For more than a quarter of a century Jo Bell was unable to breathe properly and she lived with constant pain that resembled being wrapped in cling film with shards of broken glass next to her skin – or being stabbed constantly with hundreds of red-hot knives over her body 24 hours a day.
Doctors could apparently find no cure for the searing pain she endured following a terrible riding accident which she remembers with great clarity:
“My horse spooked, spun and galloped full-tilt down the hill with me hanging on cowboy style to the side of her, my foot caught in the badly fitting stirrup iron.
I hung dangerously low with my head only inches away from the ground. All I could see were galloping hooves and a jump fast approaching.
With all the strength I’d gained in the gym, I hauled myself over the first jump and steadied myself for the second but that’s when it all went horribly wrong.
Realising my head was now in direct line with a tree trunk, I hauled with all my might, but was kicked in the face for my trouble. I let go and smashed down on the tree, the point between the shoulder blades hitting first and then the small of my back. I was taken to hospital, diagnosed with concussion, given painkillers and sent home.”
After five years of the pain, Jo was unable to hold up her head and went to a private hospital where doctors discovered she was suffering from a dislocated rib cage, a misaligned pelvis and a twisted spine. Her head was not sitting properly on top of her spine. As a result, she was unable to lie down properly in her bed; every stride she took was agony and her rib cage was so stiff she couldn’t take a proper breath.
Despite spending thousands of pounds on treatments from chiropractors and pain specialists, her condition did not improve. Jo was resigned to spending the rest of her life in agony, but by sheer chance she was given a present of a voucher for one session with Douglas.
After that one visit to him, Jo said she could at last breathe properly and her pain was subsiding with every day that goes by. She went on: “It was as if I’d held my breath for 25 years because my ribcage had been frozen ever since the accident. But when Douglas placed his hands on the front and back of my thorax it was as if someone had thrown open the windows and let in the fresh air. The energy I felt was so powerful that within 10 to 15 seconds I was breathing properly again.
I took my first lungful of air in a quarter of a century.”