It was January, 1993, when I first met Dr. Andrew Bonci. I was 6 years into my lifetime crisis, chronic calf pulls. My last marathon, April, 1987, was the beginning of a continual string of calf pulls, tears, strains, aggravations, whatever you wanted to call them. My life was reduced to 3 mile runs, and any attempt at more than that produced yet another pull. My entire circle of people were runners, yet I stood on the sidelines unable to run, or explain why.
Over this 6 year period, I visited orthopedists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, physical therapists, massage therapists and anyone who would listen to my story. The most humbling lesson learned through this experience was that no one, and I mean NO ONE, knew anything about muscle physiology. Sure, they all wanted to tell me how to heal the present pull, such as stop running, ice the injury, etc., but no one could tell me how to prevent the next pull. And, during this 6 year period, I estimate 50-60 pulls in both calves, different locations and different degrees of injury. I was truly alone and at a loss for solutions.
Dr. Bonci was the very first person who made any sense at all. He impressed me the first time I spoke with him. He talked about muscle physiology, about the damage that is done with each workout, the accumulation of toxins that occur in a muscle with repetitive use, and the means to address this physiological change in a muscle.
Dr. Bonci went out to his car and brought in a rolling pin like device. He called it The Stick®. I asked him what I was supposed to do with it, and he showed me how to roll it on my calves. Being desperate, I rolled my calves as I talked with him. The immediate sensorial response was wonderful. Regardless of whether there was any residual value or not, it still felt good. The next morning, my calves felt better than they had in the previous 6 years. I had no knowledge as to why, but after my 6 year saga, I didn’t care why. Over the next 2 years, I persistently used this tool, and my daily mileage climbed to 7 mile runs. 7 miles was a gift sent from heaven. Anything more than that was beyond comprehension.
The Maggs Muscle Management™ Program
Over the last 15 years, we’ve learned a lot. We now have research programs explaining why this technique helps with chronically pulled muscles, tight muscles, fatigued muscles and many other muscle based conditions. Florida State University did a PhD thesis on why this program helps with strength, flexibility and strength. The results were all positive.
Repetitive use of any muscle increases the toxin accumulation in a muscle, thus reducing the blood flow (oxygen and food) to a muscle. This produces a tightness in specific muscle fibers, and this tightness is the precursor to all muscle conditions. With a program that manages the muscles on a daily basis, all runners can eliminate conditions such as chronically pulled muscles, tight muscles, hip and ilio-tibial band syndromes, plantar fascitis, and many other conditions. The key is to keep muscles clean and well circulated instead of just stretching a toxic, poorly circulated muscle. The only way this can be done is to have the ability to massage the muscle multiple times per day, such as before you exercise, after you exercise and even later in the day. If you can practice these simple guidelines, you free yourself from the likelihood of joining the “pulled muscle support group”, a group you desperately need when you can’t get back to running, but despise if you’re running well.
If you roll a muscle, then stretch the muscle, the muscle becomes thoroughly prepared for activity. If you do the same after a workout, you can accelerate the recovery of that muscle. If you feed the muscle with proper nutrients, before, during and after, The Stick helps to drive nutrients into the muscle, increasing the recoverability of the muscle. With the epidemic proportion of muscle problems among runners, these guidelines will dramatically help all runners to stay out on the roads instead of spending time on the internet looking for that magical answer.
After 14 years of forgetting what it’s like to cross the finish line of a marathon, I returned to the list of marathon runners with my completion of the Vermont City Marathon in 2001. This monumental moment in my life re-enforced in me that anyone can improve if they are willing to step up and do what is available, not what is recommended by their managed care provider. I now have 3 marathons under my belt since that time, and hope to continue at a rate of 2 per year. My philosophy is that anyone running 2 marathons per year will perpetually stay in reasonably good shape. The joy I live with now exceeds my ability to express myself, and the tears and smiles I’ve shed since finishing that 14th marathon are indescribable.
When it was all said and done, my success originated with my meeting Dr. Andrew Bonci and his willingness to show me some simple product known as The Stick. My goal today is identical to what it was immediately following my first use of The Stick; every athlete would want one if they knew about it. I still believe this to be true, and my mission is to introduce it to all runners.