Physiotherapists Are MagicVulcanNinjas (and I Need to Get More Used to Nudity)

First up to explain (the first half of) the title. Ninja because pressure points and stuff (I’m thinking more Naruto than real-life/historical ninjas. Specifically thinking Hyuuga Neji), Vulcan because Vulcan Nerve Pinch, and magic because, well, how the hell does poking me in the armpit and pressing on my butt loosen up my back like this??

I started going to physiotherapy a year and a half ago, since I should’ve been going for years to help with my back (and probably also my knees). I got into doing weekly classes, and it was awesome and really helpful. And then I ran out of money. That’s what happens when every 5 weeks you have to fork out $45 more than you get a fortnight, and still afford your own food and travel. [I hear in the US they don’t have fortnights? That seems so weird, having to say ‘every two weeks’ or ‘bi-weekly’ when you can just say ‘fortnightly’. Anyway, I’ll stop now before I start a linguistics rant that no one will listen to.]

That was only about 2 months before I moved out, and then I had to contribute to rent and buy my own dinner (whereas before dinner and board were included in the whole ‘you’re my only child, I don’t want you starving to death living on a friend’s floor’ thing), so I kinda gave up on being able to afford physio again for a while. My back slowly got worse again, and I got out of all the good habits, and then a few weeks ago I started getting some new pain referring all over my body – it started as pinpricks and stabbing pain in my hands and feet, then flared through my ribcage and REALLY got my attention. I’ve also been having other health issues recently, which got my butt into gear about getting them seen to. I switched General Practitioners to one who took my issues seriously and looked for solutions, and who has referred me to a specialist to sort out what’s making it so I can barely eat (yesterday and hash brown and three pieces of chicken felt like I’d eaten heaps). I’ve gone to the optometrist to see what’s up with the headaches and light sensitivity I’m getting, thinking it was due to my prescription changing, and now I’ve gotten tests and I’m getting reading glasses to make sure it’s nothing more than eye strain. I’ve found myself a nutritionist to manage my insulin resistance and any other way food can improve my life. And, of course, I’ve gone back to physiotherapy.

I do really love my physio place, they’re all very friendly and sweet, and the receptionist is very helpful and knowledgeable – in under 10 minutes my appointment was paid for, I was booked up for physio for two weeks and had a place in next month’s classes, and she recommended a massage therapist (which is what my partner suggested as something that might be helpful mid-week when my back starts getting tired). So I’m feeling quite pleased with myself about taking care of my health and looking after myself and being productive.

The physio appointment has also had another impact, which is to get me thinking about my level of comfort with nudity, and how that’s been changing recently. I’ve always preferred to cover my upper arms and cover my legs to the knee, and I’ve never been one for cleavage (at least not my own). I’ve gotten a little worse lately – I now cover right down to my feet in public. But at the same time I’m covering most of myself while out in public, at home I’m pottering about in a baggy T-shirt and pyjama shorts that barely cover my butt. I’ve also noted how I’m actually more comfortable with my own nudity when I’m with my partner than I am when completely alone, and I find that interesting. The reason this is on my mind is because in the last week I’ve had two experiences that, going by my track record, should’ve made me faint with self-consciousness, but in fact didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. The first was going into the ER, where I ended up completely topless in front of 4 nurses, and taking a few minutes to even register that I’d expect to be embarrassed. And the second was today in physio, where I had to go pantsless for an hour and had my butt and most of my back and stomach uncovered for half the time.

These two experiences made me for one really respect and value the medical professionals who deal with people’s bodies gently and without judgment, as well as wonder why nudity is such a big thing in our culture. I can’t imagine being comfortable walking down the street naked, because I’ve been brought up to have a strong desire – even need – to control what parts of my body are on display. But if I were brought up in a culture where bodies aren’t taboo but are accepted (and I do mean in the sense of not fat-shaming or thin-shaming or anything like that), then it wouldn’t be so out there and weird to be naked -not to mention how much better people would feel about themselves without their bodies being critiqued all the time. Imagine how much nicer that would be, if everyone could just be themself and bodies are just bodies?

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