Egoscue: it’s not JUST about your muscles!

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.
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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