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Surgical Recovery

Testimonials from Howard's Massage Clients

Dear Howard:

The work you do, Howard, is truly amazing and can be life changing. Let me begin with a bit of history. In 2006 I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene which set me on a journey that would take me through six surgeries over the next 2 years beginning with a hysterectomy and oophrectomy, followed by a double mastectomy with DIEP flap breast reconstruction (which wound up being a 20 hour surgical procedure), which were then followed by 3 breast revision surgeries.

As a result of being under anesthesia for the 20 hour double mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction and the narcotics administered in the couple of days that followed the surgery, I wound up with a ileus (a non-mechanical blockage of the peristalsis or movement of the bowels). The ileus caused extreme abdominal pain, that and the scar tissue I had developed in my abdomen as a result of the multiple surgeries caused me to develop the condition of chronic constipation. The chronic constipation resulted in bouts of uncontrollable diarrhea which kept out of work for six months a year after the original surgery that caused the ileus to begin with. This sent me for more testing, multiple colonoscopies and, yes, one more surgery – an appendectomy. I couldn’t go to work or go out because I would have no warning when the next bout of diarrhea would hit or if I would make it to a bathroom in time. I had become a virtual prisoner at home. I was put on medication for chronic constipation which helped me have a much more normal life again. Did it solve the problem and relief me of the chronic constipation? NO, it did not. However, it produced marginal results and got me back to work and back into life. I was on that medication for the next five years, but developed a severe side effect which caused me to have to go off the medication.

Once I went off the medication the constipation immediately began to become a problem again. This was a road I did not want to go back down again. As a massage therapist and having taken one of your workshops, I was familiar with Myofascial Release Massage. I thought a treatment with you, Howard, might help with my constipation issues, especially since I was unable to use medication for it.

This is where the amazing and life changing experience comes into play. After just ONE - 1-hour treatment, I have not suffered a single day of constipation, diarrhea, bowel irregularities or discomfort since. Looking back I think of the physical pain, the embarrassment, the inconvenience and the stress I endured, how long I endured it and the difference ONE hour of treatment with Howard Rontal has made and I am AMAZED!!!

So, as I said when I started, Myofascial Release Massage is amazing and can be life changing. Thank you, Howard, for the great work you do and for sharing it with others.

Gratefully yours,

Penny Melfi
Licensed & Nationally Certified Massage Therapist


Hi Howard,

Thanks for your help in getting my shoulders to work again. Despite PT following rotator cuff surgery, I was unable to reach over my head. And too much reliance on my other shoulder made it weak and sore. Simple tasks such as blow drying my hair or putting something on a shelf became difficult and painful. I was resigned to my limitations until Michelle, my accupuncturist, referred me to you. With a lot of pain and laughter, you got my shoulders to loosen up and move again. Of course, my shoulders were not an isolated problem. Arthritic knees and plantar fascitis complete my aching, 57 yr old body. I am now able to go to the gym without risking injury.

Susan Wurtzel


Hi, Howard.

Thanks so much for the session last week. I thought you would like to know that the releases are continuing to "hold". The essentially painfree nature of my back is truly significant. There is still some holding there but I can breath down into the body without spasms and pain in the back muscles.

Also, the left "frozen" shoulder is completely resolved — that subscapular work (ouch!) freed it up so that the last bit of contraction (couldn't lift the arm straight out to the side and then vertical) is gone and my arm goes straight up when lifted out to the side. It was not even close to that before the session.

Also, I noticed some sharp pain in my right ankle for two days afterward, and attribute this to the fact that the releases resulted in my standing and walking differently. The ankle situation has resolved since then.

Finally, my pilates instructor said today (first session with her since the work with you) that she can see that my pelvis is in a different position, and that the work I am doing on the trap table is coming out of the deeper core of my body more consistently.

But the pelvis shift is most obvious to her, and notable given how cork-screwed my lower body has been. And when I have both feet on the bar side-by-side and am pushing away from it with the core, the legs feel completely different. They working at the same level of strength rather than the left leg being apparently weaker.

For the record, my problems started in 2000 when I had a partial hysterectomy in which my uterus was removed due to 6½ pounds of fibroid tumours. These tumours pressed against the sciatic nerve at night and so there was a lot of pain.

Also, in 2005 I had open-heart surgery to repair my mitral valve, the deterioration of which was due to permanent damage from bacterial endocarditis in the late 1980s and which had progressed to the point where the heart was enlargening and losing functionality as evidenced from sharp chest pains on bending and increased frequency and severity of panic attacks which were associated with the body trying to compensate by kicking in adrenaline.

The cut through the sternum was about 4 inches and there were also two major openings for tubes, one over the diaphragm and one on the inside of the left breast, plus arterial IV's (can't remember the clinical name) in the left crook of the arm and the left side of the neck. Plus there was a catherization done pre-op through the right femoral artery beginning in the groin area.

So, good things happening.


(Several days after the above was sent): And one more thing. Today I had my first vocal coaching since the session with you and didn't tell my coach of the thoracic work you did. He was watching my rib cage and diaphragm area as I ran scales and his eyes widened real big and he said, "You're moving!"

I told him about the work you did. He was very impressed. I still feel some pain deep in when I sing for a period of time and really just let the body move with the breath, but it is MUCH better! And the emotional charge from breathing that way is gone.

Howard Rontal demonstrates MRM Massage