Massaging The Man of Steel

You know a session is going to be different when the client sitting across from you gets to the part on how their issue began and it involves pushing an airplane. Originally, this client had called in requesting an “assessment and massage for a tight ankle,” but I had a hunch that this wasn’t going to be an ordinary session.

After my brain settled from the image of someone pushing an actual airplane, I began picking up on the story he was recanting. A bout of inspiration left him with the desire to run a marathon for his 65 birthday. After a few weeks of training, he clocked himself in at a 9 minute mile pace, simultaneously noticing a man of his age running a 6 minute pace but, sporting a noticeable limp!

He couldn’t believe “how fast this old geezer could get around the track,” and figured he could do just as well and finally qualify for the Boston Marathon. Just the most difficult marathon to make the cut in the US. One and a half months later, as he was coasting through a twelve mile run at a 6:15 mile pace, his right hip suddenly went into severe spasm. He had to sideline his birthday wishes for the time being because, apparently, even the man of steel has his limits.

Last year, however, he worked on a project to set the record for the fastest water jet ski run on the planet after his friend asked if he could lend his expertise. It makes sense that my client would volunteer to build the engine himself and then take it on a three day, eight hour per day test run down the California coast. Did I mention he was 72 years old at the time? You can’t sideline Superman forever.

This was turning out to be the most exciting assessment I’d ever conducted and the coolest part was yet to come! I asked if he experienced much pain or pressure in his ankle, assuming that his current workouts could be exacerbating his inflammation. He said not really, but when he got to the “high G’s” he’d feel some pressure at the top of his foot.

He was referring to the high G forces experienced in flying jet airplanes. I thought he managed an airfield or rented small aircraft when he mentioned “pushing an airplane,” but I didn’t imagine he flew prototype jet fighters to test their performance. How does one even apply for that job?

I was beginning to get a little nervous to massage him. What was he made of and would my hands be able to survive the experience?

It turns out there were just ordinary muscles under there, and I found some adhered tissues in his ankle joint that may have been causing the recurring swelling. It seemed too ‘earthlike’ of an origin story for an ankle attached to such a figure, but he was content with my findings. By the end of the session, he’d made a true fan of me. Till we meet again