'Miracle' man is on a mission to share secrets of back-pain cure
After a debilitating accident, Steve Timm was forced to heal himself when conventional medicine failed, writes Victoria Mary Clarke
STEVE Timm used to think he was Superman, when he was a kid. He loved swimming and rowing and all kinds of other sports, and because he was tall and strong, he could not imagine being any other way.
He thought of his body as indestructible and he pushed it as far as it would go. If he felt pain, he ignored it. Until one day, it was too late. An injury that happened at work, when he lifted a heavy piece of equipment, left him flat on his neck and unable to move. He tried to ignore the pain, but the agony was so overwhelming that he couldn't, and he had to turn himself over to the care of a whole host of medical practitioners to try to get some relief.
Not all of us end up flat on our backs, riddled with back pain. But according to statistics, 80 per cent of Americans, and probably the same amount of Irish people, experience back pain at some time. And even if it is not excruciating, low-level back pain is responsible for constant misery for many people.
Most of us never give our backs a second thought until the pain forces us to. Luckily for Steve -- and possibly for the rest of us -- the pain can sometimes trigger a level of inquiry and awareness, a new degree of respect for the body that points us in the direction of a cure.
In Steve's case, having exhausted the knowledge and abilities of the chiropractors and osteopaths he was seeing, he was told that there was nothing more they could do for him, that he would just have to get a new body or else suffer. Not having the first option, and not being willing to accept the second, Steve set out on a mission to heal his own back.
And once he had found a cure, he set about sharing it with other people.
The first thing that strikes me about Steve, when I meet him in Dun Laoghaire, where he has stopped for a brief visit as part of his perpetual journey around the world (he tells me that he travels for 300 days a year), is how perfect his posture is. His back looks perfectly straight, and he moves with ease and grace, despite being almost 70 years of age.
"I was always interested in yoga," he tells me. "Even as a child."
"That is very unusual," I say, aware that he grew up in Chile.
"I was quite unusual!" he says with a laugh.
Another unusual thing about Steve is that although he is an engineer by trade, his approach to his own healing was not logical or scientific in the way that it came to him.
"I used my intuition to discover what worked," he says.
He explains that he used his interest in yoga and meditation and also in what psychologist Abraham Maslow called 'peak experience', which is accessing that level of consciousness which transcends the intellect and gives us access to genius-level knowledge. "Following that inner journey came the response I was looking for. The healing techniques that I am now offering to share came as whispers of intuition."
Having accessed the insights, he then tried them out on his own body, very carefully and slowly discovering the way to heal his own back. It worked.
"I knew I was on the right track when I began to experience some bliss and happiness emerging from the pain," he says.
Eventually all the pain was gone. "I would have left it at that," he says. "If not for something that happened to my daughter Cecilia."
His daughter had a car accident in which she severely damaged her back, so much so that after five years of treatment from expensive specialists, she was still crippled and dependent on morphine.
"After everything else had failed, she agreed to try my technique," he says. "And almost immediately she got a signal that it was working, she felt her body being flooded with bliss. Within a year, Cecilia could swim and work out in the gym, she had given up the painkillers and was leading a normal life.
"My daughter's miraculous recovery convinced me God had given me a truly precious gift that needed to be shared with others," Steve says.
"So I formulated everything I had learned into a programme designed to enable everyone to maintain a healthy back, called the Mind Your Own Back programme."
After our conversation, Steve talks me through a simple sequence of exercises, which take about 20 minutes. I find them easy to do, and uncomplicated to remember. He rewards me by telling me that I am a very good yogi, and I am delighted. He also gives me a copy of his book in which all the exercises are explained and many more poses are included. I am extremely fortunate to have met him, especially seeing as I have been given a one-on-one lesson. Tomorrow he is off on his travels again, journeying round the world teaching what he knows.
"I am a bit silly," he says. "I am spending my retirement money doing this!" But he also tells me that he loves the work. Clearly, when you have a double miracle in your life, you really enjoy passing it on to other people.
Copies of 'Mind Your Own Back' are available from Noel O Neill (01) 2845742 or at www.mindyourownback.com