Archive for June 2011

This is why we do what we do

June 25, 2011

A client who works with John Elder from our Nashville clinic posted an awesome video testimonial. This is a young woman who had major scoliosis, had surgery when she was younger to fuse a huge portion of her spine and put a metal rod into her back, and then predictably developed a lot of other musculoskeletal symptoms later in life. She utilized Egoscue and worked with John and, well, you can hear and see the results below. Just beautiful.

If you have scoliosis and want to avoid surgery, or have had surgery and want to help your body be the best it can be, I know of no better tool than Egoscue.

Enjoy, and congratulations Tara!


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Reboot your mind and body in 1 minute

June 25, 2011

I’ve written before about the folks at The Heartmath Institute and the great work they do. I’ve recommended one of their books, The Heartmath Solution, to many people who have also enjoyed both the research and the practical tips it contains for helping people “manage stress”.

One of their simplest techniques is called “The Quick Coherence Technique” and can be done virtually anywhere and in only a minute. Don’t let its simplicity fool you, it’s a powerful tool.

You can check it out here:

http://www.heartmath.com/personal-use/quick-coherence-technique.html
This is a great tool to use if you find yourself becoming stressed, or want to get in a more optimal state before an important meeting, or taking a test, or dealing with your children when you might not be at your best. Try it out and use the comment section below to let us know what you think!

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Egoscue: it’s not JUST about your muscles!

June 17, 2011

One of our Egoscue trainers in Ohio, Frank Parmelee, wrote a terrific piece for his monthly newsletter and I’ve copied it below with his permission. Enjoy!

“As the foundation of the body is removed from its most efficiently functioning position, the nervous, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems can all be affected. The internal organs can become misarranged or compressed, neural pathways are disrupted or impinged and venous and arterial blood flow can be compromised. Any one or a combination of these scenarios can contribute to a multitude of medical problems.” – Pete Egoscue

The Nervous System
Why is postural alignment so important? Alignment and normal physiology and function are inter-related. Abnormal alignment is evident in clients with chronic pain-related conditions such as backache, headache, and stress-related illness, but is not necessarily only pain related. Abnormal alignment disturbs the nervous system function in the body which in turn adversely affects every physiological function from breathing to hormonal production, and will often result in generalized ill health. Bad alignment affects more than just your good looks. Poor alignment is often a precursor of back pain or other systematic issues. The structural changes created by bad alignment overload the musculoskeletal system and nerve impingement results often a precursor to numerous health issues. The effects of improper alignment go further than that, however. The fact that postural alignment affects every system in the body cannot be ignored. Let’s take a look at the remaining systems.

The Circulatory System
It turns out, it is difficult to give a simple answer to how the circulatory system and the nervous system interact; both are extremely complicated systems. However, one way to think of it is that you can’t have one without the other, and expect to survive. The nervous system of course needs nutrients to be brought to it and waste molecules taken away, this is accomplished by the circulatory system. Interestingly enough, the circulatory system is heavily innervated by the nervous system. Signals from various parts of the nervous system do things like change the heart rate, either faster or slower, change the constriction or dilation of the blood vessels, which alters the rate of flow for the circulatory system, and uses the circulatory system to dissipate heat if the body and the brain senses that it is too warm. The circulatory system carries O2 & nutrients to most parts of the body & removes waste products. The center of this system is the heart. The heart rate is controlled by signals from the nervous system.

The Respiratory System
The respiratory system supplies oxygen to the blood and removes carbon dioxide. The main players involved are the lungs, larynx, pharynx, trachea, and bronchi. This team is responsible for the process of taking air into the lungs and exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide and then expelling the CO2 and other pollutants from the body. The brain monitors respiratory volume and blood gas levels as well as regulating the respiratory rate.

The Gastro-intestinal System
The digestive system stores and digests foods, transfers nutrients to the body, eliminates waste and absorbs water. This team consists of the stomach, esophagus, salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, intestines and of course the urinary system which consists of the bladder, urethra, and kidneys. The Digestive processes provide the building blocks for some neurotransmitters while the autonomic nervous system controls the tone of the digestive tract. Misalignment causes nerve impingement or damage in the gastro-intestinal systems show up as indigestion, heartburn [reflux], constipation, or urinary problems also impacted by organs being out of position to function.
The Musculoskeletal System
The skeletal system makes up the framework of the body and allows us to move when our muscles contract. It stores minerals (e.g. calcium, phosphorous) and releases them into the body when they are needed. The skeletal system also protects internal organs and produces blood cells. Bones provide calcium that is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. The skull protects the brain from injury. The vertebrae protect the spinal cord from injury. Sensory receptors in joints between bones send signals about body position to the brain. The brain regulates the position of bones by controlling muscles. The musculoskeletal and the nervous systems are interdependent and function best in a properly aligned body.
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Over the last seven and half years some of the biggest breakthroughs have not been pain related. A cyclist came to me after spending many thousands of dollars for tests and drugs for chronic constipation. This lady was as healthy as anyone could be, was pain free, and ate a reasonable diet. What had all the tests and doctors’ probing missed? The answer was very plain to see for the trained eye – Condition III – often associated with cyclists. I asked this lady to work with me for a few weeks and felt that she would have normal bowel movements in six weeks. I shall never forget the phone call at 3:00 am to announce, “I just had a normal bowel movement!” It only took a matter of days of serious effort on her part to get her gastro-intestinal system functioning and a few months to get her body back to design functional. There are many more similar cases of people who continue to improve the quality of their lives with the Egoscue Method.

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Could doing Egoscue really be a matter of life or death?

June 13, 2011

The answer is yes, absolutely. Let me explain.

I’ve now had two direct cases in my life where I firmly believe that if someone had done Egoscue therapy when it was offered to them that the remainder of their days would’ve played out much differently. Why?

One of the phrases from the title of Pete’s first book was “health through motion”. Put simply, if we’re not moving, we’re dying. Our bodies are MADE to move. All the systems in our bodies are designed for movement and when we stop moving, we start breaking down at every level. It’s not just a musculoskeletal problem, it becomes a cardiac issue, a lymphatic issue, an immune issue, a pulmonary issue, a gastrointestinal issue, EVERY system is impacted negatively by a lack of movement.

Story #1
It’s back around the year 2000. I’ve been a client for about a year. My father passed away back in 1982 and my mom eventually remarried to an absolutely wonderful man named Tom. By this point Tom and my mom are both in their early to mid 70s. Tom is in robust health, he plays golf 3 times per week and walks every hole. He’s never sick, his doctors marvel at how well he’s doing. But then he starts to get back pain. He doesn’t mention it, but my mom does. She asks me if I think Egoscue can help him and my answer is “absolutely, yes”. It would require a bit of travel for him to get to the San Diego clinic, but we offer to have my wife Theresa travel with him and drive him to the clinic while I stay with my mom and care for her (she had pretty advanced Parkinsons). We explain to him that he doesn’t hurt because of his age or because he’s broken or damaged, but because he’s out of postural balance and that he can absolutely change that. There is NO REASON for him to keep hurting. This can get better in a hurry and he can be back to walking 3 rounds of golf a week without pain.

He refuses.

I’m sure many of you reading this know that frustration. You have someone you love and care about whom you absolutely know would greatly benefit from Egoscue but they won’t take action, they won’t listen. They just want to take a pill. His response was “I’m not going to do that, I’ll just go see my doctor.” After two weeks, he’s hurting worse than before and now not only is he not walking when he plays golf, he’s no longer playing golf at all. I BEG him to go, we tell him we’ll pay for the therapy. He again refuses. I just smiled and said “ok, if you change your mind, we’re here to help you.”

I told my wife Theresa “he’ll be dead within 3 years because he’s about to dramatically suck the motion right out of his life. He’s giving in to the pain.”

I was wrong. He wasn’t dead in 3 years. He was dead in 2. About 18 months after the onset of the back pain he suffered a major heart attack. He lived for about 4-5 months after that with a very poor quality of life and then he was gone.

The moral of that story is that while movement is critical for all of us, it’s ESPECIALLY critical for those who are advanced in years. More than ever, these folks desperately need motion at a time when many of them are too willing to give motion up. Tom accepted his pain, he accepted limitation, he accepted a life without motion and it killed him.

Story #2
I woke up this morning to some very sad news. Clarence Clemons, the saxaphone player for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, suffered what is being called a very serious stroke. Not many details are being released but it is said that he is “seriously ill”. This is painful for me for several reasons. First, I’ve been a fan of this band since I was in high school. Those who know their music well know that they don’t just make music, they’ve impacted many people’s lives for the better, including mine. Their music is powerful, life changing and moving. Their live shows, legendary. They’ve been an important part of my life for over 34 years. So just on that surface, hearing this news would pain me.

But I have greater connection to it than just that. About 4 years ago my wife and I saw them on tour down in Houston. It was a great show but it was obvious that Clarence was in trouble. His posture was a wreck and he could barely move. He was headed for joint replacements and spinal surgeries, if he hadn’t already had them, and if he didn’t turn this around, he was headed to a wheelchair. I was genuinely alarmed by what I saw.

A friend put me in touch with his management agency and I wrote them an email introducing myself and explaining who I was and what I did and making it clear I wanted nothing from the man, I just wanted to give back. He and the band had given me so much through the years that it would be my privilege to help, and it was clear he needed help. I didn’t expect to hear anything back, but at least I would be able to have a clear conscience that I reached out.

I was shocked when a couple of days later I had an email back from his manager saying that, yes, Clarence was having serious issues. Check this out: he had already had 3 hip replacements and 2 knee replacements! I explained in response why that happened, the linkage between his posture and those issues, and I explained what would happen if he did not address these issues. Simply put, I said that he would soon begin to get severe back pain that would be so bad he wouldn’t be able to stand up through a concert and would have to play sitting down for much of the show, then that would progress to major spine surgery, and then he would soon be in a wheelchair. They agreed this was an issue, thanked me for contacting them and put me in touch with his personal assistant, Lani.

Lani was terrific and genuinely wanted to get me in to help Clarence. We had an email dialogue over the course of about a year. Twice she told me “Clarence is ready to get started!” only to have him change his mind a day later. At one point I got probably the most exciting email I’ve ever gotten. She asked me if I would be able to take a few weeks to come join the band on tour in Europe to work with Clarence on that leg of their tour. She said I’d travel on the same charter jet with the band and crew, stay in the same hotel, etc… That was like a dream come true and I was so excited that night I could barely sleep. The main benefit would’ve been helping Clarence, but all the rest of it would’ve been amazing. We worked out schedule and tentatively looked at some dates and had everything just about ready to go, and then Clarence once again got cold feet and backed off.

A year later they played in Austin and after seeing the show I emailed Lani and said “ok, this is ridiculous, he’s getting worse by the day and you’re IN MY CITY!” It was driving me crazy. She called me up and we spoke by phone and wanted to have me come down to the hotel to work with him, but first she asked if I would speak to his personal physical therapist who traveled with him. At that point I knew this was going nowhere. The therapist was VERY defensive, very guarded, and it was clear did not want to let anyone else close to the man. I explained I would be more than happy to work through her, I had no desire to usurp her authority and would be happy to coach her on how to coach him through the exercises and that she could be the lead therapist in charge of all his rehabilitation. My only motivation was to see him get better. I wasn’t even asking to be paid. She said she’d look at schedule and call me back.

That was the last direct communication I had with anyone associated with Clarence.

about a year ago he had MAJOR spine surgery. And now, a major stroke. And it all could’ve been avoided. All of it.

Folks, this is as heartfelt and genuine a plea as I can make: if you have pain that is limiting your life, keeping you from being all whom you are intended to be, from moving as much as you desire to move, from living the life you truly desire to live, please, I beg you, do NOT accept this. I don’t care how you respond to it, what avenues you choose to use to improve your situation. It doesn’t have to be Egoscue (though I think Egoscue is the best thing I’ve ever seen for dealing with this kind of stuff). But do SOMETHING! Do not accept a life of pain and limitation. That road leads to somewhere you truly do not want to go, mentally or physically.

It’s my prayer that everyone who has this kind of pain and limitation in their life will have someone who loves them enough to encourage them, to insist, that they take action and not settle for this kind of life. If this is you and you’re wondering if Egoscue can help you, call or email us here in Austin and we’ll answer your questions. If you simply want to know which clinic is closest to you and you’re not sure, call us and we’ll put you in touch with them. If other forms of therapy might be better suited to helping you, we’ll tell you that, too. We’ll do whatever we can to help you.

When I started as a client back in 1999, I had one belief that I think made all the difference in helping me get my body back. I believed that I could get better, and I would not stop trying until I accomplished that goal. Period. I didn’t settle for a life of pain and limitation and neither should you. Neither should ANYONE.

if you hurt, please contact us today and let us start helping you. Yes, it is THAT important.

Yours in health

Rick Mathes
Clinic Director – Egoscue/Austin
512-527-0030
rick@Egoscue.com

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Pete’s new book is out!

June 10, 2011

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know, Pete Egoscue’s new book has just been released:

Pain Free Living: The Egoscue Method for Strength, Harmony and Happiness

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I just got my copy yesterday so I haven’t read it yet but I wanted to let you guys know asap that it was now available. It also comes with a DVD. I’ve seen a good portion of it and it’s great, a terrific complement to the book.

I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours privately talking with Pete out in San Diego a few weeks ago at our annual Egoscue Clinic owner’s meetings, and I can tell you, the man is in a VERY good place and has a lot of wisdom to share. I’m really looking forward to this book. After you read it, come back and let me know what you think of it, would love to hear your comments!

FYI, you can order it at amazon now, though it appears supply is temporarily limited. We’re working on getting a case into the clinic but we don’t have it available yet. If you want to get a copy from us, let us know and we’ll put you on the list.

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Want to be inspired? Watch this.

June 10, 2011

This young man is simply remarkable. What a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Very, very moving.


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Can Egoscue Help Me?

June 3, 2011

We’re on the front end of a project to make a video FAQ to put up on our web site (FAQ = frequently asked questions). I just got the first one done and uploaded, the question is “Can Egoscue help me?”. That video is below.

And one request: if you have any specific questions you’d like to see covered, either tell me in the comments below or email me at rick@Egoscue.com and we’ll do our best to address your topic!


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