This note recognizes the past, present, and likely future of Dr. Loren Fishman, a psychiatrist.
The good doctor was driving along innocently one day when a taxi pulled in front of his car. He swerved to avoid the taxi and suffered a bad tear in his left shoulder—a tear in the supraspinatus muscle, specifically.
Dr. Fishman had practiced yoga for many years and felt frustrated by his inability to continue yoga while he waited to see a surgeon. One day he attempted a yoga headstand and after righting himself, he discovered he could raise his left arm over his head without pain, even though an M.R.I. showed that the supraspinatus muscle was still torn.
Note: This is not a serious post. If you are seriously interested, I recommend Jane Brody’s column in this morning’s New York Times.
Everything is good so far. And it gets better.
This headstand turned out to be a great treatment for the rotator cuff tears. In a report published this spring in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation (an issue of the journal devoted to therapeutic yoga), he described results in 50 patients with partial or complete tears of the supraspinatus muscle. All the yoga-treated patients maintained their initial relief for as long as they were studied, up to eight years, and none experienced new tears.
It’s that last line that shows clouds gathering on the horizon. The future I see for Dr. Fishman is that he discovers the commercial potential of this exercise and markets it as “No More Tears.” At that point, the children’s shampoo folks at Johnson and Johnson come down on him like a ton of bricks and he gets sprains in places he didn’t even know he had.
And he was so promising too, that Dr. Fishman.