Meryl Cook
Meryl Cook

For months, my training partner Meryl Cook gently suggested that I stop running and give my body time to heal – but, like your typical stubborn runner, I didn’t listen to her. Now, I give complete credit for helping to heal my Achilles injury.

As fate would have it, Meryl was by my side in the New Orleans race when my Achilles became unbearably painful and my soleus seized up. This is also when I finally caved in and realized that I needed a healing hand, and became Meryl’s patient. Aside from being my running partner, Meryl is also a homeopathic doctor and Bowen practitioner — two fields of medicine that I know very little about and had never tried before. The Bowen technique, created by Australian Tom Bowen in the 1950s, involves gentle rolling movements across various muscle groups. My self-diagnosis on the web obviously wasn’t working – I needed professional help.

tapedfootAfter the race, Meryl assessed my whole body and told me several old injuries had contributed to my current problems. She taped up my Achilles.

In order to help me, Meryl explained that I’d need to temporarily stop running and not ice my injured area. Stop icing? But isn’t that what all runners do?  She explained that icing would interfere with the Bowen treatments.

As a runner, Meryl understood and had empathy for my desire to keep running, but she explained my body needed to rest. I was stressed out, my kidneys were struggling, she said, plus I was rapidly gaining weight and my body wasn’t healing. At first I was skeptical about her recommendations (that stubborn runner syndrome was kicking in again!), but I took a leap of faith in trusting and following her suggestions.

As the result of micro-tears in my Achilles, I had a massive bump on the back of my heel. Not good. My pelvis was also out of alignment, and had been for almost a decade. When I was pregnant eight years ago with twins (weighing 8.1 lbs. and 7.1 lbs., respectively), my pelvis separated. After their birth, the pain went away and I never sought treatment. I also had three numb toes. As it turned out, all of these issues were connected.

Meryl’s approach to treating patients is unconventional — I find her very mysterious and Zen-like. Even though she’s located in a busy part of downtown, when you step into her office, it’s tranquil and quiet. You lie on a massage bed, remain dressed and she covers you with a warm blanket. It’s so relaxing that I usually fall asleep within a few minutes. Meryl quietly makes gentle moves with the soft tissue over the muscle and joints and it doesn’t hurt.

When my appointment is over, not only does my Achilles feel better, but I have an overall feeling of calm and peace. It’s nothing like I’ve experienced before, but I’m seeing results. Whatever it is that she’s doing, it works, I’m thrilled to report that three months after treatments began, the bump on my ankle is gone, my pelvis is aligned and I’m getting feeling back in my toes. Meryl treated all of these issues simultaneously and now I’m about to start running again.

As runners, we want our injuries to heal quickly, but unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. It takes discipline to be a runner, but also to be an injured runner. Allowing our body time to heal is hard, but one of the most important components of getting back on the roads is being patient. So if your training partner tells you that you should consider backing it off, you might want to listen to them.

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  • Olivia says:

    After 2.5 years of intense back pain, bed ridden for days on end and many weekly visits to several physiotherapists with no progress, my family doctor recommended that i see Meryl. Although i was extremely skeptical, I trusted my doctor enough to go. Thank God I did because 6 weeks later I was completely pain free. Also, when a GP suggests that you go to homeopath it clearly indicates the rapidly growing respect for alternative medicine. 2 years ago i had a severe concussion and my headaches were insane. After Meryl helped me they began to subside immediately. The concussion specialist that i was seeing was blown away with how quickly I was improving (and it still took more than 1.5 months) considering the symptoms that i initially had. I have no doubt that I will be seeing her again for any complications that may arise in the future. Thanks Meryl!

  • Pam says:

    Bowen helped me greatly with issues I had with hips and knees. I have friends my age who have undergone hip replacement and I thought it time to try something other than medication. I was not disappointed. I still have issues with one knee, but am not surprised as that knee has suffered many injuries over the years. But the hips!….It seemed like a miracle to me. I went from trouble getting up out of a chair to no hip issues what so ever. Homeopathy, Bowen, CFQ Qigong…all outside the box….all very helpful. Give them a try.

  • Linda Daley says:

    Meryl is currently helping me with her wonderful Bowen treatments and I love it. Like you say, so relaxing and Zen-like.

  • Valerie says:

    I love your comment ”whatever it is that she’s doing, it works”!

    I feel the same way. I have been seeing Meryl for many months, and I still don’t understand exactly what it is she does. All I know is that when I first met Meryl I was very sick. Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, unable to work, experiencing chronic and acute pain, chronic fatigue, and a myriad of other symptoms; I am now happy, healthy and back to work, all without medication!!

    I’m not a runner, but you never know, if my health keeps improving, I may give it a try!

  • Anne says:

    I read Michelle Kempton’s report about Meryl helping her to overcome an Achilles problem and
    would like to add my shoulder experience with Meryl.

    A very painful and useless arm due to a partially torn rotator cup was my first experience with Meryl about thirteen years ago. Three weeks after I started Bowen I could raise my arm shoulder height then several sessions later all the way above my head.
    I am a recreational swimmer and couldn’t even float on my back in the pool because of the pain. After the first session I wasn’t convinced it would be better than an operation that I had put off to try Bowen but I had agreed to a number of
    Bowen sessions and did the exercises faithfully. So I was extremely surprised
    that approximately six weeks after I started Bowen I was swimming the crawl
    with no pain – and no operation.
    Needless to say I have continued to rely on Meryl for various reason

    Anne Hillis

  • Jane says:

    After months of painful physiotherapy for a frozen shoulder a neighbour suggested Bowen by Meryl. One session of this magical treatment started an immediate improvement, three sessions restored full movement to my arm. An unexpected body response was the realization that my prolapsed uterus would stay in place for long periods of time. A few sessions with Meryl each year keep my body tuned-up. This is one of lifes unexpected gifts.

  • Skeptic says:

    Is this an article about rest or an advertisement? The comments below say ad. Valerie, if you’re not a runner, what are you doing on this site?

    • Michelle the Adrenaline Junkie says:

      It’s about rest, treatment and giving credit where credit is due. Meryl was surprised by the article and thrilled by what I wrote, so she sent the article link to her patients to read, it doesn’t surprise me to see some of them post responses to the blog entry. She’s got a great reputation in the Halifax area and great rapport with people – to know her is to love her. 🙂

  • Diane says:

    I have been seeing Meryl for six years for Bowen. Initially I started in Ottawa with two frozen shoulders and within two months had complete movement of both of them. This was after trying many other conventional treatments. I have continued to see Meryl for other health issues. i am a diabetic and she had worked wonders with kidney, liver and the tingley feeling that many diabetics get in their feet after many years. I have to say she is great and I do not know what I would do without her. She has even helped my mother with foot issues. Keep up the great work you do Meryl!

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