Todd Steele enrolled in the basic massage therapy curriculum at the Institute of Natural Healing Sciences in 1993. "I limped into the classroom with a knee injury that I was convinced would leave me crippled for life. The injury occurred late in the first walk of my renewed fitness plan and my knee filled with pain that made any shift of weight to it unthinkable. My injury worsened a few days later as I turned in the hallway at work to change directions. The loud crack accompanied by more pain convinced me it was serious. Looking back, I’m amazed that I gave up so quickly, concluding that I would have to live with it, but pain is very confusing."
Charlotte Small, owner and head teacher of the Institute, wasn’t as easily convinced but she waited a couple of days before suggesting Steele make an appointment with her to address the situation. An hour appointment stretched into ninety minutes, and "I didn’t feel significantly better lying on the table at the end of the session. I stood up, expecting my knee to buckle as usual, but was surprised by the lack of pain. Tentatively, I took a step that was also pain free. I took another step; then another when I found myself walking easily. Though my body didn’t quite believe it either, as the first steps were awkward and guarded, I left school that day amazed and quizzical. How on Earth, I asked myself, could my knee get so much better that quick?"
Within hours, the pain and lack of freedom were returning along with Todd's pessimism."I was amazed by the transition from awful to wonderful and almost back to awful, but now I had a new perspective; a new possibility. Charlotte had given me relief from my knee pain and had opened my mind to the simplicity of skilled touch. Not only had she healed my misconception about my pain, she opened a door onto my path in health care."
His curiosity was quickly rewarded when he found Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol. 1 & 2, in the school library. "The books are laid out so that you can quickly find the most likely muscles causing pain where you hurt. I was truly inspired when I looked at the pain diagram that so closely matched my knee pain. This experience gave me a unique understanding of the doubt that people have in their ability to get better."
Todd Steele would not be where he is today without this experience. "I thought it was inevitable that getting older meant becoming less capable physically. As I grow in my skills and knowledge, I look back with gratitude for Charlotte’s lesson that continues to expand and inform my practice."