Lori Spencer’s breakout book ‘Leaving Pain Behind with M.I.R. Touch Technique’ recently hit the bestseller list and that was no surprise because this book provides readers with a groundbreaking way to heal themselves and leave pain behind. The tools she takes readers through in this book put them in charge of thier healing journey and a new better relationship with thier body. Over the years Spencer has worked with a myriad of musicians helping them to heal their bodies. We were thrilled to have a chance to find out more about this thought leader and healer and her work.
‘Leaving Pain Behind with M.I.R. Touch Technique’ is an extraordinary book, what inspired you to share this system with readers?
I have devoted twenty years of my career to help people heal from pain. I feel as though
my entire life set the stage for this book. I have been told repeatedly by many experts that I needed to share my knowledge. Granted, it took me a bit longer than I would have liked; I knew in my heart though, that now is a good time to share my system.
My story is interesting in how I was led here. I noticed that certain behaviors are what create this condition to exist and flourish, in tandem with approaches that are structured on old beliefs. I feel most of what we are told really holds roots in antiquated models, most developed prior to understanding the role of fascia. My focus through my book is to change existing thought patterns, educate the masses on simple shifts in behavior to move beyond old conditioning. I feel when we know better, we do better. When something fails to help, then another way needs to lead. Change only occurs through understanding, through knowledge, especially as it relates to the body.
My inspiration comes from my passion to empower people to become their own best healers. This really is my heart’s desire, in synergy with sharing my “work” within the pages of my book.
How did you develop the M.I.R Touch Technique?
From the time I was eleven years old, I believed in the body’s design to heal. Sometimes, when I say that out loud, it feels strange to have known that at such a young age! I did though. From the peripheral, I was considered difficult, although all these years later, I am grateful that I mostly never went outside my belief. This experience of mine though speaks volumes to developing Manual Inflammation Release (M.I.R.) Touch Technique. A favorite story I like to share is an exchange with a man my parents hired. Dr. Leslie DeGroot was an Emeritus Endocrinologist. Years ago, I would call my pediatric endocrinologist every seven years, Dr. Robert Rosenfield, to check-in. He would always share “how he will never forget me. This little girl, with her hands on her hips, looking up at Dr. DeGroot telling him that she will not take synthetic medication for the rest of her life!” This really set the course in my understanding that the body has everything it needs to heal.
I entered my profession as a deep tissue, trigger point therapist. People in pain most always found their way to my table. Much of what I was taught did not make sense, so I began seeking parallels, and testing theories I held centered around trigger points. After I worked rather exclusively with musicians and a private client, I was led to hospice. My average patient weighed 76 pounds. Therefore, deep tissue was contraindicated related to the risk of breaking bones. I began dabbling in a light pressured approach. I noticed profound differences of reaction to the tissue, as did the team I was working with in our patients’ relief in musculoskeletal pain.
There are so many pieces to and through my journey that I feel I just need to highlight the important elements. Eventually, I realized that I needed to learn everything I could about the connective tissue, or fascia, when a first of its kind international research forum began, The Fascia Research Congress. I spent five years within the Congress attending all the conferences, and closed forums to fully understand what I was affecting and why. It was through this association that formed the bones of my method. It enabled me to develop my M.I.R. Touch Technique.
I feel a dream is a wish your heart makes. An author I recently met, Jeff Patterson cites that when you have a “Big Thing” you know because the path is not easy. Many things, including ourselves seem to get in the way. This path has been an arduous one, as it is rarely easy going against established protocols to forge new ground! Nonetheless, developing my M.I.R. Touch Technique is one of my life’s greatest accomplishments. It is an honor to be a catalyst in so many people’s journey to heal. I would not have it any other way!
Writing a book is not for the faint of heart. What was one of your challenges, and conversely one of your successes during the writing process?
Only “one of my challenges?’ I feel at times we all may be our worst enemy. We all have stories that we tell ourselves, I am no different! I only have a few more tools in my proverbial belt that enable me to get out of my way! This book really was me “getting out of my way!” It is incredibly easy for me to recite the aspects of my book that I perpetually educate, no matter where I am. This book though is my greatest dream coming to fruition; my foundation to share my knowledge and mostly, empower the masses. So, if I must isolate one of my challenges, it would be not trusting in my ability to breakdown, to dissect how and where I place my hands when performing my Manual Inflammation Release technique. An interesting thing occurred when I realized this fear though. I would go to sleep and awaken to the placement of my hands, in tandem with the words. Whenever doubt settled in and my trust waivered, this would happen!
One of my most revered successes was having my then 17-year-old illustrator read my book. Austin would know through his reading where to place the “hot spots” in my hand placement. He also shared that my book was enjoyable and easy to read, comparing my writing style to one of his favorite authors, whose name escapes me now.
Writing a book is “not for the faint of heart!” When you write something that is so personal, it is as though you are standing naked in front of a bunch of strangers. You are vulnerable, and that is rarely easy, albeit necessary.
“Leaving Pain Behind with M.I.R. Touch Technique” helps readers take control of their healing. I am sure you have a lot of fans, what is the most memorable feedback you have received from a reader?
My most memorable feedback arrived from one of my readers sharing “that I walk my talk. Through my book she was able to work on herself subsequent to a fall. It helped her get better and not have pain in the process!”
I’ve heard you have worked with a lot of musicians helping them heal. What has this been like for you?
When I started practicing, I thought about what I love most. Music was high on the list. I had been around musicians since I was young, as one of my cousins was one the few white bands signed to the Motown label. Another cousin was a sound engineer & later a tour manager who worked with talent that most would recognize. Meeting people and developing rapport rather instantly is part of my gifts. I feel it is simply related to how much I enjoy meeting new people. I felt like I could develop a musician population rather swiftly based on what I mentioned. Why not try? So, I did. I remember graduating from my clinical program at Soma, being in Grant Park & listening to Hootie and The Blowfish. I stood etched against a fence, watching the stage hands move about until I caught one’s attention. I gave him my “pitch.” He asked for a business card! I thought to myself how easy that was! Problem with this encounter was I just finished school and I did not have any business cards. Darius Rucker’s tour manager shared words of wisdom. “A good businesswoman always has a business card,” as he turned and walked away! To this day, I am never without a card!!!!
One day I was lying on my couch when a friend phoned telling me to throw on a bodysuit & shorts, ride my bike to the yacht club in Chicago, as the Mackinaw Island Race was happening. He felt this was a lucrative population for me. Well, on my way, I heard music coming from the Field Museum. I threw my bike onto my shoulder, walked up the stairs, leaned against a fence while the stagehands were setting up. I watched, and as one of the sound engineers spotted me, I began to share my intentions. He in turn led me to a promoter, and the rest really began to align the more shows I attended from that point forward.
Musicians taught me about inflammation and how the body responds to overuse. They also showed me how distinct the patterns are that these inflammatory chemicals move to, and where they settle; which is as unique as the instrument they play, all the way to include the voice.
Back in the day, musicians knew who I was. One of my favorite anecdotes came from when I was invited to a closed event at Buddy Guy’s Legends. I made my way down from the Green Room, perched leg up on a low rail surrounding the stage, leaning slightly over. Kurt Elling was about an elbow away. He turned to me and asked, “aren’t you the massage therapist with the hats that everyone is talking about?’
“Yes, yes I am,” I replied with a smile on my face.
“Well, what are you doing down here? You should be up in the Green Room!’
“I am exactly where I am meant to be. Afterall, I am standing next to you, Kurt Elling. I cannot wait to share this with my brother. I grew-up on jazz!”
Working with musicians is something I am incredibly grateful for. A while back I began to understand that these inflammatory chemicals are also what may be a cause to a vocalist losing his range, or register. My last juried and accepted research came in the aftermath of working on Steven Tyler. Part of my vision is to help vocalists know there is a less invasive approach than surgery to restore their voice. My M.I.R. Touch Technique has proven results in not only restoring vocal register. I have helped artists heal from tendinitis and many overuse syndromes based on their instrument of choice. It is always an honor to share time with creatives; I adore this aspect of my “work.” It also is unbelievably fun!
When you finished this book what drink did you celebrate with?
Okay, well, this may appear strange to most, although those who know me, or have worked with me, know this just makes sense. Water. I rarely drink alcohol, although perhaps with the release of my next book, I may engage in one pear martini. What I did do, which is perhaps a ritual of mine when something good happens, is buy myself a bouquet of fresh flowers.