In this movie "The Accountant", Ben Affleck's character:

  1. Turns on music
  2. Turns on a yellow flash light
  3. Uses a wooden stick to massage his own leg
  4. Finishes doing it when a timer expires

I am not sure what he was doing here.

  • 3
    I was happy that no one was epileptic when I watch it, because the second time, it was quite long. It's not explained clearly, but I understand it as a "therapy" for him.
    – Larme
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 9:08

7 Answers 7


In the beginning of the movie his father says to the therapist something along these lines:

"If he's vulnerable to loud noises and bright light he needs more of it, and not less, as the world is not a controlled environment"

So it is some kind of self-disciplined training to make him more resistant to stimuli from the big and scary world, to train him in remaining calm in stressful situations.

And I think the rolling on his shins is not really massaging, but to make his shins stronger/less painful in fights (opinions on the effect of this may vary, some say it only deadens your nerves, others say it increases bone strength as well). If you roll hard enough, this is everything but comfortable and adds to the stressful situation. CS Interview: The Accountant Director Gavin O’Connor

He only does this flashing/loud music training in his house, outside in the world, outside his comfort zone. Inside his trailer he can relax, he feels safe there, and he can listen to classical music and let down his guard.

  • 2
    I confirm the rolling part, it's a pretty common thing in the kickboxing universe
    – M.Polo
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 15:02
  • 4
    I thought he was over stimulating himself in a sensory fashion.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 0:44
  • @M.Polo - but is he training his shins, or is he just subjecting himself to the discomfort and pain? Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 17:36

It's a textbook Muay Thai technique called shin conditioning. He is using a rolling pin which is very common in the martial art. Remember that his father had him trained in many martial arts and especially that the Asian analysts told the girl agent on the phone that hooded figure in the survalence tape at the beginning killed the mobster with one kick to the head which lead to "blunt force trauma"...I can't believe no one else understood this...but anyhow it makes it all the more awesome.

  • 4
    This answer would be so much better with visual examples and links to the information you are describing.
    – John
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 6:34

The technique used is calming because it essentially serves as an effective method to interrupt an over stimulated state of anxiety or stress. The loud music serves as an auditory interrupt. The flashing lights serve as a visual interrupt. And rolling on his shins serves as physical interrupt.


The rolling part ties into the stimulus. It’s painful and plays some role with the lights and music.

Highly doubt he’s worried about leg day while completely shooting his anxiety to the moon.


This is addressed in the film script. He apparently has some kind of hyperactivity disorder linked to his autism. The flashback shows him learning to 'calm himself' through a range of self-stimulation and mantra-relaxation techniques. This is, evidently, what he's come up with in later life.

Chris, t-shirt and boxers, sits in the center of a queensized bed, legs extended. He rolls a cut-down BROOM STICK up and down scarred shins. Up. Down. His mind elsewhere.

Young Boy rages, strains against his Father. The man kneels, strong arms wrapped around his son, squeezing, rocking.

YOUNG BOY’S FATHER: Fight. That’s it. Burn off that energy. Burn it. Burn it.

YOUNG BOY: We don’t want to move! Don’t want to move! To move!

Young Boy keens, tries in vain to break free. They rock.

YOUNG BOY’S FATHER: You need to learn how to calm yourself. What works. Use it to stay in control. Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, christened on Tuesday...
(Young Boy starts to calm)
Feel the squeeze. The pressure. Calm. Good boy. Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, christened on Tuesday--


Muay Thai is a great example, but it not only works on the shin. The version portrayed in the movie also works with other bones, but there are many other ways to condition many of the other bones in the body. Finding a sifu to instruct you in the correct way is the correct way to go about Iron Body, not an actor on a movie. I do not recommend trying this at home without correct supervision. Also, anyone can hurt another, those truly gifted can also heal those who are hurt. Seek peace in any interaction, but remember your abilities in the nonpeaceful ones!

  • You might want to consider editing that into your existing answer (provided it contributes to answering the question) instead of creating a new one.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 1:57

Because the accountant is Autistic, his father put him into an overstimulated place with the loud music and flashing lights, then taught him how to deal with the over stimulation by doing the shin thing and using the nursery rhyme muttering. His dad tried to make them tolerate more than the usual because he knew the autistic boy would suffer bullying. I have an autistic cousin who does the slf stimulation and nursery rhyme to find a calm place. Often Drs want to drug them, when sometimes they need to deal with life, but find a self soothing technique.

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