One of the healing modalities I practice is postural alignment therapy. After a thorough evaluation of my clients posture and structural alignment, I design an exercise program to correct the misalignments. When the body is properly aligned, pain and other symptoms often go away. But when the pain is too great for even the gentle program I design, what to do?
There are three exercises that most people can manage. These three exercises are particularly useful for musculoskeletal pain involving the back, hips, knees, and shoulders. Between them they relax and realign the body very well. With dedication, they can help reduce disabling pain, and often relieve pain altogether, at least temporarily. At that point I can introduce a program that will really help them get permanently out of pain.
So what are those three magic exercises? I’ll show you, but first some Do’s and Don’ts:
Do consult with a qualified health professional before embarking on any self-help plan. Make sure you know the cause of your pain.
Don’t do any exercise if it causes pain.
Do relax and breathe deeply while doing the exercises.
The first one is very simple: Lie on your back with your calves on a chair or other suitable support. The thighs should be vertical and the calves should be horizontal. Stay here for 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the severity of your pain.
The next exercise is similar. Only you have one leg up and the other stretched out straight, on the floor. Support the foot on the floor so it stays vertical. Do this for about 15 minutes on each side.
The last one, called air bench, is the most difficult, so you should slowly work into this one. Stand with your back and hips against a wall. Your feet should be parallel, about shoulder’s width apart, and far enough in front of you so that you can slide down the wall until you are in a sitting position. The position is very important. The knees should be over the ankles, not in front of them at all! Try to get your thighs horizantal, but don’t hurt yourself. If there is any discomfort in the knees, move up the wall until it disappears. Press the hips and low back against the wall. Feel the weight in your heels, not the balls of your feet. Hold this for up to 2 minutes. You may have to start at 10 seconds and slowly increase.
I first learned these exercises from the book, “The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion”. It was after reading that book and Pete Egoscue’s “Pain Free”, that I studied at the Egoscue Method Clinic.