north, up the coast. Diane reminded me that Carmine was a bit of a wiggly traveler and alternately suggested that we head over the bridge to Bahia and check out the large crop of tourists currently visiting from Quito and the high country. No problem! Let’s go! We snagged some water for Carmine and bailed out.
Driving down the malecon revealed, as expected, hundreds of cars parked alongside with families enjoying the day at the beach. We drove for a while, eventually finding a place to park, got out of the car and looked both directions.
Diane said, “Left” and off we went, Carmine trotting along beside us. We walked for maybe half an hour watching all the families enjoying the beach. Kids play the same in any language!
Diane was hungry and pointed to a booth set up next to a small park. They were selling a variety of ice cream products, smoothies and such. We greeted the man who we later learned was the owner of the business and struck up a conversation while he prepared our order. Turns out, he has a daughter living in Boca Raton, Florida. His English skills and my Spanish skills were about equal and Diane and I had no problem communicating in a mixture of both languages.
We learned that he had lived in various places in Ecuador including the Oriente. He explained that he had been trained by several Brujos (kinda like a shaman) in several healing arts to include the use of local plants as well as a special form of massage. In a moment, he urged Diane to stand and he took her hands and told her to look into his eyes.
Right then, I was sure we were being hustled. It wasn’t a problem and I was fully prepared to give the guy a couple of bucks but…that is not at all what happened! I slowly reconsidered my first instinct.
First, this man did not look like a street vendor. His appearance was that more of a professional, his clothing and hygiene in first-rate condition. Second, it did not look like he “needed” to hustle us for a couple of bucks. His business was doing great!
After squeezing and gently pinching Diane’s hands and looking into her eyes, he stated that “you have problems sleeping” and “You have a lot of tension in your shoulders”.
Okay…most of us have a lot of tension in our shoulders so that wasn’t exactly a mind blower but the sleeping thing? He could have said anything like, “you have digestion problems” or “you have problems walking” or you are having problems with your vision or hearing”or any damned thing. Nope! He picked the two specific things that Diane has struggled with for decades even after years of massage and physical therapy.
He grabbed two oranges off his counter top and moved Diane into several positions while she stood right there, next to his ice cream booth on the sidewalk. He took the oranges and pressed them into Diane’s shoulders, moving them in a precise pattern. He then took her head into his hands, rolling it from side to side and then with a quick movement and a large pop…her neck was somehow adjusted. Chiropractors do that all the time. I was still not impressed. He did the same on the other side, cracking her neck. He then pulled her arms upright and moved her arms, stretching, pulling and twisting her torso in the process. In less than five minutes, he was done.
“It’s completely gone…the whole neck and throat thing I’ve had for decades…it’s GONE”.
I could see Diane becoming quite emotional. Since we’ve been together, she has been in chronic pain. She has been to a variety of massage therapists, physicals therapists and every other possible remedy provider. We have spent a good bit of money on these potential solutions, always hoping for some relief. Never once…not one time did she come out of any session saying, It’s gone!
I was skeptical right up to the point where my wife told me it was all gone and she began to weep. That made me a complete believer. Diane was telling him that this was the first time in decades that she had been without pain. He went on to tell us about the alignment of the earth’s energy with our bodies and about his training with those who knew about such things. He explained that he still practiced a few times a week with some clients but his other business kept him pretty busy.
He asked me to stand. I said, “No Thanks”. I told him I didn’t have any problems. I lied.
I relented and stood. He grasped my hands and looked into my eyes as he had with Diane. In a few seconds, he told me I had a problem with my entire left side and that I had arthritis in my shoulders. Both…completely true. I had a small stroke on my left side a number of years ago but most would never know. I worked very hard to bring my body back into functioning conditioning….and my shoulders often ache horribly. I have lost some range-of-motion in my arms as a result.
I gladly paid the man, whose name is Cesar, and collected his phone number. Then, Diane and I began our return walk to our car some blocks away. As we walked, Diane began to weep again and finally we sat on the sea wall.
“You can’t imagine what it’s like to be without pain”, she said. She was right. What she should have said was that I couldn’t imagine living with pain all the time. We sat some more and reflected on the events.
So, some alternative techniques mixed with what appeared to be a good knowledge of body mechanics has, at least for now, removed a huge health issue for my wife and in only a few minutes. What was never improved over decades by a variety of conventional remedies was corrected in only a few minutes on the sidewalk of a South American country by a guy who says he was trained by shamans.
I’ve concluded that this is one of those things that I must simply accept, without complete understanding. I saw what I saw.
I’m probably going to call Cesar next week and see what kind of things he can do for arthritis in my shoulders. He said he had some special plants. Why not! This is Ecuador and every day needs to be a new adventure.