Hey Paul,

Here is my current take on what you do and what it can, and does, mean for a guy like me.

UCLA’s Division of Geriatrics Healthy Years recently published a look at increasing acceptance and use of acupuncture to relieve a variety of ailments traditionally associated with ageing. “Most doctors,” they wrote, “believe that the needle stick causes the central nervous system to release morphine-like pain killers called endorphins.”

Harvard’s Men’s Health Watch, nearly simultaneously (November 2012), reported that researchers had pooled the findings of 29 completed studies involving nearly 18,000 people for a published study appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine; their conclusion was that, in addition to a potential placebo effect accounting for a fractional portion of the reported results, acupuncture helps “relieve chronic pain in the back, neck, and shoulders, as well as pain from osteoarthritis and headaches.”

The benefits of the acupuncture procedures are evidently noticeably enhanced when they are part of a balanced regime of exercise and related health, fitness and wellness measures. Sounds good to me.

I guess it pays to give the central nervous system at least a chance to set itself right, from time to time. Acupuncture is one way to do that, a way we are increasingly able to understand. Periodic paddlings may very well be another, somewhat more macho way to get the job done! Is it such a big jump from the painless needle-stick to a resounding paddle-smack?

Now, what follows is between us guys, Paul. Locker room confidences and doctor/patient therapist/patient exchanges that have nothing whatever to do with male/female relationships of any kind. OK? For some guys, it might be an entirely different story, and that is fine for them (and for the gals in their lives, presuming that the gals think so, too). But we’re all benefiting from living in an increasingly un-hung-up society and it’s time to “man-up” on this subject, as far as I am concerned, between you and me, at least. When I get a massage, I want the masseur handling things; when I have to have a doctor or dentist’s attention, I definitely want a guy running the drill and pulling on the rubber glove. Just a guy-thing, in my mind.

If you think about it, there should be no honest uneasiness among guys about this. Don’t we all watch football every weekend? Do guys worry about the man-handling that goes with wrestling matches? Or the age-old virtues and values of the boxing ring? Who didn’t “get it” when watching Fight Club? How many collegians are ready, year after year, to assume the position and take their licks from bros (who become life-long friends and confidants), often in front of their frat-mates? Maybe it is less commonly practiced among modern child-raising experts and their believers, but maybe that is (in some cases – I’m not at all talking about truly abusive practices by corrupt and corrupting authority freaks who try to perpetuate and take advantage of traditional power imbalances that leave unfortunate victims in emotional isolation instead of wholesomely acknowledging, appreciating and empowering the other guys in their relationships) a loss in the same vein as the politically correct inhibition of guys who are, increasingly, afraid to undress and walk to or from the showers unless swathed in a towel, who are even afraid to use a shower at all unless it has at least two curtains to hide behind in an individual stall!

I understand and, to a degree, empathize with such inhibiting intra-gender behavior factors. But I don’t want to let them dominate me any longer; I don’t want ANY such foolishness to dominate or inhibit me any longer, at all. So I am proposing the following as a sort of draft testimonial for you and manifesto for the various men who may find themselves the proud owners of your equipment. And instead of sneaking off into the shadows for hidden enjoyments, I am “manning up” here and now with a brief statement of what happens next, in my house, thanks to your intelligence, imagination and good work.

The “therapy” you make possible for me isn’t for kids; in my opinion, that is entirely another subject. But for sexually mature men (i.e. “adults”), it holds real promise. Can any guy honestly say that he doesn’t meet and have to deal with at least one other guy practically every week who wouldn’t benefit – seriously – from an extended session with one of your machines? When does whatever works in and from that sort of “treatment” become something that just turns off, goes away or never works again for some overgrown adolescent of any age? And why do we imagine that it has to be some crisis-intervention measure instead of a regularly administered realignment of the central nervous system that bestows a positive benefit on the total organism, both physical and psychological, at every stage in its maturation? Acupuncture works for guys of any age; why shouldn’t the hairbrush?

For myself, the first real and continuing benefit has come from the knowledge that you exist in the world and you are ready to deal with the mechanics of the measures to be taken, with imagination and intelligence and care – all of which are mental and physical virtues we associate with craftsmen to be admired by the guys who benefit from their skills in the most serious and lasting way.

You just accepted my growing sense of need for the machinery, like a dentist or doctor or masseur or talk-therapist – or auto-mechanic! -- with the personal readiness and ability to provide the help that was needed in the ordinary course of care-giving work. When I ventured to ask if you could modify the paddle arm with a hairbrush on the business-end, you just told me to send you the brushes and you would see what you could do. And I did. And you did! And it worked, just the way I hoped it might, and just the way you intended it to do. Maybe the standard arm is the better choice for some guys, but the brush is the option that seems very clearly to be the most effective tool for me and NOTHING is better than the awareness that you listened, you understood, you thought about it and you took the action needed to give me what I had been needing and finally had the guts to ask for, man-to-man.

When I got bent out of shape trying to get the machine assembled and follow your instructions to a “T”, you read through my over-heated cry for help and just told me to cut the hysterics and calm down while we worked it out. I’m still not 100% system-capable, but I did get the basics in place and operational and they are plenty fine for the evolution of what I am pretty positive will become a key feature of my personal health and fitness routines.

It is both challenging and empowering to know that the machine is “standing ready” to deliver on demand with no bull***t, no whining, no excuses, no wordy explanations or other smokescreens and rationalizations, no dramatics or role-playing, no inhibitions or hesitations, no anxiety about its function, just good old basic applied physics when the button has been pushed or the switch thrown.

With no childhood experiences to match it, it is a healthy thing, as an adult, to know for some length of time before a treatment that it is, most certainly, most definitely coming; it builds a kind of character, I think, to recognize the need and take the few, minimal steps necessary to effectuate it. Your machine can be relied upon, and that in itself helps to put some order in the chaos of the world with pre-determined order and personalized attention to me, administered for my benefit, all of which is more than a little comforting, even while the therapy is being laid on.

To take maximum advantage of this new potential capability in my world, I think I’m going to start making a written record of my coordinated health and fitness activities, including the therapy you have made it possible to add to the swimming, the stretching, the weights and the walking. It is now, and will remain, a private activity, but I am hoping I will be able to report it, in a general way, to my doctor in the form of noticeable good effects, after several months of application. Meanwhile, I already have more than sufficient reason to believe there will be continuing emotional benefit from the stimulated flow of the endorphins.

That benefit begins, actually, with the setting up of the machine (which is pretty easy, even for me) and the setting of the controls on the compressor you selected for me. (It is a goal to be worked toward, too, to be able to raise that bar, i.e. put more of the machine’s muscle into the smack, as time goes by.) Then there is the liberation that comes with dropping my defenses (aka “dropping trou”) and getting into position for the procedure. It is a good chance, not to be rushed, to recall the anticipated benefits – as well as the precipitating causes and justifications for what is about to transpire – and the moment is not to be rushed through thoughtlessly. The machine is ready and waiting to do its part; being able to rely upon that, and being unable to evade or avoid it without having to admit an unacceptable character deficiency on my part, is of real and lasting value.

Then, with a clock in view, it is time to confront the control box. The manual mode makes it easy to confirm the maximum effective positioning and begin the warm-up a smack at a time. For whatever reason, it is (presently) a happily realistic fact that one stroke may be a real sizzler and the next may be much gentler (or vice versa). But the repeating of the smacks needs just the pushing of the button, back to the dynamic interchange of character/determination and control. With the passage of time, there may be an adjustment of the dials required; without constraints, there is, as you predicted, a range of squirming and involuntary, unaware, motion on my part that jiggles the target and makes the point of impact very realistically unpredictable. And the brush, with its concentration of the compressor’s force within an area of limited size, can paint the heat full-strength across both cheeks, down onto the upper thighs, inside the thighs, right into the back of my crotch and up the cleavage as my legs shift position and the kicking occurs.

With the help of the machine, I have been able to confirm what I have read about the increased efficacy of preparations including soap-suds and dripping water fresh from the shower (it’s true!) or baby-oiled target areas (also true) and even a few stripes, like toothpaste on a toothbrush, but painted on the back of the hairbrush with Icy Hot cream (which, completely memorable, will not need repetition on a frequent basis, believe me!)

While the machine is working, wordlessly whacking my posterior with completely professional thoroughness, I get to sort myself out, a whack at a time, checking the clock to see how long I’ve been over the ottoman and making myself ask and agree how much longer it is going to be before I push the “bail-out” button, wait for the experience to “sink in” and get back on my feet. It has taken on the qualities of a good workout in the weight room: how many reps, how many sets? Not sure, at that point, whether it is more painful or exhausting, to tell the truth. Depends on the adjustments during the prep period, I think, so it should be possible to keep raising the bar and moving the target in each case.

But, just as the day leading up to the application has been energized by the expectation, so the trip to bed with my backside glowing and smarting already leads to a night of deep and restful sleep – on my stomach – and a morning which, while stiff, promises a better day. And I think the routine will, perhaps frequently, be repeated before I hit the morning shower; maybe several times a week at first, then stretching out to a few times per month as long as things are going well with the world and I am keeping my nose clean.

So that is what comes of net-surfing in your neighborhood, Paul. Please accept my thanks and congratulations on making it possible to turn dreams into reality. I could never have done it without you. I will let you know how things are progressing. I owe you that much -- and much, much more.

Sincerely,
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