Canadian walks his stretching message around the continent in year-long journey

by Frances Guinn
Anvil Herald of Hondo, Texas

You could say nothing is too much of a stretch for Jacques Gauthier. In fact, he goes out of his way to demonstrate the healthful benefits of stretching as exercise and to give hope to people who are desperate because of their physical condition. But it wasn’t always so.

The resident of Quebec, Canada, walked into Hondo and spent Wednesday night in his camper here. Thanksgiving Day he walked on, heading for Uvalde, Del Rio and points beyond.

In 1980, at the age of 41, Jacques was diagnosed with vasculitis and his health began to deteriorate. After a while, his wife was having to help him get out of bed to sit in a chair. He said he was in excruciating pain all the time and, one by one, he began to lose use of his extremities.

By the time he turned 50, “The best doctors in eastern Canada could give me no hope but to finish my life as a quadriplegic and be confined to a motorized wheel chair. I was afflicted by three non-curable diseases, » he said.

The medication he was taking for the vasculitis had brought on osteoporosis and arthritis began to set in, also.

After nine years of taking medication, he was told that he would have to start taking more medication to counteract the side effects of the first. He decided to stop taking all medication and try alternative methods.

His condition worsened but he continued to try different treatments. Then, someone put him in contact with a healer, a man with no education, who prescribed a simple routine of stretching exercises.

Almost immediately, Jacques began to feel results as he worked through the pain. Within a couple weeks, the changes were dramatic.

“Seven months of intensive stretching exercises put me back on my feet,” he said. “No pain, no more symptoms! I was a new man, totally functional again.”

Impressed by the changes in her husband and experiencing some of the “aches and pains of getting older,” Jacques’ wife, Dorothée, at age 47, decided to give the exercises a try and now describes herself as in her “best physical condition ever.”

Several years later, the couple produced a video and CD of their simple exercise routine and Jacques teaches seminars on the techniques in Europe.

He has made it his mission in life to show and teach others the benefits of stretching. He took up walking as a way of telling people from his own experience that the best healing solution in the world today is stretching ¬ and it is free.

In 1997 Jacques and his wife, Dorothée, walked 1,200 miles across the province of Quebec.

In 1999 Jacques walked clear across Canada ¬coast to coast¬ 4,000 miles.

Currently, he is undertaking his most ambitious goal yet ¬to be the first man to walk around the North American continent.

As he walked into Hondo, he was nearly half-way in his journey, 5 1/2 months into the year-long project.

His traveling companion and motor home driver, Veronique Vandiest of Brussels, Belgium, is experiencing America for the first time.

With delightful a French accent, Vandiest, an herbalist, said she learned of Gauthier¹s project when he was giving a seminar in Belgium. She volunteered to accompany him.

Everywhere he travels, he tells of his healing experience and distributes information to anyone who is interested.

Jacques and Dorothée also have a website: www.stretching-plus.com