July 24th, 2013

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Chalk up another testimonial for Barry

As previously mentioned, I hurt myself on Saturday during the moving party. The past few days have been unpleasant -- sometimes okay, sometimes not, sometimes right down in the fighting-off-tears, "Make it freaking STOP!" level of unceasing moderate pain. Sleeping has been difficult at best (possible only with slightly strange positions and too much ibuprofen), and the fact that I haven't been able to sit down without constantly-building levels of pain has led to a draining game of constantly bouncing around on my feet.

I saw a massage therapist friend on Sunday, and a chiropractor on Monday -- both helped a little, but the pain has still been 90% there. So when I mentioned this at Poker on Monday, new_man pointed out that it was time to see Barry, the Baronial miracle worker. (AKA Muscular Solutions. He's not SCAdian himself, but he's worked on a lot of us over the years, and is quite familiar with the SCA.) I just got back from that, and while "miracle" is *slightly* excessive, that was certainly the most impressive bit of hands-on body work I've ever experienced.

Barry's style is eclectic, to say the least -- far as I can tell, instead of adhering to any particular school, he does a bit of everything that works. In style, he comes across most as a physical therapist: very direct and *remarkably* efficient. Within the first couple of minutes of my being there, he had essentially identified lousy posture as a root cause of the problem -- never even would have occurred to me that my hips were that off-balance, but he pretty quickly demonstrated the difference in strength between the two sides, and that a few quick adjustments made an immediately apparent difference.

Instead of the usual doctorish mode of asking lots of questions and being very slow and cautious, Barry got into a quick cycle of asking me to stand up or lie down or sit, putting his hands on me, poking at muscles, yanking something, testing again, and then assigning homework. (In as many words: there is a lot of, "Okay, *that* is screwed up. This is the exercise you're going to start doing to fix it, and here's the handout.") Again, the mode is very much one of physical therapy -- he does a great deal while you're there, but expects you to follow up and work on your own.

He's not at all "woo-woo", and you need to be prepared for him to get pretty up close and personal with all of your muscles. (He spent the longest period working on my butt, frankly -- my glutes are apparently a mess.) Be prepared for some moderate pain -- he actually went into an explanation of "good pain" vs. "therapeutic pain" vs. "too much pain", and there was a good deal of the second category. (And one brief hit on "too much", at which point he backed off -- that pretty clearly identified just *how* screwed up my left leg currently is, and led to more homework.) The conversation ranged all over the place, from how I walk to the ergonomics of my workstation: he's very focused on finding and fixing root causes, not just the immediate pain.

Even he couldn't fix my screwed-up system completely in an hour -- we'll be following up soon. But overall, the results are damned impressive: the pain is down by about 2/3, and frankly, having exercises to work on makes me feel a lot more that this is simply a problem I can get my hands around, rather than a mysterious agony to be endured until someone waves a wand and fixes it.

He's relatively expensive, and doesn't take insurance, but the value-for-money is excellent -- he cost about twice as much as the chiropractor, and was about five times as effective. Highly recommended...
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Another review, on a completely different note

Mostly for my own future reference, but others may find it useful:

Folks who are over at my house have occasionally noted my small collection of nips of really-interesting Scotch, and I've mentioned that I found them at this little hole in the wall shop near Leicester Square in London, back in '95. (When Jane and I were in the UK for WorldCon, and spent the surrounding week in London. This was also the trip where we accidentally found ourselves at the truly amazing Steeleye Span 25th Anniversary Concert -- it was a pretty great week.)

When I was back in Britain with Kate last September, I found myself with a day to myself (while she was off working at her company's London office), so I spent a solid two hours prowling around that neighborhood, wandering a zillion streets trying to find the place with no luck at all. I eventually gave up and concluded that the shop had closed.

Fortunately, I appear to have been wrong. While unpacking one of those zillion boxes from my house, I found the card from the shop, so I Googled it, and lo and behold, they have a website.

So: the shop is Vintage House. They are in fact a few blocks from Leicester (I assume I just didn't look in the right direction), and if anything, they've grown over the years -- the old card says that they carry 365 malt whiskeys, but the website says they now have a stunning 1350, claiming to be the widest selection anywhere.

Hopefully they still have the great selection of miniatures. If so, I expect I'll bring a few more home from our honeymoon: while you can't bring a lot of scotch home from the UK, you can fit a lot of 50ml nips in that 1 liter allowance...