The Remarkable Story of Jacques Gauthier
We met Jacques Gauthier at age 66 as he was nearing the end of a walk across the United States to spread the word about the benefits of stretching. He looked the picture of health, and when he returned to our town a year later, he was still going strong.
Seeing Jacques today, it is hard to believe that 17 years ago he was in severe pain. Diagnosed with arthritis, osteoporosis and vasculitis, he was barely able to perform the most basic activities of living. It took him 15 minutes just to get out of bed. He couldn’t even shower himself as he was unable to lift a bar of soap!
Jacques relaxing in front of his RV that a friend drove on his walk across the United States — 6,000 miles in just under one year!
How it all began —
Jacques’ problems began at the age of 41, when he was afflicted with neurological problems which doctors were unable to diagnose. He was in pain and started losing function in his limbs.
He lost all use of his left arm which atrophied over time. His “mystery illness” made him the subject of much medical interest and he became the object of a great deal of study.
With all of the symptoms of vasculitis, he was prescribed prednisone to combat the pain. H was told that he would be on steroids for the rest of his life, but Jacques was pleased to find that the pain was relieved and his energy returned.
“No More Pills!”
Little did he know that a side of effect of prednisone is loss of bone, and 8 years later, he learned that he had developed severe osteoporosis with 30% bone loss! He was then prescribed a medication to stop the effects of the osteoporosis. It was then that he made what he calls “the most important decision of my life – no more pills.”
He realized that the new medication would likely have new side effects which would require yet another medication. At that point he decided that if he was to become a quadriplegic, as doctors were predicting, he would rather have that happen as a result of the disease rather than the medication.
Jacques stopped taking the prednisone.
Although this turned out to be a good decision in the long run, Jacques did not realize that stopping the prednisone all at once could be fatal. Fortunately, it wasn’t fatal, but it did lead to crippling arthritis.
Jacques’ pain was so severe that he was practically bed bound for 6 months. All he could do was listen to meditation tapes and pray!
Jacques Learns about Stretching…
Finally, a friend told him about someone who might be able to help him. Despite his pain, Jacques traveled 600 miles to meet a man who told him that the simple exercise of stretching was his only hope to recover from this terrible condition.
At first he could only stretch for a few seconds and then rest for ½ hour before trying again. But after spending 3 weeks doing stretches throughout the day, his pain had been reduced by 50%. In another 6 months, he was pain free and leading a normal life.
“You Don’t Have to Live With Pain!”
Jacques insists that “you don’t have to live with pain!” Thankful for his recovery, he has dedicated himself to bringing the life-giving benefits of stretching to everyone he can.
People of all ages and all walks of life have been receiving the benefit of the simple stretches he teaches. Doctors, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists and all manner of health care providers have enjoyed his courses and recommend the stretches to their patients. Jacques has many stories about the benefits people have enjoyed from stretching, some of which you can read in his article about stretching on this website.
Over the years, Jacques has taught stretching to thousands of people. Many have reported improvement in a wide variety of problems, including headaches, sciatica, back and neck pain, insomnia, depression and even conditions like fibromyalgia.
So inspiring to take Jacques’ classes!
When we first met him on his 2005 cross-country walk, Jacques stayed in town long enough to teach some classes which we were able to attend. In just a week, people in the class we took were happy to find increased flexibility and that they were beginning to be more comfortable as they moved. Our own physician was in the class with us as well, and he highly recommends Jacques’ program.
We were so impressed with Jacques’ simple, relaxed approach and effectiveness of his program that we decided to carry his wonderful DVD on our website. (Read about the stretching DVD Jacques made with his partner, Dorothée Lavoie.)