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Saturday 20 April 2024

Bones, gristle and chat

I can’t remember whether Gary is officially a chiropractor, a physiotherapist or an osteopath. Not that it matters. Once he eased me out of the worst (ie, sciatic) pain ever. Now I visit randomly even when I’m pain-free. During his pummelling he usually isolates a muscle or other flexible bit which profits from his ministrations. Good to stretch.

This time it’s what you might call a triple date. I’m without a car so daughter Occasional Speeder drives me there and also gets pummelled. I’m first on the table and as usual there’s wall-to-wall talk. For some reason I recall my RAF training when I deliberately made myself the most unpopular occupant of a 24-man billet and how this led two quite serious fights. Gary’s a decent sort and he ums and ahs politely then steers the conversation to somewhere less pugilistic.

When Occasional Speeder takes to the table I get to see the pummelling from a more objective viewpoint. In particular, strange two-handed flicks up and down her spine, too fast to follow. Then OS’s arm is held vertically with the hand made to describe figure-of-eight patterns; it’s almost balletic. My concentration lights on a (presumably) plastic model of a backbone with an odd asymmetrical attachment at the top. I intend to ask Gary about this, but by now the talk has risen to a noisier level as we shout our condemnation of the present Tory government.

Should one undergo pummelling even when there’s no tangible pain? Or am I really there for the chat? Gary’s got a heavy-duty electric pummeller that’s new to me; to the patient it’s like a badly sprung car riding over a bumpy road. But only for a few seconds. Outside it’s sunny and I realise how rare this is in 2024. 


  1. I go for a regular Thai massage even though the aches and pains I first went for have long gone. I regard it as part of my health care . I used to go to a sports massage place but the Thai massage is much more rigorous and the end result is that I walk better and my blood circulates at least for a day or two after. Her English isn't that good so conversation is limited. All massage is good so you can't go wrong with carrying on with it in my opinion.

  2. Rachel Phillips: To which I would add conversation (ie, the real thing, a wholly civilised process that's a million miles away from argument where one or both participants is/are intent on winning) is also beneficial. Conversation implies that the same levels of discipline are applied to listening as well as talking, and it's good for the mind. Especially for people involved (like me) who live a restricted social life in which talk may be limited to one's partner or, in more pressing instances, to no one at all.