Ianstraight with Egoscue

For the past few weeks I’ve been practising Egoscue exercises. Do I want six-pack abs and a tight bun?

No… Well at least not enough to do anything about it. Egoscue is something else entirely.

Since I can remember I’ve been noticeably skew, bent and twisted. Focusing on the physical for now, I’ve never bothered much about it, and always assumed it was just the way I was.

I can probably trace it back to early school days, wearing a rucksack with heavy books and refusing to wear it over both shoulders as that wasn’t the cool thing to do.. I used to wear it over my right shoulder. Unsurprisingly, my left shoulder has been much higher than my right shoulder for as long as I can remember.

It turns out that, physically at least, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Besides two tui-na sessions, I’ve never done anything specific to correct my slant, and I didn’t give tui-na much time to have any effect, assuming it wasn’t really effective in this situation.

I first heard about Egoscue when someone who used to give me shiatsu suggested it to me. I never followed up at the time.

I then heard about it again from two other sources – first was The Four Hour Body. It’s always more convincing when someone at least appears to have been sceptical, and author Tim Ferriss claims that he’d heard about egoscue from a number of sources, but had always seen it as rather cult-like, and avoided it. After attending a single class with a friend by chance, he noticed his back pain had disappeared, and he started investigating further.

According to his research, it’s more effective for relieving injuries than alternatives such as tai chi, yoga etc.

Suddenly I was interested, and when a chi-kung teacher I met shortly after also recommended it highly, at the same time pointing out how my one foot extruded slightly when standing at rest (which I was quite shocked to never have noticed), and online research found little but rave reviews, I decided to give it a go.

Egoscue involves fairly simple, and not particularly strenous exercises, to correct posture, mostly through stretching and moving very specific muscle groups. The exercises involve simple movements, or just lying in a particular position for a length of time.

I haven’t taken before and after pictures, but my criteria for success is simple. The exercises will be successful if what before was a very noticeable skewness becomes not noticeable.

So is it working?

I can’t be sure yet. I think so, although it’s hard to know if when I look in the mirror after each routine the improvement is actual, or due to me willing my shoulder down to derive some perceived benefit from the previous half hour’s exertions.

I’m following the exercises from a book, and not getting any expert or personalised attention, so it’s always possible I’m missing something fundamental. It’s also likely that I’m doing exercises that aren’t really necessary for my particular situation, but I’m following a complete set routine that’s prescribed for the imbalance closest to mine, and I don’t to leave any possible excuses if it doesn’t work.

Some of the exercises are surprisingly difficult.

Stand up straight, arms out wide. Clench your fists as if gently holding a golf club, and then turn your arms palm up, and around the other way palm up again, close to 360 degrees movement. It uses muscles that are almost non-existant in my case, and works the shoulder sockets well.

Others, when done by someone of optimum health, involve a particular twist with the hand, forearm and shoulder all on the ground. My shoulder is far from the ground, and I feel the stretch intensely.

Other exercises in the routine are easy, and I feel little effect.

I’m going to give it two months, and by the end of that there needs to be obvious visible improvement. No visual placebos!

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  1. Yes, most definitely. In case I don’t get around to writing a followup, the improvement has been stunning!

  2. I clicked the notify button now – see it at the bottom 🙂 Will email the scan later … I am going to concentrate on the hips and shoulders

  3. OK now that I am taking it seriously, lets see if Aniquestraight vs Ianstraight by 1 January 2012? I need a competitive incentive 😛

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