Happy Birthday, BonniePrint
I first met Bonnie Prudden around 1981 when I visited the Academy for Myotherapy and Physical Fitness that she founded in a former school building in the quiet, wintry New England town of Lenox, Massachusetts.
Judy Vashon, then Bonnie's principal assistant at the Academy, greeted me in the Academy office that morning, shepherded me through the classrooms and introduced me to students and teachers scattered throughout the building. In what was to become a tradition in myotherapy circles, I was invited to join in a stretching and aerobics class. It was easy to connect with the energy of this happy crowd and their instructors. Although I was in training to run marathons at the time, the rigor and diversity of these fitness sessions were fully engaging , and I was properly impressed.
Bonnie and several of her staff and I drove to lunch near town and later stopped at Bonnie's house to tour its grounds; we continued talking about her program of deep, soft tissue compression, stretching and exercise as a therapeutic model and as a lifestyle.
I learned from Bonnie how her own physical pain and her life experience as an athlete and a champion of fitness had brought her to Lenox, The Academy and to commit herself to a lifelong goal of helping people cope with, prevent, conquer and manage myofascial pain. Her genius brought together her knowledge and her dynamism into a coherent whole that she named Myotherapy. In her vision this new modality welcomed and encouraged the crucial involvement of pain sufferers in mitigating their own pain. Myotherapy, in Bonnie's message, offered a non-invasive, day to day approach to healthy, self sustaining lives for client and healer alike.
I made that first visit to Lenox to learn more than I knew at the time about Myotherapy and to share with Bonnie, her students and teachers my brand new Original Backnobber® deep muscle self care tool. I wanted to know if it and other tools that I was, by then, developing could have a place in the Myotherapy practice model that Bonnie and her associates had developed and were refining there in Lenox.
At the time Bonnie must have been about sixty seven years old; I was about forty four. She and I didn’t actually talk for very long about tools during my visit, but from that early connection with students at the school and through the past thirty years, Myotherapists particularly and clinicians in an ever expanding diversity of therapeutic disciplines have been the most loyal and consistent users and supporters of The Original Backnobber® and the other self care tools made and distributed by The Pressure Positive Company.
As we drove back to the school building from lunch that first day, our conversation touched on a wide range of topics; in the exchange, Bonnie informed me of her belief that in an earlier life she had been a surgeon in the ancient army of Rome. While telling me this colorful and intriguing tale, Bonnie gripped my shoulder from the back seat to administer a precise and firm, “myotherapeutic” compression that she assured me would fix my chronically stiff neck. It was a convincing display, but the reality was that I was already convinced that Bonnie was onto something critical and that in this, there was a meeting of our minds. Such was my first Bonnie Prudden moment.