“A mini ex­er­cise ball cured my neck pain!”

De­bil­i­tat­ing pain kept Ruth Chiles, 64, from lead­ing a full life—un­til she un­cov­ered the sim­ple ten­sion-re­leas­ing rem­edy that re­stored her health and hap­pi­ness

First For Women - - Contents -

Ruth felt guilt creep­ing in as the phone rang. “I’m go­ing to have to take an­other sick day,” she re­gret­fully told her boss. “I was calling in sick more and more of­ten. I knew it was start­ing to wear on my boss’s pa­tience, but I was just in too much pain to go into the of­fice.

Sleep­less nights

“Things started to get un­bear­able about four years ago. I was spend­ing three hours in my car each day driv­ing to and from work—an hour and a half each way—and then I would sit in front of the com­puter all day, which made my shoul­ders, neck and back stiff and sore. I would re­turn home ab­so­lutely drained and ex­hausted and fall right into bed.

“As tired as I was, though, on most nights I’d be shocked awake by ex­treme pain in my neck and right arm that pre­vented me from getting back to sleep. When I was able to sleep through the night, I’d of­ten wake up in the morn­ing with a headache that would last through­out the day and make it dif­fi­cult to fo­cus. My sleep

debt kept grow­ing, and I was feel­ing more and more ir­ri­ta­ble. I just wasn’t my­self any­more.

“As some­one who works in the health field as a di­eti­cian, I know how im­por­tant sleep is to be­ing healthy, and the fact that I wasn’t getting enough made me very anx­ious. As the sleep­less nights turned into sleep­less weeks, I be­came in­creas­ingly stressed.

“I’ve al­ways fa­vored nat­u­ral reme­dies, so I didn’t want to start re­ly­ing on pain medicine. But af­ter count­less nights wak­ing up with my arm just killing me, I knew I needed to do some­thing. I tried a class that was kind of like tai chi in wa­ter, but that didn’t help. I had done yoga for years, but that didn’t help ei­ther. The pain be­came con­stant, the headaches were getting pro­gres­sively worse and I was start­ing to get scared.

A feel-good fix

“A friend no­ticed how much pain I was in and rec­om­mended I try a class at my gym called The Mir­a­cle Ball Method. Des­per­ate for a so­lu­tion, I de­cided to take the class. On my first day, I re­ceived a small, squishy ball. Elaine Petrone, the class in­struc­tor and cre­ator of The Mir­a­cle Ball Method, taught me how to po­si­tion the ball un­der dif­fer­ent parts of my body. Once the ball was in po­si­tion, she told me to lie there and breathe. It felt very pas­sive—not at all like ex­er­cise and not painful.

“It ac­tu­ally seemed so pas­sive that, through­out the class, I won­dered how the ball could pos­si­bly have any ef­fect. But as soon as I walked out, I felt dif­fer­ent, in a good way. I sud­denly felt much more aware of my body and how I was mov­ing, and that helped me feel looser. I started at­tend­ing Elaine’s Satur­day class on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, and I would oc­ca­sion­ally try to sneak one in on a week­day too.

“Once I felt com­fort­able with the method, I started us­ing the ball at home. I even brought the ball into bed some­times. Be­fore go­ing to sleep, I would put it be­tween my shoul­der blades, which helped re­lease the ten­sion in my shoul­ders.

“Af­ter a cou­ple weeks, I was sleep­ing through the night. My headaches van­ished, and getting a good night’s sleep helped me cope bet­ter with the pres­sures of work and my long com­mute. My pos­ture im­proved too, and I started stand­ing straighter and mov­ing more eas­ily. In fact, I went to get my bone den­sity checked re­cently, and the nurse had to mea­sure my height twice. She couldn’t be­lieve it: I had grown nearly half an inch!

“I think the method has helped me age more grace­fully—I can feel how all the parts of my body con­nect to one an­other and how they all move as one. I’ve started tak­ing dance and tap lessons be­cause it ac­tu­ally feels good to move again. Now I’m not calling in sick any­more, and I look for­ward to liv­ing my life to the fullest!”

—As told to Alyssa Rosen­thal

“My pain and

headaches van­ished, and my pos­ture im­proved al­most in­stantly. It ac­tu­ally feels good

to move again!”

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