Archive for September 2007

The Egoscue Tower

September 27, 2007

Let’s talk about the tower.


Those clients of ours who have been given one of the Supine Groin ecises know that we are BIG fans of the tower. We came out with the tower as the new way to do all of the different versions of Supine Groin about 3 years or so ago and at the time, Pete said this represented a quantum improvement in how to perform these ecises. He was exactly right. The tower is a very valuable tool in realigning your posture.

If your question is, “what do these ecises do?”, that’s a great question but one that is really beyond the scope of this post to discuss. If you are a client at an Egoscue Clinic and would like to know more about this, ask your therapist and they will happily tell you all about it. The reason it’s hard to answer that succinctly in a general forum like this is that there are a number of different variations of this ecise, and there can be a number of reasons why we would give it to a client. Different forms of this ecise are used to help restore the normal S-curve to the spine, help normalize the position of the hip and pelvic girdle, take an upper body that is stuck in major flexion and begin bringing it back to a more extended position, and on it goes.

I was at a training event for Egoscue therapists about a year and a half ago and Brian Bradley, our director of therapy, made the comment that clients made their postural change permanent in the tower, that it was the Supine Groin ecises where the body learns how to make permanent the positional and functional changes introduced by the other ecises. I know that when I started as a client, Supine Groin Progressive was a HUGE part of my healing process, and it’s still something I do regularly on a maintenance basis today. The body just learns how to go back to neutral here.

I’ll have clients ask me why the tower is so much more effective than the old way we used to do it, which was to either have the foot on the ground, propped up with a block of some kind, or if we were doing Progressive, to use the old stair blocks like you see in the books. From my perspective, the tower does 3 things that the old methods did not do. If properly positioned and setup…..

1. the foot cannot evert, or point out to the side. The tower holds it perfectly straight. Even if the foot is propped up on the floor, it still tends to evert just a little.

2. The foot cannot supinate. This is where the foot twists such that your big toe moves closer to you and your little toe moves away from you. I have some clients with tremendous supination torque in their hips and without the tower, the foot would just twist away and absorb much of the work we want to be done by the hip and pelvic girdle. Even modest supination changes the work in the hips, so this is a very important point.

3. It holds the foot in mild dorsiflexion. This is where the foot is gently flexed back towards the shin. This causes an elongation or gentle stretch demand of the posterior muscles of the leg, which allows us to get work in the hip and pelvic girdle we wouldn’t otherwise get.

Bottom line: the tower gently but firmly insists upon the work we want the body to do and doesn’t let the body cheat out of the way the old methods permitted. This results in faster functional and positional change, better results in less time.

The towers aren’t cheap, they cost $129.95 from Therapy Zone, including shipping. But if your therapist recommends you get one, do it. I promise you, it will be a tool you will effectively use for the rest of your life. I used to use the old stair block, but after trying the tower, I gave my old block away and haven’t looked back. It’s a powerful tool in helping me stay functional, and it will help you, too!

if you need to buy one, or just want to take a closer look, you can see it at Therapy Zone here.

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September 19, 2007

if you want to see someone who is just amazingly strong in a functional way, check out this 2 minute video. This guy is incredible!

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Great video well worth watching

September 18, 2007

A friend passed this along to me, it’s Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Stanford. It’s 15 minutes long, and in it all he does is tell 3 stories from his life, but they pass along some lessons we all need to hear. Do yourself a favor and take 15 minutes to listen to this, it’s great stuff.

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The China Study

September 14, 2007

I mentioned in a previous post a book called “The China Study”.

Book Tp

This book represents the culmination of one of the most ambitious and informative studies on nutrition ever conducted. The scope was huge, the data voluminous and the results were clear:

The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan. More commonly known as the China Study, “this project eventually produced more than 8000 statistically significant associations between various dietary factors and disease.”

The findings? “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,” said Dr. Campbell.
My purpose here is not to preach. We all get enough of that. I’m just sharing information, data. You draw your own conclusions.

But if you are confused about what constitutes a “healthy diet”, if you are mystified by the multiple voices all shouting different admonitions about diet, if you’ve ever thought “I’d like to know what the real facts are regarding diet and health”, this book is a GREAT resource to help you begin answering those questions not just anecdotally but definitively.

Here’s a link to their website:

and here’s a link to the book at amazon: The China Study

FYI, I’m exploring some options on how to transition to this type of diet with more ease and less pain and will share some thoughts in the coming weeks and months. And if anyone else has suggestions, please share them with us in the Comments section!

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Another study touting the Mediterranean diet

September 12, 2007

Researchers have published many studies showing health benefits from what is called “the Mediterranean diet”. This is a diet that is comprised primarily of fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, with lower amounts of foods containing saturated fats, like beef, poultry and dairy. Now, a new study shows that Alzheimer’s patients live significantly longer on the Mediterranean diet than on the standard American diet that is heavy on processed foods, saturated fats and sugar. The study found patients whose consumption habits most closely tracked that of the Mediterranean diet were 76 percent less likely to die in the study period than those whose food intake least mimicked the diet. Compared with those whose diets most closely resembled a Western diet, Alzheimer’s patients who most closely followed the Mediterranean diet lived an average of four years longer.

When I read things like this, I wonder how many other health conditions are improved by following this type of diet. One of the seminal research works on nutrition, a booked titled “The China Study”, found clear linkages between consumption of animal proteins and many of the diseases prevalent in our society. I am convinced that many of the diseases our society commonly experiences these days are self inflicted wounds born from the things we put down our throat.

You can see a link to the article about this research study here.

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Want a Mont Blanc pen for $10?

September 5, 2007

Well, you can’t have one. Do you know how much these puppies cost? Suffice to say, a LOT of money. They are amongst the best writing instruments in the world, but do I want to spend $200-$2,000 on a pen? Cmon, my first car didn’t cost $200. And yes, I am completely serious. We’ll just skip the fact that the last time I actually saw it, it was sitting on the side of the road with smoke pouring from under the hood, looking like explosion or at least reasonably serious fire was currently in process.

But I digress.

I hate using crappy pens and I really enjoy using nice ones, but I have a penchant for losing the things so buying a Serious pen is just not an option for me.

But wait, there is an alternative! The good folks at posted a great tip on how to use Mont Blanc ink in a reasonably nice pen. I tried it and it works beautifully! You really can tell the difference, their ink writes much more smoothly than standard ink.

So if you want to give this tip a try, click here.

One note: the tip talks about using a Pilot G2 Pro, which is a fine pen. I prefer the Pilot Dr Grip Gel, just feels better in my hand. I tested it and they both use the same ink refill so this tip works with both. When you buy the Mont Blanc refill you’ll get two cartridges so you can put one in each and see which you like better.

And Ralph, no, you CANNOT take any of my pens, get your own!

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Mac software

September 3, 2007

Those of you who have visited our clinic know we run Macs. Up to 5 years ago I was a PC guy from way back. Started using PCs in 1984, got my first in 1986 and eventually designed enterprise-level software for them. When I switched to Macs I did so with some trepidation, but quickly acclimated to the new environment and never looked back. I now thoroughly enjoy the platform and haven’t fired up my Dell PC in two years.

When I come across a particularly useful or well designed piece of software, I enjoy recommending it to my friends and will start doing so here, as well. So PC users, you’ll just have to put up with the occasional Mac-centric post.

Here is the first. I’m going to recommend a splendid piece of software called LaunchBar. When I first demoed it, I was using something similar called Quicksilver and decided to stay with that. But I’ve had some problems with Quicksilver over the last year so I gave LaunchBar another try and it wowed me over.

Here’s a great review of the app:

it includes a nice video that will give you a feel for what the app can do.

Basically, LaunchBar helps you find almost anything on your Mac, instantly. Applications, contacts, files, folders, songs, movies, you name it. You just have to try it for yourself to see its power.

if you try it, let me know what you think.


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