Friday, April 28, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The healing power of kindness, caring and compassion!

In December of 2016, Lady Gaga revealed that she is working very hard to overcome the trauma of a sexual assault that happened to her when she was 19 years old. She wrote an Open Letter about her struggles.

She said that the most powerful medicine in the world is words - kind words - positive words. There is powerful medicine in giving and receiving kindness, caring and compassion which is why she started the Born This Way Foundation.

As soon as I read Lady Gaga's Open Letter about her PTSD, I reached out to the Born This Way Foundation and shared my journey in healing the effects of severe childhood trauma and paralytic polio through my partnering with Jeffrey Spratt,MT.

When I told Jeffrey about the Kickoff for Kindness Campaign spearheaded by the Born This Way Foundation for Super Bowl Sunday, he was all in. We offered a 20 Minute ShakeOut (TM) Massage for only $20 or a savings of $20 on a massage therapy session that was 30 minutes or longer. I supported the campaign across social media outlets because it felt so good to practice kindness and giving back to clients of Spratt Muscular Therapies while bringing awareness to the work of Born This Way Foundation.

I was surprised and delighted when I received a Facebook message from the Foundation saying that they wanted to gift me a T-shirt as a way of saying thank you for my support of the Foundation in social media and for practicing kindness the way we do at Spratt Muscular Therapies.

In her Open Letter, Lady Gaga added a note from her psychologist:
It is my opinion that trauma occurs in an environment where your feelings and emotional experience are not valued, heard and understood. The specific event is not the cause of traumatic experience. This lack of a “relational home” for feelings is the true cause of traumatic experience. Finding support is key.

Peter A. Levine, Ph.D., renowned trauma expert speaks to the importance of having a compassionate presence in the wake of a traumatic event.

Jeffrey and I are conducting a research study on "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy in Trauma Recovery." It is the combination of the power of positive, quality, innovative, therapeutic touch with Jeffrey's compassionate presence that facilitates the healing of the trauma.

Dr. Murthy, the 39th Surgeon General of the United States reminds us that "We forget some of the oldest medicines are love and compassion."

Giving and receiving - being in the flow of kindness, caring and compassion heals ourselves and can heal the world.

Please be sure to visit the Born This Way Foundation website and see how you can get involved to help create a kinder and braver world.

Go the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my newly designed website at

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Reclaim Life After Trauma: The New Normal! Ten Years Later....

Life as I had known it came to a screeching halt in December of 2006. I was an award winning social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs, poised to retire in three years. I had a wonderful marriage and had raised our twins. But … the years of neglecting my body...the chinks in my defense system to manage the trauma I suffered for 9 years just 3 years after contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5 were crumbling.

The limp from polio returned. I had difficulty swallowing and breathing. Everything hurt mind, body and soul. I soldiered on to get to work every day and care for our veterans and their families. It was a slow, subtle onset of symptoms that I ignored for almost 10 years until everything was crying out for healing. When I found my way to Spaulding Rehab’s International Rehab Center for Polio and Post Polio, I was diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome and told that I should prepare to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, adapt my Cape home or move to a ranch, get a sleep apnea machine; that I might need a feeding tube and had to be on a semi-solid food diet using chin tucks when I ate, drinking liquids through a straw to avoid aspiration into my lungs, and that if I had any hope of stabilizing these symptoms where they were I must quit my job at the VA and go on disability. I turned to prayer asking for Divine Guidance as I had during the trials and tribulations of my life. What's a social worker to do? How will I ever find my way out of the dark night of my mind, body and soul?

The answer came first in the form of poetry in the cadence of Dr. Seuss that my physical therapist read to me before every painful physical therapy session as I worked to recover after contracting paralytic polio at the age of 5. The first poem I wrote? "Running the Race,” a poem that foreshadowed my 2009 Boston Marathon run as a mobility impaired runner. I quit my job on May 25, 2007 to heal my life. At the time I had no idea what that meant. I feverishly wrote poems about gratitude, health, healing and wholeness asking the question how would I ever reclaim my life and yearning to live and run unencumbered and free. My imagination was ignited to see myself as I wanted myself to be; healthy and whole free from the shackles of the effects from paralytic polio and trauma. How would I ever bridge the gap between what I saw and felt in my imagination and physical reality?

In December of 2014, I suffered a serious knee injury that was a blessing in disguise. It took 8 years of searching but I was finally led to a chiropractor, Ryan J. Means, DC or Dr. Ryan as he likes to be called and muscular therapist, Jeffrey Spratt, MT who believed in the body’s natural capacity to heal through the power of positive quality touch. Since April of 2015 I have had a quantum leap of healing mind, body and soul.

As Jeffrey explains, when we experience trauma, our bodies dump 31 chemicals into our system to prepare us for fight or flight. These chemicals along with the traumatic events leave an imprint. If not treated and healed, these get layered over and fossilized. Through the power of positive quality touch using the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy that Jeffrey pioneered, Jeffrey and I unearth AND heal these traumatic memories. In my first treatment with Jeffrey he said to me, “I want you to run unencumbered.” The tag line for his practice? Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life!

In trauma survivors, there is a build up of toxic imprints stored in the muscles and fascia. It’s an unhealthy toxic cocktail when these imprints buried deeply out of awareness meet stressful life situations in the present. As Jeffrey uncovers and gets rid of the toxins embedded in the muscles and fiber of my body through his innovative method of muscular therapy, the external stress no longer has the same impact on me. I am more aware of my reactions and can temper my responses to stress. As a trauma survivor, before partnering with Jeffrey, I went from stimulus to reaction without having the ability to pause!

Working with Jeffrey to heal trauma is a process of mental and emotional release through physical action. Layer by layer, with each treatment, the imprints are touched, brought into awareness, cleared and transformed. Triggers may remain but do not result in tonic immobility (fright) or hypervigilance and need to take action (flight). With the physical removal of the toxins and the metabolic waste that was a byproduct of the original trauma, new neural patterns can be created. Jeffrey and I are healing the physicality that once limited me.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, beatings, torture rituals at the hand of my psychotic grandmother and neglect from my mother who was addicted to prescription pain medication, I dissociated from my body in order to survive. I paid a steep price for disowning my body. All the Post-Polio symptoms I was suffering with were a result of all the gunk that built up in my body and was shutting everything down. When you unblock the body you unlock the mind and unleash the person’s human potential that was arrested by the trauma. What happens in the treatment room gets carried into my daily life. I can negotiate triggers by remembering the warmth and nurturing that happened during the treatment. Triggers that used to unnerve me for a day or days at a time without any awareness of their origins, now pass through me after I discern that they are only a memory from the past. With the awareness that is created in the safety of the treatment room and with the safe, trusting relationship with Jeffrey, I can negotiate the residuals of trauma with much greater ease. Energy once blocked and used to defend myself against the horrors of my past is now free to be used to live a vibrant, healthy life. It's a painful process but it's a good pain; a pain that signals healing and creates positive momentum rather than stagnation and repetition of patterns that are the hallmark symptoms in the wake of trauma. It's a pain that something positive is happening and pain that inevitably accompanies transformation and growth.

While many think of a new normal as adapting to a level of functioning less than what the person previously enjoyed, my new normal is experiencing life in a way that I only imagined in my poetry.

I am now able to embrace the skills that helped me to survive: organization, vigilance - paying attention to details without it crossing over into hypervigilance, planning, multi-tasking without having it cross over into OCD and can recognize when the echoes of trauma are affecting my reaction. I can right the ship and steer myself into the present. My mind is sharp and the trauma brain fog is cleared. I experience strength and honor for all that I have overcome rather than feeling less than because I am a survivor of childhood rape, torture and physical beatings. I can regulate my nervous system. The chronic fatigue and pain are gone and I'm back to endurance running - getting ready to run my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon next January.

Jeffrey's warm hands, tender heart and compassionate presence help me to create the miracle of healing in my life!

My body chemistry is changing. Research has shown that massage therapy stimulates the production of serotonin and endorphins and diminishes levels of cortisol. With this specialized method of muscular therapy, the core memories are being explored and expressed. Rather than just experiencing the rawness of it all as often happens in talking therapy, Jeffrey is providing the physical and emotional comfort so a new attachment to the file of the memory occurs. I experience what Peter A. Levine calls, “the completion of the action” I could not experience at the time of the traumatic event so my body can restore itself to its natural state of goodness. Just think of the movie "Inside Out"!

Jeffrey’s hands and heart help me to create the masterpiece of my life. He helps me to polish my once tarnished mirror so I can see myself as I was always meant to be experiencing this wondrous and wonderful new normal. Coping strategies and skills that I developed to survive can now be harnessed without the burden of trauma attached to them. Coming home after living in the war zone of my youth, healing mind, body and soul from the effects of the one two punch of paralytic polio and trauma, and living a new normal is the greatest gift in my life. As Dr. Peter A Levine said, “Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods!”

Go the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my newly designed website at

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The Healing Power of Goals

My goals after the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon was to take some time off from training for a Half Marathon again, focus on the Hyannis 10K next February and then do a Half Marathon in the Fall of 2018.

But the Universe had other ideas .... and I sure am glad!

I have a goal - to run my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon in January 2018. It's a goal that moves me to set the alarm for an early morning run with Tom - and I mean early morning run to continue to build a solid running base and do the mental training to run in any kind of weather. Whatever the weather outside and whatever the weather inside of myself!

You can read about how this goal manifested itself in my blog, Run Bermuda! Run Happy!

My goals are not about time and PR's anymore.

In Sunday's Run for the Troops 5K, it felt wonderful to not feel the pressure that used to spontaneously erupt about feeling left behind; residue from having to lug a heavy leg brace after contracting paralytic polio and working so very hard to not feel left out. I ran from the inside out without regard for the time on the clock and had the best time running with the pack enjoying the challenge. I was able to enjoy the neighborhoods we ran through and connecting with friends out on the course.

My goals are about endurance, going the distance and enjoying the journey.

Of setting goals that are just right to challenge me but not place me at risk for injury or leave me feeling miserable in the process of trying to attain them.

Training for 13.1 miles is a challenge for anyone but especially me whose body has been through so much! As much as I've been through, I have also been incredibly blessed to partner with Jeffrey Spratt,MT who knows just how to work with me and my body to prevent injury, heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and support me through training to go the distance!

Jeffrey and I are breaking ground together; blazing a trail where no one has ever been before. Anyone diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome experiences either a stabilization of diminished functioning at best as a result of the initial polio virus or a decline in functioning as one ages. He had the courage to blaze a trail in the muscular therapy community with his Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy; I've had the courage to blaze a trail in healing trauma and Post-Polio Syndrome by going through the pain that accompanies healing.

I thought I would be a Bermuda Half Marathon once and done kinda gal once I checked it off of my bucket list but then we decided to go for my second CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. It was a rough race and one in which I learned many lessons that I will bring with me as I train for and get ready to run my third CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon.

By healing both the effects of paralytic polio and trauma, clearing out the gunk that accumulated as a result of polio and trauma we are simultaneously healing the wounds and building a new infrastructure to allow me to train better and to run more efficiently with much more joy.

Rather than put pressure on myself to exceed limits, I allow myself to move forward and meet and embrace challenges that make sense for me and my body right now.

Having the goals of training for and running my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon and then running the Hyannis 10K in February with no pressure for time goals allows my mind and body to heal from the ravages of polio and trauma while facilitating healing as I move beyond what would have been expected with the diagnosis of PTSD and Post-Polio Syndrome ten years ago.

Ahhh - the healing power of goals!

To going the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my newly designed website at

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Race Report Run for the Troops 5K - The icing on the cake!

I am deeply grateful for the gift of running in my life! I came to the sport late in life and ran my first marathon - the 2009 Boston Marathon at the age of 55! It's been a very Forrest Gump kind of journey....

When good friends get together for a great cause and you have absolutely perfect running weather, you know it's going to be a great day!

I had not run a race since the 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon. I learned so many lessons during that race that I was able to apply during yesterday's Run for the Troops 5K.

Team McManus ran as part of the Merrimack Valley Striders team:

Our relationship with the Striders dates back to February 2009 when I met Ric Beaudoin who was enthralled with my journey on the road to the Boston Marathon. He brought me into the fold of the MVS running Club and L Street Running Club. I've been blessed to be the guest speaker at both Clubs sharing my journey from the diagnosis of Post-Polio Syndrome to the 2009 Boston Marathon and beyond!

As a sidebar, after yesterday's race, I saw Steve Cooper with whom I shared the mic at an MVS meeting back in 2010:

Back to the race report....There was so much pre-race excitement and festivities that I did not have time to experience pre-race jitters until right before it was gun time.

We met up with Alan Dyer, Fisher House Boston's Boston Marathon runner and fundraiser extraordinaire and his son:

and one of the members of MVS snapped this photo of us with Lyn Licciardello, the wife of MVS' founder Tom Licciardello:

We got to meet one of our dear Facebook friends, Jacqui Kennedy in real life!

You can feel the joy of what happens when running family gets together at a race!

There were bagpipes and a parade to honor our military heroes:

As we were walking toward the starting line I felt those familiar pre-race butterflies. Tom reassured me that those were completely normal and healthy; everyone gets them he reassured me.

My pre-race jitters tended to have an extra kick to them as a survivor of paralytic polio. Memories of lugging a leg brace and being left behind along with the taunts and jeers of cruel children before disability awareness was a thing plagued me. It was deeply ingrained into my body and Being. Running the 2009 Boston Marathon surely helped with my transformation but it's something that comes up at every starting line.

I realized how, in Bermuda, with the announcement of a 4 hour time limit for the Bermuda Half Marathon this year, I pushed myself and raced when I didn't have to because the finish line would be open for the marathoners. In addition, I knew the Race Director and knew he wouldn't have denied me a medal or acknowledging my finish if I went over 4 hours!

But old habits and beliefs die hard ... until you have a race like yesterday's Run for the Troops 5K.

It was an incredibly crowded field with a lot of slower paced runners at the middle and back of the pack. There was no way I could go out too fast or have that memory kick up inside of me of seeing everyone take off and leave me in the dust. I've done a lot of mental training to heal that memory but it's funny how quickly it can rear its head. After yesterday's race in combination with receiving an invitational entry to the Bermuda Half Marathon 2018, that wound is beautifully healing!

It was exhilarating to see runners ahead of me and feel that I was running with the pack. I was able to push my pace and then back down when I needed to. What a joy to run from the inside out without pressure for a specific time.

What a joy to run side by side with some of my Strider family. Robin Lynn was pushing her daughter Molly in the stroller. There were other Striders who were running in our part of the pack and it was wonderful to share some conversation and the joy of running with them. It was a challenging course and a little after mile 2 there was a hill with 248' elevation. I was able to charge up the hill without stopping and only had a +.03 split on my pace. I was able to listen to my body and knew I had to bring my heart rate down after the concerted effort on the hill. For my last mile I had a -0.42" split. My pace was the best pace I'd had in over a year and with the hills I was very pleased with my time and how I ran the race.

I finished 39/67 in my age group, 60-64 years old!

Here's Team McManus at the finish:

I have a new appreciation for who I am as a runner. I am running for health and use the sport of running to run for great causes. I run for joy. What a gift to have contracted paralytic polio and then endure 9 years of unrelenting violence and then be diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome having been told I'd spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. I appreciate everything I am able to do! I run for health and to see just what this 63 year old body can do after all I've been through!

Every step of running unencumbered and free is a gift! I am deeply grateful to Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. Every week for the past two years, Jeffrey's warm hands and compassionate presence help me to clean out the gunk from paralytic polio and trauma and his incredible skill and loving care guides my body to heal!

So many things I love about running and training but I must agree with Bill Rodgers who says that racing is the icing on the cake.

To your health and wellness,

Be sure to visit my newly designed website at

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Running for a Cause - Run For the Troops 5K

Run for the Troops 5K

An event to honor our Military and raise funds to address the needs of injured soldiers. Our donations help build homes designed for the specific injury of soldiers, other donations help combat veterans with PTSD issues.

Run for the Troops 5K – Sunday April 23rd, 2017
Most runners don’t go to most races for the cause but this event is different. This cause is one you can see the results of now. You helped us fund new homes for Joey, Josh, Kevin, Matt, Hans, and Christopher.
Now it’s Roger’s turn.

One of the things I love about running and being a part of the running community is that we run for causes. Tomorrow, Team McManus is going to lace up our running shoes for causes so very near and dear to our hearts - Veterans, Emergency Responders and their families. I was privileged and blessed to work with veterans and their families for almost 20 years at the VA. Tom's family served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. I still have a powerful connection to the veteran community and Jeffrey Spratt,MT dedicates a lot of his work as an innovative muscular therapist to helping Veterans and Emergency Responders heal the wounds of trauma through the power of positive quality touch.

Tomorrow we run for those who are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice every day for our freedom.

Tomorrow we run to help give back just a fraction of what they and their families give to us each and every day.

Tomorrow we run with our running family as part of the Merrimack Valley Striders.

Tomorrow we run to help create better tomorrows for those willing to lay down their lives for our safety and freedom every day!

Come walk/run with us! There will be race day registration and the weather is looking fine!

To your health and wellness!

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! From "Easy Out Alper" to an Invitational Entry to Bermuda: A Three-Peat!

When I was working at Booth 2828 at the Boston Marathon Expo with Ken and Nell Posmer, creators, founders, CEO and the force behind Blue Diamond Athletic Displays, Inc., a man wore a T-Shirt that said, "I was picked last in gym class...1970" and on the back, "But I've run the Boston Marathon 7 times." I wish I would have taken a picture of him and his T-shirt. I went over to him and we had a lovely conversation about starting to run later in life and the exhilaration of having run the Boston Marathon. When I shared my story with him, he was enthralled. We hugged and I wished him well in his Boston Marathon run.

In December of 2014, I thought I was going to be out of the sport of running. The MRI from a very serious knee injury indicated that I had no gastroc muscle on my left leg as a result of having contracted paralytic polio as a child, bone spurs, degenerative changes from reconstructive leg surgery, hardware removal, and 3 arthroscopic surgeries, a fatty lipoma, a torn cartilage and osteoarthritis. I was surrounded by a massage therapist, a physiatrist, a PT, PT assistants in the Aquatics Therapy program at Spaulding Rehab and fellow patients in the Aquatics Therapy class all of whom told me I was crazy to ever consider running again.

At first I surrendered and acquiesced to those messages and then I got mad...and then I got a plan.

I'd been feverishly writing poetry asking the Universe how will I ever reclaim my life and yearning to run unencumbered and free. "Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life" (available on Amazon) is an anthology of all my poetry since beginning my quest to heal my life from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma.

Well the Universe had a plan... First I met Ryan J. Means, DC, a chiropractor healer who, in addition to telling me to set goals not limits, turned me onto the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Dr. Ryan primed the pump for me to receive the powerful healing innovative touch of Jeffrey Spratt,MT. His tag line which has become the battle cry for my blog and for my life is Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! His Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy has been unlike any therapy I have experienced in the past ... and believe me... I've been to a lot of so called therapists and healers.

Through partnering with Jeffrey and experiencing Dr. Ryan's long distance healing once he moved to China to practice, I have run two CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathons.

This year's Half Marathon took a toll on me in part because of race and road conditions but also because I was focused on the 4 hour time limit for the race. Of course, Race Director Anthony Raynor would not want me to stress over the so called time limit. The finish line is open for the Marathoners as well as the Half Marathoners and it's all about experiencing the beauty of the Island and enjoying the day and the entire weekend.

But I had echoes of Easy Out Alper in the back of my mind and did not pace myself given weather and road conditions.

I finished and, because of my training and partnering with Jeffrey, was able to have a quick recovery from the race.

I was able to finish thanks to the help of my life and running partner Tom and Jamie Lee Wright, an earth angel who honored the runner's code that day of leaving no runner behind.

When Anthony Raynor came to Booth 2828 at the Boston Marathon Expo, I had no idea that he was genuinely concerned about my 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon Experience. Being conditioned to being "Easy Out Alper" and given my 2017 Bermuda Half Marathon Experience, Tom and I decided that we needed to look elsewhere for a race-cation. I was planning to dedicate my training to the Hyannis 10K in February and then run a Fall Half Marathon.

Those plans quickly changed when Anthony offered me an invitational entry to the Bermuda Half Marathon in 2018, told us about the phenomenal rates that he had negotiated with the Race Weekend Host Hotel, The Fairmont Southampton Princess Resort and at Tom's urging, that I have an early start.

I've come a long way since those days in gym class when I was picked last, picked on and taunted and teased with "Easy Out Alper."

I am going to train my hardest and be the absolute best I can be for the Bermuda Half Marathon in 2018. Jeffrey is totally on board with helping me to continue to heal from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma and support my training. Tom is excited to train and run by my side. I am so honored and blessed to have received an invitational entry to Bermuda Marathon Weekend! All the time pressure is off so that I can run from the inside out and enjoy the race as I did Bermuda Marathon Weekend 2016.

The third time is the charm! It's an incredibly exhilarating new goal to be training for a 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. As my personal trainer said to me when I asked her if I could get a little stronger after being diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome in December of 2006, "Let's see what this body can do."

To your health and wellness,

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Meet Champion Jeffrey Spratt,MT

Two years ago today I had my first massage therapy treatment with Jeffrey Spratt,MT.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance":

He greeted me at the Front Desk of Wave Health and Fitness all 6’2 and a half inches of him (6’3” on the program he once told me) dressed in his collared black Spratt Muscular Therapies shirt and beige khakis. My hands shook as I tried to complete the intake form. Do I dare trust another massage therapist? What if he turns out to be just like all the other body workers I met during these past 8 years? Was he trustworthy? After all the only thing I knew about him really was what I read on his website that contained very little information about him. When I did a google search I learned that he taught at the Cortiva Institute, had a degree in aviation and had been a practice manager at Massage Works in Quincy. I did some Facebook stalking and discovered we had mutual friends in common from L Street Running Club. I sent him a photo from One Boston Day with a Facebook message letting him know we had Facebook friends in common. He said he was looking forward to seeing me on Sunday.

With his sweeping arm gesture, he led me into his treatment room and said to Tom who had accompanied me to the appointment since I was worried about getting lost, “We’ll see you in 90 minutes.” He reviewed my intake form and put his black rimmed glasses on top of his head to make eye contact with me. I briefly told him about my trauma history and a history of polio. “Most importantly of all, you need to know that I had a very serious knee injury back in December of 2014. They told me I wouldn’t and couldn’t and shouldn’t run again. It showed I had no gastroc muscle but I’m working with a chiropractor to grow a new one. I’m registered to run the Finish at the 50 race on July 3rd.”

“Okay! Thanks for letting me know all that. Get undressed to your comfort level. I can even work through your clothes if you’d like.”

“I need to feel this guy’s touch,” I thought to myself. After all I’d been through with Joseph, my nerves conditioned to abandonment and neglect were on fire. If this was going to be the guy I was going to partner with to go the distance, then I had to let myself be vulnerable and open to experience his touch.

“The towel isn’t heated anymore,” I commented to Joseph.{the previous massage therapist I was working with}

“Everything gets colder now that it’s Spring. Oh yeah that’s right you had mentioned to me that you enjoyed the hot towel. Once the weather gets warmer outside we turn off the table heater and we don’t heat the towels anymore.”

I undressed and climbed onto the deliciously heated table and got under the sheet. I took a few deep breaths. Jeffrey knocked on the door.

“All set Mary?”


Immediately Jeffrey began to palpate my back through the sheet with strong compressions. He moved his hands over my entire body and asked, “Does the face cradle feel okay? Can you breathe okay?”

“Yes,” I said as I felt a smile come across my face.

“I’m sorry – could you remind me again where you were in the bombings?”

My tension began to melt away.

“What leg are we rehabbing?” he asked me.

“The left,” I replied

He took my left leg, bent it to a 90 degree angle and gently but confidently tapped it on the table and stretched it while using his other hand to apply pressure to different pressure points.

I was intrigued and enthralled.

I had never experienced anyone work with me the way Jeffrey worked with me in that first session. He used very little product, worked a lot through the sheets and rather than attending to an area and having it be once and done, he moved around my body and methodically went back to work on areas again. I experienced a sense of stillness and peace on the table feeling so comfortable and at ease while Jeffrey worked with me. As he finished with a clearing of the energy, he placed his left hand on my right shoulder while he turned his body toward the door. He turned his head and gently looked down at me, “Okay Mary…take your time getting up. I left a hot towel for you if you’d like to use it….Please don’t rush. Take your time. Open the door a crack when you’re dressed.”

“How are you feeling?” Jeffrey asked me as he handed me a cold bottle of water as a wine steward presents a fine bottle of wine at the finest restaurant.

“Amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”

Jeffrey warmly smiled.

“I usually tremble – I have head tremors and body tremors but I was so still and felt so at ease with you.”

“I felt your stillness,” Jeffrey replied.

“I want you to run unencumbered,” Jeffrey said with his piercing blue eyes intently looking into mine. At the time I didn’t quite take in the enormity of what he had just said. He was setting an intention for our work together that I had set early on with my personal trainer and then wrote about in my poetry for the past several years.

“I’d like to work with you,” I said knowing that my life was about to dramatically change for the better.

“Next week is after the marathon so unfortunately I only have a 60 minute appointment on Thursday for you and then I am going away but the following week I can see you at 3:00pm for 90 minutes and can book out your weekly appointments for as long as you would like. How does a year sound?”

“Sounds good to me,” I said smiling.

“Tom you have to see this guy. No really. He is the real deal. I promise you. He’s not like any of the others.”

“We’ll see,” Tom replied. “I’m just so glad that you had a good experience.”

Two years ago today my life changed forever as I experienced the power of positive, innovative quality touch infused with the intention to help me heal the effects of paralytic polio and trauma at the hands of Jeffrey Spratt, MT.

He was named SCORE Mentors and Sam's Club 2017 American Small Business Champion for innovation, community service and his dedication as a small business owner.

The journey hasn't always been easy. Jeffrey choose a career where he is a male in a primarily female dominated career. There is a high burnout rate in the profession. He had to remind himself over and over again to be true to himself and not "sell out" by the pressure to have a spa massage therapy practice. Jeffrey was blessed to receive continuous affirmations for the pioneering work he developed. He realized that his unique method of muscular therapy was critical and vital to so many clients. He is honored and humbled that his staff have embraced his method and give him feedback and ideas to continue the evolution of the work. His desire and passion to help people and work with the human body kept him in the massage therapy game now for over 15 years! Jeffrey always knew that there was a higher purpose and calling and believed in himself to not cow tow to the norms of the profession.

In Jeffrey's words, "I was fortunate enough to have success happen; affirmations kept coming and I kept changing lives. Opportunities kept presenting themselves. I always knew there was a higher purpose and a higher calling. I knew I had to set my own mark. One of my friends said to me, 'God blesses the entrepreneur with ignorance because if they knew what they were getting into, they would never start.' I had a sound foundation for my vision of Spratt Muscular Therapies but did not have the nuances and the knack. In my 3rd year, things looked their bleakest. I wasn't sure what direction to go in. I went back to basics. I trusted the work and I trusted myself. One of our favorite mantras at Spratt Muscular Therapies is, 'Don't quit before the miracle happens!' We are so glad we did not give up!"

So am I!!!

Jeffrey is a Champion of Emergency Responders, Veterans, Active Duty Military Personnel and their spouses offering a special rate of $85 for a 60 minute massage therapy session and $1/minute for his signature ShakeOut (TM) Massage. He is a Champion of trauma survivors. His compassionate presence, his innovative method of muscular therapy and all that he is has been the game changer for me to reclaim advantage and reclaim life in the wake of paralytic polio and severe abuse during my childhood and adolescence. He partners with me to heal from my nephew's suicide, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the recent stress of our daughter's illness and frequent hospitalizations. He donates his time for a research project, "The Efficacy of the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy in Trauma Recovery." He

He is a Champion of endurance runners and because of his innovative method of muscular therapy, he knows just what to do to help me achieve my goals on my health and wellness journey.

He is a Champion of compassion, of innovation and community service and he is a Champion in my world. Since partnering with him I'm back to endurance running, have diminished the symptoms of PTSD, work out 5 days a week and feel better at age 63 than I have in my entire life, mind, body and soul.

Two years ago I was blessed to begin a journey to reclaim my advantage and reclaim my life ... I am so excited for what's next!

To your health and wellness,

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! Run Bermuda! Run Happy! - My Third Consecutive Bermuda Half Marathon

Tom and I kept saying that we should probably leave the Boston Marathon Expo on Saturday as our day of helping out our friends Ken and Nell of Blue Diamond Athletic Displays was drawing to a close, but there was a steady flow of customers and we were caught up in the magic and excitement of all that is the Boston Marathon. Be sure to visit Blue Diamond Athletic Displays website by following this link. Tom and I are proud owners of two of their displays with more to come given that we are both blessed to be running long and strong.

Tom and I were facing each other talking about our plans for the rest of the evening when Tom yelled out, "Anthony!"

Anthony said that Tom ruined the surprise when he called out his name. We hugged and Anthony introduced us to his cousin who is in Boston receiving treatment for breast cancer.

Although I was not planning on running Bermuda again and Tom and I were exploring other race-cations for 2018, once you make a friend in Bermuda, they are a friend for life. Anthony has been at the Boston Marathon Expo for several years representing his race, Bermuda Marathon Weekend. I remember how quickly Tom and I would walk by their booth believing that there was no way we'd ever go to Bermuda for Race Weekend....except that before my nephew's suicide in 2011 happened, it WAS on my bucket list.

I'd crossed it off my bucket list until first I met Ryan J. Means, DC who reminded me to set goals not limits.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" available on Amazon:

As Dr. Ryan worked on my feet I said, "Wow." He asked me if the pressure was too much and I said, "Oh no. I just went to that place within me that ran the Boston Marathon." I told him there is nothing in the world like training for and running a marathon. As I thought about it, I felt exhilarated and then had a moment of "I can't run another marathon." I realized that I was remembering running a marathon in my body as it was then not the body I am today and certainly not the body that keeps changing, evolving, getting strong and healing all that went before. Dr. Dispenza cites with case studies including his own healing experience, proof that the body has tremendous capacities to heal. Dr. Ryan planted the seed for going the distance again as he asked the question, “Why set limits?” Why set limits indeed. I decided to ditch all the negative self talk, the naysayers who encourage me to set limits and to only take yes for an answer!

Shortly after meeting Dr. Ryan as he likes to be called, I met Jeffrey Spratt,MT, pioneer of the life changing Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy. He asked me "What leg are we rehabbing" following my serious knee injury in December of 2014.

From "Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance" when I had my comeback race, Finish at the 50 on July 3, 2015:

Next up was the Bermuda Marathon Weekend booth.

Now what's pretty amazing here is that I had set my sights on running the Bermuda Marathon for my 60th birthday in 2013. But then life happened. I never thought about it again. Tom and I had stopped by their booth at other Expos and quickly dismissed ever going back to Bermuda never mind running a race there. Never say never! Tom started chatting with Clarence "Stoker" Smith and I joined in the conversation. We both felt a tug at our souls and the more we talked with Clarence and Race Director Anthony, the stronger the tug. We reminisced about when we used to go there with Herb Simmons and the Sea and Surf Anglers Club who had a tournament with the Bermudian Blue Waters Angler Club. I felt goosebumps and a warm feeling all over. Anthony told me that I'd be better off running the Half Marathon rather than the 10K because of the steep hills on the course. I told them that the last time I was in Bermuda I was in a leg brace and using a wheelchair to travel. Clarence's wife said, "Look at you now girl."

We exchanged information. Clarence told us he'd take us out on his boat when we came down for the weekend. I chatted with Anthony about the weather in January. "Look," he said in that delicious Bermudian accent. "I was told you people still have piles of snow near the Seaport Hotel from this past winter. I can guarantee you this. You will have no snow in Bermuda in January."

And so began my journey on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon; a race that had been on my bucket list but seemed so unattainable until April 19, 2015. From the moment Jeffrey touched me and began his treatment using the Spratt Method of Muscular Therapy, I knew that my life would change for the better and that I would be able to go the distance again. I had not been able to run more than a 10K since I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon.

I emailed Anthony before this year's Boston Marathon Weekend and asked him if he'd be in Boston for the Marathon thinking he'd be at the Expo but I didn't see his name on the list of vendors. He told me, however, that he would be at Booth 2828, the Blue Diamond Athletic Displays booth, and see me. When he didn't come on Friday, I emailed him thinking that I probably wouldn't see him this trip since I hadn't heard back from him.

We hugged as only one hugs when a Bostonian and Bermudian reunite, and snapped the above photo. He told me that he was in town for the Race Directors Training Experience. He told us about running the 5K earlier in the day. He also shared that he is thinking about having a walking Half Marathon in Bermuda in the early Spring. He could see how excited Tom and I became. We talked about changes that happened on the Island, my reasons for not running Bermuda again but that I would be interested in returning to the Island for a walking Half Marathon. He told me what happened with this year's Bermuda Marathon Weekend race and steps he was going to take to prevent it from happening again next year.

"We negotiated a great price with the Fairmont Southampton Princess," he told me. "$189/night." He shared with me that he could not negotiate a rate with The Rosedon and we talked about the changes that were happening at The Rosedon that was one of the reasons we were not going to return to that property and probably not the Island for awhile. Pictured below are photos from the Fairmont Southampton Princess.

We were there for the after party this year. It is the host hotel for Race Weekend.

"How about if I gave you a complimentary race entry," Anthony offered and Tom quickly asked, "Could we do an early start?" "Of course. We just need to work it out with the timing company," Anthony replied.

In addition to the traffic issue, I had also put a lot of pressure on myself because of the 4 hour limit for the Half Marathon that had been posted on the website and in social media. As I look back on it, I did go out too fast and was not honoring the weather conditions. I was racing rather than enjoying the truly uniquely Bermudian experience that is Bermuda Marathon Weekend.

While I have experienced so much healing and have reclaimed so much of my life and advantage through the power of partnering with Jeffrey, I am still healing from the effects of paralytic polio and trauma. I push myself hard every week, 5 times a week as I continue to rebuild the infrastructure of this once severely damaged beautiful body. It takes time and patience.

I have fallen in love with the process and know the results are coming. I adapt the pace of nature - patience - and now, thanks to Anthony's compassion, generosity and truly Bermudian hospitality, I will be able to train for and run my 3rd CONSECUTIVE Bermuda Half Marathon. I will #runbermuda and #runhappy.

To your health and wellness,

My latest book, 'Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance' is available on Amazon chronicling my journey to health and wellness as a survivor of paralytic polio and trauma and a woman who refused to quit!