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More on the Perils of Sitting and the Posture Solution April 30, 2014

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Movement, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy, The Human Body, Uncategorized.
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On my website I have a short article called “Achy From Sitting Too Much – Try These Exercises” about the problems associated with too much sitting in our society and beyond. I just came across a very detailed account of this problem in an article at Mind Body Green where it publishes an info graphic from FastCompany. Both websites are new to me but I am glad to see this problem get more attention. See below:

Just from the time I wrote the article a few years ago to now things have apparently gotten much worse in this regard. See how your own experience stacks up to these statistics in the info graphic.

In my article I point out that the “design requirements” of our human body are not at all met by the preponderance of sitting, computer use and so on. Our bodies get bent out of shape as muscles are disused and our bony frame misaligned, causing us much grief.  Hey, we evolved as upright beings after all! This all reveals the need to give the body the physical stimulus that is lacking in the sitting posture.  The exercises at the bottom of the article are examples of using posture alignment therapy developed by Pete Egoscue to do just that. Give them a try and tune into the muscles that are being used throughout. This routine won’t solve all your problems but give a sense of using postural muscles meant to get daily use. Feel free to contact me if you need more specific input.

In the meantime – stop sitting so much and get more active, your body will love you for it!

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The Stories Feet Can Tell! November 20, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Foot pain, Gait, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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TalkingFeetI have been offering a series of workshops lately using themes from the book Pain Free by Pete Egoscue. It is an excellent primer on The Egoscue Method he developed to address all manner of chronic pain issues ultimately caused by structural mis-alignments and body wide  imbalances.

The most recent was called “The Stories Feet Can Tell” and revolved around the chapters on feet and ankle problems.

I started off the workshop with asking everyone attending to share a specific foot or ankle condition they have or had and why they attended. I found it amazing that so many conditions would be present from just a small number of people(6 participants) regarding a relative small area of the human body.

The stories feet can tell indeed. Here was the line up:
Plantar fasciitis
Corns
Bunions
Hammer Toes
Ankle sprain
Pain on the dorsal(top) side of the foot
Flat feet
Excessive foot abduction (feet in duck footed position)
Bone spurs
Distorted toe positions
Foot numbness

We started off simply and had everyone just stand up in bare feet and close their eyes. I asked where do you feel the weight at your feet? Is it symmetrical or heavier to one side? How about at each individual foot? Is the weight on the ball, heel or one edge of the foot? Then people walked and tuned in again.

Only one out of the group felt relative balance from side to side but she also felt differences in where weight was bearing from foot to foot.

The main premise of all these conditions, as Pete explains well in his book, is that to the greatest degree, these maladies stem from improper weight bearing at the feet and also an improper foot strike sequencing during walking, hiking and so on. Further, that very often these problems at the feet are telling a larger story of body wide imbalances that become reflected in abnormal gait and load bearing.

The easiest example to explore is bunions. Instead of a full use of the foot in heel-ball-toe off the weight is bearing on the inside of the foot and toeing off over the big toe. And this outward positioning of the foot (or feet if it is bilateral) as one walks has its origin in a mis-aligned hip joint position.

Many of the attendees talked of trying to get help via medical attention and how that approach leads to separating the foot from the biodynamics of the rest of the body. For example, I have seen many times where the collapsing of the foot arches comes from way above when the knees are collapsing inward such that now the weight bearing at the feet and ankles forces a falling of the arches and a falling inward of the ankles.

After testing the weight bearing in bare feet we had everyone place their hands behind their head and pull their elbows back and then walk. Almost everyone noticed a dramatic difference in the weight at their feet. Several were able to notice more evenness from side to side or a change in how the weight distributed at the foot (more even and using more of the foot than just one edge). So again this illustrates how the whole body and even spine alignment can affect the way our feet function.

PFbook

The bulk of the time in the session was devoted to using the foot strike routine in the foot chapter for all manner of foot pain conditions and then for one person with an ankle sprain the routine in the ankle chapter. It was great fun exploring how these feet of ours can get the brunt of our body’s imbalances.

So it seems we could write not just a story but a whole book by the tales feet can tell! Do the  balance test for yourself and let me know your results!

Ten Easy Ways to Check Your Posture Alignment August 20, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy, The Human Body.
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You may be new to this idea but it is quite likely that if you have muscle or joint pain the ultimate cause is your posture alignment. This is the first in a series of posts I will make about this subject. My idea here is to help to facilitate your ability to become the driving force in evaluating posture and knowing the steps to be taken to change it and hence resolve the source of your pains or physical limitations.

So first things first. You get to  use your own eyes, and perhaps those of a friend or partner to help. So often when people come to see me for a first appointment for posture alignment therapy they are surprised to see from the evaluation pictures things they could see by  looking in a full length mirror! Knowing what to look for really helps. What I am looking for are asymmetries and distortions from the common standing anatomical posture of the human form(see below). We are not talking brain surgery here. Two eyeballs and a reasonably functioning brain will suffice.

Freddie

So slip off your shoes, wear a pair of shorts and a tank top (guys can slip off your shirt, females can use a sports bra if you like).  Lets walk through ten easy steps at determining your posture. Take a piece of paper and jot down your findings.

1 – So just stand up, gently march in place. Stop and look down at your feet. What are they doing? Are they both pointing in the same direction, is one off to the side, etc.? Does one foot seem more forward than the other

2 – Still in the same standing position. Close your eyes and take note which foot bears more weight. Secondly, where in each foot do you feel the weight, at the forefoot or heel. Don’t think about it just jot down your immediate impression.

3 – Next take a look at your knees. Are you bowl legged or knock kneed? Are the knee caps pointing in the same direction (imagine your cars headlamps – they should be pointing straight ahead like that). When looking down does one knee look more forward than the other?

4 – Now take your thumbs and place them both on the very front edge of your “hip bones” the boney protrusions at the very front of your pelvis. You may have to dig around for them but I am talking about the very front not the top edge. In any case it is like you are hugging your hips with thumbs facing forward. Now look gently down. Do you see one side of the pelvis going more forward than the other? Now look in the mirror. Is one hip higher? If you have sciatica this could be a big part of the reason.

5 – Now look at your hands. Do you see the back of the hands forward, are they different from side to side? This is a major indicator of shoulder position. Is one hand more forward and also is one lower than the other when you look in the mirror?

6 – Now looking at the shoulders, are they level? Is one more forward relative to the other? Are you able to lift the arms up toward the ears easily and evenly from side to side? If not is it less easy on the side that is more rounded forward?

7 – You still with me?! Now if you noted that you felt more weight on one side at your feet versus the other now take a look at your upper body. Is the upper body leaning more to that side? If you have foot, ankle, knee or hip problems a big component of the solution is getting the upper body more symmetrical so that the load bearing is more even to the lower extremities.

8 – Now lets note what the head is doing. Most of us in our culture have a distinct forward head that is not our birthright. To check this have your friend view you from the side or simply stand with your heels, butt and shoulders to the wall. Now take note of what effort it takes to position the back of the head to the wall. If when you do that the head seems to point your eyes upward your head is significantly more forward.

9 – Next pull out a chair and gently get yourself on the floor. Put both legs up on the chair with knees hip width apart. Scoot your butt right up to the edge of the chair so that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Here we can clue into a number of things. One, what is your immediate feel to your backside, is it even on the floor or different from side to side? If you noted earlier that one side of the pelvis was more forward than the other side does this correlate. Next, is your low back or lumbar spine have an arch or is it flat? This will likely tell you that your pelvis is either tipping too far forward or tipping back and is not in its neutral position. This deviation can be at the root of many problems.

10 – Lastly, lets get you up and walking. When you walk are the feet doing the same thing? Just walk your normal pace, taking note of your sense of balance. Now take your hands and put behind your neck and pull your elbows back. Walk again. Any difference in how you feel. Is it easier or harder, better or worse balance? If it seems to give you more balance, why do think that might be?

Well there you have it folks. You just went through some of the paces I use to evaluate clients posture in a session. I do more than this but I want you to see that it is straight forward and common sense oriented. Any asymmetries noted (and they may surely add up and have consequence) are part of the big picture of your body’s stature and the framework for how your body functions or doesn’t function. They will tell the story of your body and why things are going awry. At bottom this could well be the explanation for hard to treat conditions that have been illusive to the medical and even alternative medical community. It may be hard to fathom nowadays but in many ways taking note of what a persons knee cap is doing is a window into the status of a hip joint dysfunction, without X-rays and MRIs.

Let me know what your findings are and if this helps to connect the dots between whatever your pain condition is and what your body is doing. Now if it looks pretty disturbing don’t jump off a cliff, just get ready to do some work to change it! Muscles move the bones. So if they are putting them in the wrong place the right physical input can put them in the right place, if not ideally, at least to the point of giving you the best possible functioning body so that you can enjoy your life.

Stay tuned for more on posture as the source of many common pain conditions, limitations and effects on athletic performance.

Improve Golf Swing Without Touching a Club – The Secret Revealed November 3, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Fitness, Golf, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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http://www.stack.com/2012/10/16/golf-swing/
This is a great article from John Elder of Nashville Egoscue. He explores a premise in our alignment therapy work that – it is the body that you bring to your activity that is a key starting point. So he elaborates a bit on this theme and then gives 3 short exercises to use to set up your body for the golf game and beyond. Don’t be surprised when your game improves – it is your body that just got better!

Short Discussion of Pain Free Book by Pete Egoscue October 17, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Alternative health, Egoscue Method, Fitness, Movement, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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Here is a short but useful commentary on Pain Free by Pete Egoscue. Brian Bradley of Egoscue shares some thoughts on using the book and particularly delves into the subject of the “Eight Laws of Physical Health” on page 28 of the book. This little tutorial gives a sort of macro view of the way The Egoscue Method views human health maintenance. If you are using the book and feel you could use further attention feel free to give me a call or email. This book should be in everyone’s home and is like (or better) having aspirin in the medicine cabinet. It has helped many thousands over the years and I constantly refer to it in my posture alignment practice.

Using the Wall Drop Exercise September 2, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue, Egoscue Method, Exercise, Hip Exercise, Movement, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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This is a short video explaining the use of the Wall Drop exercise. It is commonly used in alignment therapy to address mis-alignment issues affecting the ankle, knee and hip joints, prompting the pelvis into a neutral position, aligning the spinal column, and more.

Egoscue Tower video November 8, 2009

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Hip Exercise, Posture.
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I noticed this week that the video presentation on the use of the Egoscue tower for the Supine Groin Progressive exercise is up on the home page of Egoscue.com

It is about 13 minutes long. Brian Bradly gives a convincing argument for its use and explains the various reasons why a therapist includes it in an Egoscue regimen. I like how he explains the way the whole body reacts to the exercise so that people can realize the integral benefit to the whole postural frame.

I recommend viewing for those using the exercise and also those who might wonder about the benefit of doing it in relation to their Egoscue program. I think all of us Egoscue practitioners/therapists would love to see all of our clients use this maintaining long term postural integrity. Sometimes clients balk at using it due to the time commitment (one of my clients coined the phrase “hour in the tower”). The use of this exercise is still evolving. More recently it has been discovered that an even more extended use of the tower with added upper body movements can be more effective in many cases. I know that is going to drive the type “A’s” really crazy!

A friends path to Egoscue – a happy ending! September 18, 2009

Posted by jeffrooney in Athletic training, Egoscue Method, Posture.
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I just saw this posting on the Orange County Ca. Egoscue Clinic blog. It is an account of my buddy Tim George who runs the downtown Egoscue Clinic. It is a great story. Tim has often given me the best advice on clients whose needs seem to pass my level of experience. He has always given me very positive and on the mark guidance whenever I call on him. I think he represents the best that the Egoscue Method has to offer. Please take a look:

The one question that almost every client asks me is “How did you find Egoscue?” Unlike many of our therapists, I was not an Egoscue client prior to becoming an Egoscue Therapist.

In college I studied Exercise Physiology, with an emphasis in Athletic Training. For those not familiar with the field of athletic training, it encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergency, acute, and chronic medical conditions involving impairment, functional limitations, and disabilities. Athletic training is not the same profession as personal training. And certified athletic trainers work with more than just athletes – they can be found just about anywhere people are physically active.

I really enjoyed Athletic Training and was looking forward to a successful career. When I finished grad school I moved back to my hometown of Lake Forest, CA to live with my parents until I landed a job. Finding a job was tough; there wasn’t too much work in Orange County for athletic trainers, so I started to expand my search to San Diego.

The only company that was hiring athletic trainers in San Diego was a company called The Egoscue Method. Like most people, I had never heard of Egoscue, and I had a hard time even saying the name. The job description sounded interesting, and when I checked out the Egoscue website, I saw they worked with athletes, so it seemed like a good fit. I sent in my resume and got a callback to set up an interview.

My interview was with Brian Bradley (Vice-President of Therapy Protocol), and it was probably the first interview where I did most of the listening. I could really tell that Brian had a lot of passion for The Egoscue Method, and overall it seemed like a great place to work. About a week later I got a call from Brian offering me a job at the Egoscue clinic in Del Mar. Again it seemed like a great place to work, and plus it was a way to get out of my parent’s house, so I accepted the job.

Egoscue was not in my career plans; it was a definite change from athletic training. To be honest, for the first few weeks that I worked there I had one foot out the door. To me Egoscue was a way to pay the bills, ultimately my goal was to get back to athletic training, either at the college or professional sports level. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Egoscue, but I will be the first to tell you that I was a bit skeptical about the effectiveness of the therapy. I mean how could correcting someone’s posture cure them from the pain of a herniated disk, or other debilitating musculoskeletal pain. I remember saying to myself “it can’t be that simple.” However as I began to learn and understand the principles behind the Egoscue Therapy, my mindset began to change. I started to see and understand the relationship of posture to pain, and seeing it action while working with clients really began to send the message home. Soon I started to say to myself, “Yes, it is as simple as correcting posture.”

Soon I really started to get a passion for Egoscue, never before had a treatment modality truly answered the question of why someone was in pain. Prior to that, my approach was treating the pain or symptom, not necessarily treating the cause of the pain. That is one of the big reasons I chose to stay with Egoscue and make it my passion and career. For the first time I truly felt like I was helping someone towards a life without pain and limitations.

One of the other big reasons that I stayed, and why I think Egoscue is so revolutionary, is the emphasis on personal responsibility for one’s health. There is no “you need to fix me” mentality with Egoscue. If someone wants to get out of pain, they need to take the responsibility and do the work. This approach I believe is what really separates Egoscue from other movement therapies; it is simple and very effective. Which is why 5 years later I now own my own Egoscue clinic and help people get themselves out of pain everyday. -Tim


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