When people meet me and find out that I’m a manual therapist with a reputation for getting people out of pain very quickly, they want to know what it is I do and how do I do it. To keep it simple, I tell them that my work is nothing more than power stretching and that they should visit my website (DontFearTheFoot.com) to get the full picture on how it works.
Here’s where the fun starts. They immediately want to know what does fearing a foot has to do with massage, stretching or getting out of pain?
I spent 20 years of my life professionally stretching, for I was a professional Broadway dancer for twenty years. And during my professional career, I probably stretched more in a day than most people stretch in a year (or a lifetime for that matter).
My flexibility served me well throughout my dance years and now, with the addition of mobility and stability training, it continues to be my preferred weapon in maintaining a “relatively” pain-free body. now help others in their quest to getting out of pain.
I now help others in their quest to getting out of pain.
I say “relatively” because discomfort and pain tends to visit me every so often as I close in on 58, but it doesn’t own me anymore.
To say I have never experienced pain would be far from the truth. In 1992 I was the dance supervisor for the National Tour of “Cats”, and for the first time in my career, I was visited by pain. Low back pain to be exact.
This wasn’t just an achy back.
It was an insidious pain that incapacitated me.
It came out of nowhere so it seemed, and it was to plague me and increase in intensity for the next sixty days. You may be thinking, “I thought the guy writing this article was flexible and therefore pain free.”
Well, thanks to a very talented bodyworker, I was told that a particular muscle in the front of my hip was short and tight due to my repeated years of trying to dance like a cat. This muscle had shortened through the years of instructing and performing and was now screaming, “Help!”
My low back (the squeaky wheel) was not the focus of the massage. Instead, the therapist focused on the source of my pain that was located in the front of my body. The precise manual therapy and stretching techniques that relieved my pain took a brief sixty minutes. I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to do when I stopped dancing and it has been my passion ever since.
I was hooked. I knew what I wanted to do when I stopped dancing and it has been my passion ever since.
Fast forward to 2005. I’m on vacation with my family at Disney World taking a well-deserved break from instructing and my orthopedic massage clinic. My low back pain, although nowhere near as bad as my first episode, had plagued me throughout the years making my life difficult from time to time.
It now decided to ravage me on my first day of vacation.
Only this time the pain was much worse.
Perhaps it was my increased age, or the dozens of back to back roller coaster rides, or a combination of both. Whatever the cause, it came without warning, destroying any possibility of spending time with my family at the park.
I experienced six days of pain and immobility, and by the time I was capable of moving it was time to travel six hundred miles back home and go back to work. It was hard helping others who were in pain, get out of pain, when I myself was frustrated and drained with the inability to resolve my own pain.
It was also difficult at the time to find a therapist who was trained and proficient in structural bodywork to work on me. Furthermore, stretching alone was nowhere near enough to keep my low back in check.
Desperate to find a solution, I decided to rethink my approach to resolving my pain.
Was there something better out there that I had yet to discover? My thoughts about stretching, and what muscles I singled out as the culprit and solution, were being challenged as well.
The answer came in the form of a published article in a massage publication. “Stepping out Pain the Rossiter Way” proclaimed the introduction.
The word “pain” immediately caught my eye as did the bizarre photos of some sort of therapy that had a person lying on the floor allowing someone to apply their foot to the recipient’s thigh, forearm, calf, hamstrings, and chest.
The photo of someone stepping on the thighs immediately grabbed my attention as I read that this was Rossiter work that would provide relief of low back pain. I quickly read the material and went downstairs to find my wife.
I needed a foot.
You should have seen the look on her face as I requested her to find the most tender spot on my thigh with her foot, and slowly apply weight until I requested her to stop as the article instructed. To make me sound crazier, I told her she needed to step on my left thigh because my low back pain was on my right side. My wife obviously loves me, because without hesitation she complied with my request. Once the weight of her foot was securely anchored on the most tender spot on my thigh, I dorsiflexed my ankles.
This maneuver is called “locking” and is employed in all Rossiter techniques.
The effect is like drawing and quartering the body (in a good way!) and magnifies the work.
The stretching movement was very simple and involved the ankle, knee, and hip. I stretched deeply for approximately ten seconds as the article instructed. The weight delivered through the arch of her foot coupled with the prescribed movement was a little uncomfortable, but not impossible. After repeating this work three times I stood up to see what the effect on my back was. My wife asked “well?”
I couldn’t believe it.
My back felt freer and with less pain. I immediately hit the floor again and worked until every tender spot had been visited by my wife’s foot, and I knew from my decreasing pain levels and increased range of motion that I had stumbled into something very good.
…Part 2 coming next week. Stay tuned!
Read more about his Level 1 & 2 classes, and find info on how to sign up HERE!
Chuck is a native of Chicago but now resides in Augusta, Georgia with his beautiful wife of 33 years, Mickey. They met and married after meeting in the national tour of Evita and have 4 children: Nathan, 25, Josh, 20, Claire, 15, and Joseph, 11.
Experiencing and resolving his dance injuries after 20 years in the professional dance world led him into the massage/bodywork industry. Like in dance, he has been fortunate to mentor and work with many of the leaders in the massage and bodywork industry and has advanced certifications in multiple modalities that address mobility and pain issues.
Extreme Performance Bodywork and Augusta Orthopedic Massage have been his two working clinics since 1999. Chuck’s work up until 2006 was 100% orthopedic massage, but since experiencing the results of Rossiter with his own body and seeing the results in his clinic with his patients and clients, 98% of his work is now Rossiter.