Knee injury with lateral release and scoping surgery planned and subsequently canceled due to intensive 30-day Bikram practice.
I was on a wildfire assignment up in Washington's northern Cascades when I went down, and my right knee cap was later shown via MRI to be riding on the right side of the normal joint movement area presumably due to tight muscles and tendons, combined with some tweaking while walking on steeps slopes cross country. I was prescribed lateral release surgery on the right tendons connecting to "IT" band, and scoping beneath knee cap.
I started doing Bikram because I wanted to be in the best shape I could be in before going into surgery to facilitate a quicker recovery so I could return to fighting fire the following summer. I had been told my recovery would take at least 10 weeks. I had no idea that 4 weeks of Bikram would get me out of knee surgery.
When I returned to the doctor after one month of doing Bikram nearly everyday, he examined me and determined that he could not do surgery on me now in good conscience, as the tight tendons were now lengthened and the underside of the knee cap would smooth itself back out over time. In order to ensure that the changes in my body were permanent and would hold up to the backcountry foot travel that I do as a firefighter, he asked me to stop yoga, and hike, run, and ski as much as possible for one month, and come back for reexamination. I did and although I was missing the yoga, physically I held up well, and was released to normal work duty.
I have continued to do Bikram, with varying regularity, but rarely going more than a month between practices at the most, and 3 times a week at best, ever since. I credit it for fast healing from injury and maintenance of a healthy mind and body.
Within one month, I was significantly improved and running again, after being on light duty and unable to perform my usual duties as a wild land firefighter for several months.
Amanda Rau Stamper