Egoscue Method: for Healthy Alignment
Mom was right: keeping one’s back straight is wise advice. From head to toe, adopting and maintaining proper posture is important both for back and neck health but also sets alignment all the way down to the feet. Circulation, flexibility, balance, energy and reducing potential stress fractures are all benefits.
Prolonged poor posture and/or trauma, such as from an athletic injury or accident, can influence alignment resulting in muscular imbalance, loss of strength and mobility and increased pain. Postural realignment therapy can return the body to normal positioning with all eight major load joints (in shoulder, hips, knees and ankle areas) directly aligned. The Egoscue Method, a revolutionary treatment to decrease chronic pain via proper postural back alignment, was named after its pioneer Pete Egoscue. Also known by colleagues as “The Father of Postural Therapy” he is the author of six books including (along with Roger Gittines) the bestselling, Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method For Stopping Chronic Pain and most recently, Pain Free Living.
The method, using a special series of stretches and strength training exercises, is a combination of active and passive experiences and positions that, along with gentle repetition, allows for gradual realignment without excessive effort or force being applied. Jane Sullivan and Shelli McDonald are among the practitioners in our area that are certified by the Egoscue University, in San Diego, California, to practice postural alignment. Sullivan, owner of Comfort Zone Bodywork, is nationally certified in Bodywork and Therapeutic Massage and an Advanced Exercise Therapist/Postural Alignment Specialist plus a Midwest Adjunct Instructor of Egoscue University. McDonald, with Posture Solutions, LLC, is a certified Posture Alignment Specialist who was trained by Sullivan.
The personal recovery of Sullivan—who has a background in respiratory therapy, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and philosophy— from an auto accident is testimony to Egoscue’s effectiveness. After being told that surgery was the only answer for a broken sternum that subsequently became bilateral frozen shoulders, she experienced the Egoscue method and it alleviated the problem. She then obtained her first Egoscue University certification in 2001 and began shifting the vast majority of her clients to Neuromuscular Reeducation.
“It is a great opportunity to be able to provide our community with a solution for chronic pain,” says Sullivan. “No matter where it presents (itself), 99.5 percent of the time it has a postural consequence. We don’t focus on the symptom but the cause of the pain without the use of pharmaceuticals or surgical intervention.”
McDonald also turned to the method for her own health concerns before learning how to share it with others. Faced with possible surgery or the permanent or long-term need for knee braces and orthotics when she experienced severe aches and swelling while training for walking a second marathon in 2001, she found the Egoscue approach “addressed my aches and pains by returning my whole body to proper alignment, function and balance through corrective exercises.”
“The body has an innate wisdom all its own,” she says, adding that the method can “restore our original blueprint design using exercises that gently stimulate the body to move the way it was supposed to and the aches and pains disappear.”