If you met Darrel Mills in person, you’d never know that he had been through five years of hell. He greets everyone with a warm, friendly spirit, bright outlook on life, and an easy belly-laugh. He listens to your story with all his heart, full of compassion and empathy that is made more possible in someone who has also experienced the challenges of difficult times. After all he has been through himself, his greatest desire is to help others find hope for their health and well-being.
In the midst of a thriving 30+-year career as a physical therapist, Darrel’s years of pain began abruptly during the normal course of a day of work. Traveling between appointments, a vehicle rear-ended him. Not long after, pain coursed through his neck and back, forcing Darrel to become the patient rather than the provider. He spent the next five years in a battle for his health, which involved dealing with excruciating pain and a domino effect from being over-medicated with opioids: sleep disruption, depression, weight gain, and addiction to painkillers.
After years of resisting direction from medical advisors with things like surgery or ablation therapy to scrape his spine and living with the debilitating side effects of pain medications, he was desperate to find something else.
A highly credentialed physical therapist (he is a CMT, PTA, Exercise Physiologist B.S. Certified Custom Orthotics Technician, and Certified MET), Darrel took matters into his own hands and turned to alternative medicine. His research led him to Sunlighten, which he decided to purchase because of the commitment to the science and research. Darrell chose an mPulse series sauna for the custom health programs and the Discover model so he lay down and stretch out fully.
Unable to do physical therapy himself because of the pressure on his spinal cord, he began saunaing two times a day to detox from the pain killers, a difficulty compounded by intense withdrawals. His doctor offered rehab, but he didn’t want to be put on more drugs, so Darrel decided to tough it out. He saunaed twice a day, every day, and says his sauna helped him get through.
Slowly the pain started going away--without drugs, and with the help of his sauna.
At its worst, the pain in his neck was so bad he had to pull his hair to get his head up off the pillow. The day he woke up and didn’t have to do that was the day he knew his sauna had helped him turn a corner.
Eventually he became pain free, drug free, lost weight, his mobility improved, he could turn his head to look behind him when he backed his car up. It was a slow, gradual process he was able to stick to because it felt so good.
The drugs had also damaged his liver. When he went back to his doctor after a few months, he was able to decline offers of any refills and the liver test showed that the damage had completely cleared up.
Nearly two years since he recovered, Darrel’s life is back on track. He and his wife enjoy spending time in the sauna together on regular sauna dates. He’s playing tennis again, and enjoying time with his sons and extended family, sharing his contagious laughter and light continuing to help others through all he has endured and overcome.