When you sit down with John Thorp, you might want to buckle up and hold on tight because the story of his life is a fun ride. As you listen to his journey you will find yourself hang gliding in Hawaii, working as a stunt double for CBS or standing in the winner’s circle at the Kentucky Derby. Thorp’s story is one of adventure, success, injury, determination, recovery and faith and it all comes together to bring him to the place where he is today.
Born in 1951 in Burbank, California, Thorp turned 18 at the height of the Vietnam War. But thanks to a downhill skiing accident, that shaved off his right knee cap, Thorp was given the 1-Y medical deferment which exempted him from military service. With this news, Thorp took off to Hawaii where he spent his days surfing and setting world records as a hang glider before eventually landing a gig as a stunt man.
“When I was 21 years old I would take people up for rides in my hang glider. I had a sign down below that pointed up and said RIDES and I would take people up for $100 each,” said Thorp. “One day I looked down and saw these guys standing around my sign, all in aloha shirts, next to a convertible and I thought ‘Wow, great customers’ so I circled around and landed. It ended up being the Executive Producer for Hawaii Five-0 and he hired me on the spot to work in a movie and that was where my stunt career began.”
Over the years Thorp made his mark doing stunts in Hawaii Five-0, Magnum PI, Charlie’s Angels, Six Million Dollar Man and any other show that came to Hawaii. But in 1986 everything came to a halt when he was in a non-stunt related accident, shattering his right leg. He broke his fibula, his tibia, and his femur. The doctors did a bone graph off the hip to glue the tibia plateau together and they put in 3 pins, 12 screws, and 2 plates. He had 168 sutures with a drain tube out of his hip and the doctors gave him no hope of ever bending the leg again. He was told that he would never surf, hang glide, ski or run again and that his stunt career was over. It was at this low point that Thorp felt like God was trying to get his attention.
“My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was just one year old and so I don’t have any childhood memories that don’t include a dying mom,” said Thorp. “But a mother that is dying doesn’t give you bad information and she instilled in me the deepest faith that cannot be shaken. So, in 1986, right in the middle of my party hardy lifestyle, God used a shattered leg to help me realize that it was time for me to make a change.” But that change wouldn’t come without a lot of pain, dedication and hard work. Thanks to his stunt career, Thorp had connections and through his friendship with Lee Majors, he found a technology that would give him a second chance. The therapy, Electro-Acuscope and Myopulse, was being used in elite facilities in California and only on high profile athletes such as Terry Bradshaw, Carl Malone, Joe Montana, Jack Nicolas and of course, Majors himself. He convinced the facility to take him on as a patient and began his healing journey.
“I went in search for the cure, found it and one year to the date of my accident I ran my first triathlon on a leg that I was told would never bend,” said Thorp. “Yes, I had to get my life together and quit the things that I had done to deplete my body, but now it was up to my body to be the miracle it was set up to be and to heal itself with a little help from electricity.”
Thorpe learned how to use the devices, working all day every day to make a full recovery, fighting through extreme pain and difficulty, but eventually regaining full rotation of the knee. After running his first triathlon, he called his orthopedic surgeon to tell him what he had done and the doctor was convinced that Thorp was insane. He believed that if Thorp continued to run on a knee that was bone on bone without cartilage, he would be crippled within a year. Thorp thanked him for his time and then three years later he almost beat the surgeon in another triathlon. “The way I saw it was if this device I was using was truly true and if the cells truly replicate themselves every seven years, then in seven years I would either be crippled or I would be well,” said Thorp. “Now it has been 33 years and I’ve competed in 32 triathlons, I’ve overseen 40,000 patient hours with the new technology that is much more advanced than what I started out with and I now train doctors in all walks of medicine to use what the stunt man found to be correct.”
Thorp went on to attend the institute of Biomolecular Research & Education becoming fully trained in the operation of the scope and then spent some time treating horses at a race track to begin to pay for his therapy, training and devices. He eventually returned to Hawaii and to stunt work using the device to help himself continue recovery. In time, through word of mouth, Thorp ended up treating others who needed help and eventually treated the President of Castle Medical Center in Hawaii. He continued to learn by studying acupuncture at the Institute of Oriental Medicine and developed the most effective treatment using the Acuscope/Myopulse therapy in conjunction with acupuncture and pressure points. After much success, he was offered the opportunity to bring the technology to the medical center and spent four years overseeing 20 technicians all seeing 8 patients a day with a variety of injuries. Their success rate was unprecedented and helped Thorp learn through clinical studies what actually works, leading him to develop protocols that are now being used by physicians and clinicians worldwide.
Years down the road, Thorp had the opportunity to meet the developer of the Acuscope and together they were able to incorporate Thorp’s findings with acupuncture, equine treatment, and clinical studies to revamp the system creating the new and improved Equiscope. Now, they see people in chronic pain, those who have been in car accidents, athletes, or even people recovering from surgery and are able to decrease recovery time and see improvement in just a matter days or weeks.
“I developed the protocols while at Castle Medical Center and now I am able to teach those clinical protocols to anyone. The technology has evolved as now we look at the body from an electrical point of view, and use artificial intelligence to excite the tissues and capture the behavior of the autonomic nervous system,” said Thorp. “When we capture that, whether it is sympathetic or parasympathetic, it’s measurable. This isn’t just infusing charge this is exciting tissue, capturing behavior and treating the body efficiently and effectively.”
Even after all of the opportunity, fame and success, when you ask Thorp about his greatest accomplishment, he quickly points to his wife and daughters. Together they love spending time outside, enjoying the beautiful California coastal living and partnering together in life.
“I am such a blessed man. God has taken care of me, given me second chances and I’m just thankful. So, this is my tithe, treating people, helping those in pain is my way of giving back in gratitude for all that I’ve been given,” said Thorp. “To be able to relive suffering from any living thing, wow! What a blessed man I am.”
To learn more about Thorp’s Electro-Equiscope Training & Therapy center and to better understand the technology, visit their website at thorpinstitute.com.