Journey Through Uncharted Therapies

Post by Rikki White

A talented golfer I am not, but anybody who knows me would never doubt my enthusiasm for the game. Having taken up golf late in life, my passion for it is in no way diluted. However, enthusiasm alone was not enough to get me round the course when various physical problems started to crop up. Feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, wrists, back – in fact anything that moves can produce major or minor niggles and, unlike other problems on the course, they can’t usually be sorted out with a lesson from the Golf Professional and time spent on the practice ground.

Now don’t think I’m against conventional medicine. I take a small pharmacy of pills every day, which make my life more comfortable. But the passing of the years has left me more than a bit bent here and there. Swinging the clubs was not a problem, but the 6459 yards to be walked round my home course presented a few problems.

However, I’ve never been intimidated by new ideas, so when I noticed an article in a newspaper about the virtues of a substance normally prescribed for horses to ease arthritis, I thought “Why not?” I got a supply from a friend’s daughter’s vet and started taking the medicine. Always a positive thinker, I expected good results, but hardly the speed with which they occurred. Believe it or not, within a few days my joints had taken on a new lease of life and I felt confident enough to abandon a support bandage that had been for several years a necessary accoutrement on my wrist when playing bridge. Its absence was noted by my friends at the bridge club. “Is your wrist better” asked a fellow sufferer.

“Not entirely, but it’s very much improved,” I responded.

“What sort of treatment worked the magic?”

“Don’t laugh, but I took some stuff that’s used to treat horses with wonky joints and within a couple of weeks I felt a real benefit. In fact my husband’s thinking of entering me in the 3.30 at Wetherby”.

“Can you let me try some?” he said, “I’ll try anything that might help ease the pain in my knees.”

Having given him a supply, I went off on a golf holiday and didn’t think any more about it. On my return I found my friend transformed, saying he hadn’t felt so well in years and he was walking much more comfortably. In no time at all, a good percentage of the oldies at my bridge club were popping down to the vet’s for a supply for their various aches and pains and treating me like “St. Bernadette”.


Although my physical condition was much better, it wasn’t perfect. I was still keeping an open mind on other complementary therapies. Magnetic belts took my fancy next. I actually started off with a bracelet recommended by an arthritic friend. The magnet was so powerful it could pick up car keys from several inches. A degree of relief when writing sent me scuttling off for bigger and better magnets. I was so impressed I even bought a magnetic collar for my son’s dog, who also struggles with arthritis. Although she could never tell me if it worked for her, I convinced myself she looked perkier. For me, I had belts with magnets the size of £2 coins round my ankles, my wrists, my back and upper legs. I was an awesome sight, not too far removed from the bionic woman. But here’s the crunch, something seemed to be effective; my lumbering limp had become a healthy stride and I made it from tee to green over 18 holes with absolute ease.

It must have been a couple of years later that a foot injury refused to respond to the horse medicine or magnets and golf was in danger of becoming a thing of the past. Someone suggested I try a special form of Japanese acupuncture. Although I was warned it was painful and anything less than 6 treatments was unlikely to be effective, I signed up. The practitioner was a most attractive Japanese lady. Beautifully made up with the shining black hair typical of Orientals worn in a French pleat, she was stylishly dressed with a starched white smock over a well-cut trouser suit. She exuded efficiency with a dash of glamour. The consulting room was very grand with a high ceiling, antique furniture, and only a treatment bench tucked away discreetly behind a screen to hint at the purpose of the room.


They were right about the pain. The classical background music was rather loud, no doubt to drown the oohs and ouches, if not the squeals. The treatment involved puncturing my leg and foot scores of times “to relieve the inflammation”. No gentle manipulation of the needles in this form of acupuncture. Blood poured down my leg. I looked as if I had been in a torture chamber. The ultimate horror was when the wounds were plastered with some sort of herbs, which were then set on fire. I was in the clutches of a witch doctor. But I’m made of stern stuff and quitting is not part of my game plan. Six treatments later and quite a bit poorer, I surveyed the result. I looked like a pincushion, true, but my foot no longer hurt. Now this might just have something to do with fear of ever having to face the needle again – a sort of placebo effect, but more than a year later I’m still playing golf three times a week and the Zimmer frame is not yet on order.

It might interest you to know that I still take the horse medicine daily, I still wear the magnetic belts to get round the golf course and I have been back to the Japanese lady for a couple of treatments on a hand injury. I aim to emulate Richard Branson’s grandmother who I believe got a hole in one at the age of 96.

Rikki White

NB. For those interested the horse medicine was a powder called MSM, (Methylsulfonylmethane) which has now been produced in capsule form for humans.

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