By Mark Salamon, January 1, 2019
Part of my job as a physical therapist is to keep abreast of various exercise regimes so that I can properly advise my patients. So I recently decided that it was high time I tried yoga. I have researched yoga, observed yoga, treated patients who were injured doing yoga, even written articles about yoga. But I had never tried it until now.
The experience was pretty much what I expected. The calmness. The serenity. The pain. Apparently, not everyone experiences pain during yoga, but as someone with the natural flexibility of oak, I have pain getting into a basic sitting position on my recliner. So I had to modify some of the yoga positions so that it would be possible to extract myself from them without the aid of the fire department.
After my yoga experience, I did feel a bit more flexible and lighter on my feet. But I have to say that as far as workouts go, I felt like something was missing. It wasn’t terrible, but I couldn’t help feeling that it fell just a little short. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the one thing that would have made it a perfect workout, and then it dawned on me: farm animals.
Of course! How could I not have thought of this sooner? When it finally hit me, the rest just fell into place. Goats, obviously, would be the farm animal of choice to truly complete just about any workout routine, especially yoga. It makes perfect sense. Think about a room full of people doing yoga. Now think about that same group of people doing yoga with a bunch of goats milling around stepping on people, snuggling, head butting, urinating, etc. Now that’s a workout.
My mind started racing as I imagined how I could take this idea and turn it into the latest health craze. But I knew deep down that there was no way that I was the first person to ever think of this idea, and a quick google search confirmed this hunch. It turns out that a woman named Lainey Morse, who owns a farm called “No Regrets” in Albany, Oregon, already invented goat-yoga, and teaches classes that draw thousands of customers. (1)
So I missed the boat on that one. But it occurred to me that as a healthcare professional, I am in a unique position to take advantage of the medical benefits of goats milling about, and apply them to other settings besides yoga. And what better place to start than my place of employment, a squeaky clean outpatient physical therapy clinic. The only obstacle I foresee is the Department of Health. The last time they came through our clinic, they informed us that we are no longer allowed to have cardboard boxes because, apparently, cardboard boxes have been shown to have germs on them. So it might take a little doing to get them to agree to goats. But once I clear that hurdle, it will be smooth sailing. And if goat-physical therapy takes off the way I think it will, I’ll move on to the next logical step: operating rooms.