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For Form's Sake
Imagine a man and a woman. Imagine a child, and a family with its concentric rings of youthful dreams and mature wisdom.
Does a picture come to mind? I'll bet one does, and I'd say it's probably a motion picture.
The man, the woman, and the child, all the generations reaching back at least ten thousand years, are in motion. Walking on a beach; running down a winding road at sunset; climbing a staircase under a crystal chandelier.
From birth to death, we never stop moving. Even asleep, we toss and turn; the heart beats. Motion--that's what the human body is all about.
If you thumbed through these pages the way I always do before I buy a book, you might have come to the conclusion that you're going to be reading about how to cure back, knee, or shoulder pain; how to play better golf, run faster, work more productively, or take a few inches off your hips.
All that's in here. But between the lines, above and behind the lines, is a premise that is so important, so basic, that I can't afford to treat it with subtlety. just as I do with the patients who come to my clinic, I'm going to lay it on the line: You are not moving enough to keep your body and overall health from deteriorating. And when you do move, because this "motion starvation" is acute, the movement violates the design of the body with every step you take.
How do I know this without ever setting eyes on you? I'm taking an educated guess; one that's educated by about twenty two years of experience as an anatomical functionalist. I've treated thousands of people who the demographers would identify as fittingthe profile of those most likely to read this book: the educated and middle-aged, professional and recreational athletes, parents and teachers, white collar professionals and medical specialists, the elderly, and a huge number of individuals from every walk of life who suffer some form of joint or muscular pain.
I have learned that out of all those people, only a tiny fraction move enough to beat the overwhelming odds that one day this motionless modern lifestyle will catch up with them.
Here's another thing that I've learned: There's a lot written about dwindling nonrenewable, essential resources, and for man, motion is Just that--an absolutely essential resource. It makes us strong, active, intelligent, and healthy. It renews and is renewable. But motion, as a resource, is becoming scarcer all the time. The way we live in the last decade of the twentieth century in the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and other parts of the industrialized world does not supply or require sufficient movement to maintain the body's health and well-being.
We know that the body needs minimum daily requirements of vitamins, minerals, protein, and water. There are other necessities determined by biological fiat as well: shelter, warmth, space, companionship. If there is a "she who must be obeyed" (Rumpole fans take note), she is biology.
Disobedience to the biological imperatives results in disaster and death.
Have you ever stopped to think that movement is as much of a biological imperative as food and water? It is. There was a time, and not long ago, when it was easy, instinctive, to obey the biological imperative of motion. Man moved because he had to. Not anymore. Survival doesn't depend on motion. We can sit at a desk, sit in a car, sit in front of the TV set, and live the "good life."
But we are paying for this "good" life of ours with illness, disability, pain, and despair. What all of us must do is deliberately and systematically get our bodies back in motion despite a modern lifestyle that discourages movement, and even encourages us to believe that we can survive and prosper as sedentary beings who treat motion as an inconvenience that can be minimized with the help of technology. just as we would perish without food and water, we will perish once our bodies are deprived of the movement necessary to maintain our vital physiological systems.
As a species, particularly those of us who live in the industrialized world, we are getting closer and closer to the edge, and that's why I developed the Egoscue Method. It is a way to provide each person with sufficient motion, motion that is no longer built into the daily pattern of our lives the way it was just a few decades ago; and it is a way back to motion that is in accord with the body's design requirements. Motion doesn't just happen anymore. From now on we'll have to work at it. The Egoscue Method is your tool box.
I mentioned design requirements. I'll explain what I mean. Most of us have disobeyed the biological Imperative of movement for so long that when we do put our bodies in motion, what should be motion of the most routine sort causes pain or forces the body to compensate in ways that drain away our energy levels, undermine our physical and athletic ability, and will one day bring on pain. The design of the body is being violated with every step we take, and that simply does not have to happen.
I want to explain the Egoscue Method to you, so that you can live the method and make it work. But we can't just leap right in and start doing a series of exercises. There's more to the method than a workout program or a series of pain suppression procedures. First, we'll need some background on human anatomy and evolution to understand the body's design, functions, and requirements.
In my clinic, I've found that too many patients honestly believe that their musculoskeletal system is so complicated that a) it's fragile and prone to breakdown, and b) it can't be comprehended by laymen.
|List of Illustrations|
|1||For Form's Sake||1|
|3||The Two R's - Relevance and Responsibility||42|
|5||Restoring and Maintaining Function and Flexibility||78|
|6||Quiet Desperation, Quiet Hope||129|
|7||The Games We Play||144|
|8||Modern Maladies and Our Children, Our Elders, and Ourselves||168|
|Notes and Sources||193|