Travis Perret and Pok-Chi Lau's quest for pain free fishing
December 04, 2013
For the past seven years, I have been trumpeting the abilities of Travis Perret for curing the various pains that afflict anglers. I have proclaimed scores of times that he has made me a better fisherman than I was when I was in my 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Throughout those five decades, parts of my body were regularly perplexed by various elements and intensities of pain, which had a tendency to adversely affect the way I fished. Now I am free of pain. Since I am pain free, I never have to consume any pain medication, which makes my mind and senses sharper, and those sharper senses and mind also help to make me a better angler than I used to be.
For a number of years, my long-time fishing friend Pok-Chi Lau of Lawrence, Kansas, has been battling a variety of joint pains, which have confounded his angling abilities at times, as well as some of his other endeavors.
Besides fishing with me in northeastern Kansas, Lau is a retired professor, who taught photography in the Department of Design at the University of Kansas from 1977 to 2013. And to this day, he travels around the world to fish and to photograph Chinese people. For instance, from the first week of December until the second week in January, he well be in Myanmar (Burma), filming a documentary about Moon Chin, who is a Chinese-American pilot and helped the Western Allies in the Burma Campaign during World War II; Mr Chin is 100 years old and will be traveling to Myanmar, too. Then from Jan. 12 to Jan. 18 he will be at the Dishman Art Museum at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, installing an exhibition of his photographs that focus on China and the migration of the Chinese people. While he is at the Dishman Museum, he will be giving public lectures and conducting workshops. Then in mid-February, he will return to Myanmar in hopes of documenting the life and times of the Chin people, and he hopes to find some time to fish while he is in the Chin State of Myanmar.
At times, when Lau's joint pains would erupt, I occasionally would tell him that Perret might be able to remedy some of his pains. But it was not until after Perret cured Lau's wife's incredible foot and leg pains during the spring and summer of 2012 that Lau solicited Perret's assistance in conquering the various pains that were afflicting him and interfering with his fishing abilities.
On Nov. 22, Lau and Perret allowed me to watch and photograph a therapy session at Lau's home, where Perret examined Lau and devised a series of ten exercises for Lau.
This was the fifth time that Perret had worked with Lau. In the previous sessions, they worked on Lau's upper back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands. And during that time, they had surmounted some of the pain problems that had been beleaguering Lau.
Before Perret's Nov. 22 visit, Lau was enduring some excruciating pains in his thumb joints -- especially when he was fishing. In fact, the pain was so intense at times that Lau had a difficult time tying a jig on his line, holding a rod, and removing a hook from the mouth of a fish.
After Perret examined Lau's hand and pondered what might be causing this pain, he concluded that the inflammation was a byproduct from several weeks of strenuous work that Lau had been doing in his gardens, which included removing a 300-square-foot area that was glutted with bamboo. Therefore Perret said the pain would subside once Lau finished renovating his garden.
In addition to the inflammation in his thumb joints, Lau told Perret that he was bothered with some low-back pain above his right hip, knee pain when he walked up stairs, and a history of plantar fasciitis, as well as flat feet that are everted.
To examine Lau's musculoskeletal system, Perret conducted a postural evaluation and gait analysis. After this examination, Perret concluded that Lau has "a very dysfunctional muscles, joints, and bones, noting that years of being a professor had taken its toll on him. He was active when it came to traveling and fishing, but he did not do a lot of other types of activities. He sat at his desk and worked with his computer for many long hours, editing photographs on Photoshop and writing books. Since he has retired, he is becoming more active. But it will take some time to repair those dysfunctional problems."
During Perret's examination of Lau's musculoskeletal system, he noticed that "his tibia is externally rotated more than his femur. This creates torque on his knee joint. When adding the demand of walking up stairs, he feels the pain in his medial knee because his tibia is not positioned correctly to help with the load. The misalignment of the tibia also creates pressure on the medial side of his ankle causing his arches to fall." What's more, Lau's hips were not functioning properly.
Perret reminded Lau that muscles move bones, and bones have to be told to move. Perret noted that "years of muscular imbalance have created excessive wearing and tearing on Lau's joints and bones. If he rebalanced the muscles by educating them through proper movement, the work load will be redistributed, allowing the painful area to heal and feel better. Years of sitting at a desk, writing and working with digital photographs, has created the muscle imbalance that is now causing Lau's bones and joints to function improperly."
After Perret finished evaluating Lau's posture and body alignment, he assembled an exercise routine that would help re-educate Lau's body to function properly, or in other words, these exercises would eventually balance and align Lau's joints by motivating his muscles to move correctly. Then as his body functioned better, the better Lau would feel and the better he would fish.
On Nov. 22, Perret designed 10 exercis to address Lau's low-back pain, hip functioning, tibia alignment, knee pain, fallen arches and plantar fasciitis, and Perret reminded Lau to do these exercises in the order that they are listed below.
(1) Five minutes of Static Back.
(2) Two sets of 20 of the Hooklying Rocking Chair with a Pillow.
(3) Supine Calf and Hamstring Stretch with a Strap exercise, which Lau held for 30 seconds on each of the four poses.
(4) Two minutes of Static Wall.
(5) Forty Supine Foot Circles and Point/Flexes with each foot.
(6) Two sets of 25 Abdominal Crunches.
(7) Spread Foot Forward Bend for 30 seconds.
(8) Three sets of 10 Static Wall Femur Rotations.
(9) Two sets of 20 Sitting Abductor Presses.
(10) Two minutes of Airbench.
Perret told Lau that it might take many weeks and several new series of exercises to correct all the muscle imbalances that were affecting the way he moves his bones. Perret reminded Lau that it is easier to prevent pain than it is to fix it, which is why he recommends that anglers do a series of maintenance exercises even when they are not harassed by pain. And once Lau becomes pain free, he should work with a series of maintenance exercises once a day. (Anglers can find YouTube videos and other Internet descriptions and details about most of these exercises, and below the endnotes of this blog, there are some photographs of Lau executing seven of these exercises.)
As 2014 unfolds, we hope to post blogs updating Lau's progress in pain free fishing.
1. For more information about Pok-Chi Lau, please use these links: (a) http://people.ku.edu/~pclau/artist.htm
2. For more information about Travis Perret, please use these links: (a) http://www.felixfishing.com/category/help-with-chronic-pain/
(g) Anglers can talk to Perret by calling 913-424-9354. He can also work with angler via the Internet, and he can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. In addition to working with Travis Perret to prevent chronic pain from afflicting my joints, I eat the high-nutrient diet prescribed in Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "3 Steps to Incredible Health." His diet has allowed me to become healthier as I have aged. For more information about Fuhrman's observations about the food we should and should not eat, see his website at this link: http://www.drfuhrman.com/
Photographs of Pok-Chi Lau executing seven of the 10 exercises that Perret created:
- Pok-Chi Lau doing the supine calf and hamstring stretch.
- Pok-Chi Lau doing the foot-circles-and-point-flexes exercise.