Twenty-five years ago, Michael Takatsuno was a tennis pro suffering the aches and pains customary to athletic endeavors. A debilitating injury and a chance encounter with a Zentherapy bodyworker set him on a path that led, after many years of experimentation and study, to the development of a muscle therapy system to reduce pain and chronic muscle tension. He calls it PUSH, for power under soft hands, and it’s definitely a push in the right direction. According to Takatsuno, the PUSH approach not only brings relief to the client, it’s also gentle on the therapist.
Shari Sunshine is quick to note she was born to this surname, like her father before her, Dr. Sunshine, a dentist in Denver, Colo. Despite sounding New Age or trendy, her name, as well as her touch therapy — Syntropy Insight Bodywork — is rooted in ancient tradition.
Renee was 4 1/2 years old when she walked stiff-legged into my office. She was born with arthrogryposis, a congenital disease where the elbows and knees can’t bend, and the feet are often malformed. Renee had a milder form of arthrogryposis so that her arms moved, but her knees wouldn’t bend. People with arthrogryposis have difficulty with simple tasks like brushing their teeth or combing their hair. They have difficulty with walking because of foot placement. Not being able to bend the knee makes climbing, jumping or running difficult. But Renee loved to dance.
When cancer is diagnosed, many fears can arise in the mind of the patient. What will happen to my body, my family, my career? Can I stand the pain? Will I survive? Foreboding thoughts of disfigurement, difficulty in daily functioning and physical discomfort come to the forefront. Pain can be a constant reminder of the ravaging, internal monster cells hell-bent on bodily destruction. And frequently pain and anxiety reinforce each other, leading to chronic distress. Although pharmacologic pain treatments are standard, they don’t always provide the relief needed.