ESSENTRICS NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2017
This newsletter is dedicated to all of those who suffer and live with chronic pain.
Believe it or not, chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Twenty percent of American adults accept back spasms, throbbing joints, arthritis aches, and other physical pain as an inevitable consequence of aging, illness, or injury. That is 1 in 5 Americans living in pain everyday!
The truth is that we do not need to accept chronic pain as part of our daily life.
The root of nearly all pain is movement—or lack thereof. The human body is designed to be perfectly balanced and to regularly move. With correct, gentle, and full-body movement we refresh, nourish, and revitalize our cells, effectively relieving pain and allowing us to live comfortably in our bodies. Learn simple exercises and movements that you can do today to stop chronic pain in its tracks.
“Most chronic pain (80%) is caused by a mechanical imbalance in the body. A mechanical problem requires a mechanical solution and that solution is right under our noses – it’s free and it doesn’t require drugs or surgery – it’s gentle rebalancing exercises”
- Miranda Esmonde-White
When we sustain an injury we may experience what is referred to as “acute pain.” When experiencing acute pain, we are well aware of the cause and over time this pain goes away with proper rest and healing. However, if we remain stagnant after an injury and do not properly rehabilitate, rebalance, and nourish our cells with gentle movement, this “acute” pain may in turn become “chronic.” In addition to injury; illness, general muscle imbalance, and many other causes can all lead to chronic pain.
Miranda Esmonde-White - Forever Painless
In Miranda’s latest book Forever Painless readers will learn how to use her low-intensity fitness program, Essentrics, to ease pain in their feet and ankles, knees, hips, back, and neck, allowing them to live happier, healthier, and pain free lives as they age.
Miranda Esmonde-White - Breakfast Television Interview
6 simple stretches to ease chronic pain
The Essentrics technique effectively strengthens and stretches every muscle in the body at the same time; strengthening muscles in the lengthened position to liberate joints, rebalance the body, and relieve pain.
Try these 6 simple stretches to instantly relieve chronic pain throughout your entire body. Remember, these exercises are safe to do while you’re feeling some discomfort, but hold back if you feel a sharp or knife-like pain. For effective pain relief, it’s important that we work within our pain threshold and never push too far.
The following images are excerpts from Miranda Esmonde-White's Forever Painless: Lasting Relief Through Gentle Movement
- Start by bending your knees.
- Extend your left leg out to the side as far as possible.
- Step carefully and lightly on your extended foot, trying to pull the weight of your body upward, away from the floor. This pulling-up will stop you from landing with a heavy impact, which is hard on the joints.
- Bring your feet together and bend your knees, checking that both heels are flat on the ground. Make sure the full weight of your body is evenly distributed over your feet so that your soles are not rolling inward or outward. Rolling will cause joint pain and damage.
- Alternate from left to right, 16 to 32 times.
Full-Arm Circles From Ceiling to Floor
These full–arm circles are designed to stretch and strengthen your full torso. You will be moving the torso on all planes, from wall to wall and from ceiling to floor.
- Start with your legs in a comfortably wide stance, knees slightly bent.
- Reach one arm up and imagine that you are drawing a large circle with your arm and torso, following a full circumference from ceiling to floor.
- Stay relaxed throughout the movements – particularly relax your shoulders and elbows.
- Focus on breathing deeply throughout the swings.
- Don't rush. Take your time to move carefully and fully control every movement
- Keep the movement controlled; never fling your body or use momentum as you do the circles.
- Complete 4 large circles with each arm.
Shin, Calf, Ankle, and Foot Mobility Sequence
These heel raisers with a plié are a powerful way to instantly relieve foot, calf, and shin pain by simultaneously stretching and strengthening the entire lower leg and foot. Take your time to slowly build strength and flexibility until you can comfortably do a maximum of 6 repetitions. Never do more than 6 at a time.
- Face your chair and hold the back of it with both hands. Stand close enough to the chair that your elbows can remain slightly bent.
- Slowly bend your knees so that you can feel your muscles stretching (a movement known in ballet as a plié)
- Then slowly raise your heels so you can feel your muscles doing the work of lifting your entire body weight (keep your movements slow; quickly movements prevent strengthening benefits).
- With your heels still raised as high as possible, slowly straighten you legs (the slow speed will actively stretch the shins, helping relieve your pain).
- Slowly lower your heels until you are standing flat on your feet in the starting position.
- Repeat the entire exercise 3 to 6 times
Hip Stretching Sequence for Knees: Phase 1
This hip sequence will loosen and stretch a chain of muscles that attaches the torso to the legs. When the hip muscles are tight, the tension in those muscles spirals down to the knees and feet, limiting their movement and leading to pain. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint; we do rotational, side-to-side, and forward-and-backward stretches to loosen all parts of the ball and socket. By shifting the thighbone back and forth in the socket during these stretches, you’re helping rebalance and loosen any tightness in your hip muscles.
- Stand diagonally behind your chair and place your outside leg on the seat.
- Bend both knees while holding the back of the chair for balance.
- Lift and lower your hips, as though you were swaying your hips side to side.
- As your sway your hips, you may feel a loosening within your hip socket.
- Repeat 4 times on each side.
Hip Stretching Sequence for Knees: Phase 2
- Adjust your body to face the seat of the chair for a new series of spine exercises.
- Start by rounding your spine, dropping your shoulders forward, and tucking your bum under.
- Slowly shift your spine into the reverse position, arching your back and sticking your bum out while shifting your weight forward. Note: The more you exaggerate the hip shifts, the better the results in loosening the joint.
- Return to the original position, with your back rounded and your bum tucked under.
- Repeat the full arching and rounding of the spine sequence 4 times.
Psoas Sequence for Hips
The psoas muscles attach in the front of your thighbone and finish in several of the lower vertebra, or lumbar spine. Due to walking or lifestyle habits, the psoas tends to tighten and shrink, unbalancing the entire hip region and leading to chronic hip pain. A tight psoas is common in people over 40.
This exercise will stretch the psoas muscles; relieving hip tension and the resulting back pain. When the psoas muscles are healthy and well stretched, you’ll have greater ease of movement when walking, running, and climbing the stairs.
- Stand beside your chair. Place one foot flat on the seat of the chair with your knee bent and the other leg straight behind you. Note: Don’t stand to close to the chair.
- Holding the back of the chair for support, raise the heel of your standing leg.
- Bend the knee of your standing leg, and tuck your bum under your hips while shifting your weight forward, toward the seat of the chair.
- Try to lock your bum in the tucked-under position while simultaneously trying to straighten the back leg and press the back heel into the floor (you probably won’t be able to put your back heel on the floor if you lock your bum in the tucked-under position. That’s okay!). You will most likely feel a stretch somewhere in your thigh; everyone feels the stretch in a different place.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat the psoas stretch very slowly 3 times on each leg.
Zombie swings are designed to decompress the vertebrae as your spine hangs partially upside-down, swinging in semi-traction. This pull the vertebrae apart, instantly relieving back pain and muscle tension. The stretching seems to unglue and liberate the large sheets of fascia that surround your back, preventing movement.
Do these swings as often as you'd like; they are great instant pain relievers. You may feel some pain as you first move; pause to let the pain dissipate, and then keep moving.
- Stand with your feet parallel in a comfortably wide stance. Keep your muscles loose and relaxed.
- Breathe deeply before beginning; this will help you focus on relaxing your muscles.
- Tuck your tailbone under your hips (never stick your bum out), and bend your knees.
- Slowly walk your fingertips down the fronts of your thighs; stop when you get to your knees.
- Relax your neck as you lower your head forward.
- Slowly sway side to side 4 to 8 times.
- Slowly roll up one vertebra at a time back to your starting position.
- Repeat 2 more times.
- Do this exercise as often as you want throughout the day
"I've paid thousands of dollars to chiropractors and physical therapists, plus taken all kinds of pain medications, and nothing helped..."
I have suffered from severe back pain for the past few years. I have always been active (marathons, tae kwon do), but recently my back pain had accelerated to the extent that I could barely walk, let alone do any kind of workout. I've paid thousands of dollars to chiropractors and physical therapists, plus taken all kinds of pain medications, and nothing helped. Pain meds just made me a zombie. I began doing the Classical Stretch workouts a few weeks ago, and the results are AMAZING. It's the first time I've ever finished a workout and said, "My back feels AWESOME!" instead of "Well, that didn't hurt my back TOO much..." and then reach for pain meds. No more of that!
"It took 8 months of pain to get diagnosed, 2 months of Physical Therapy to see real progress, but only one of your recorded programs to feel a difference ..."
As a yoga instructor since 2000 and practitioner for longer, I’ve recently been humbled to learn I have adhesive encapsulitis (frozen shoulder) in both shoulders. It took 8 months of pain to get diagnosed, 2 months of Physical Therapy to see real progress (with ups and downs), but only one of your recorded programs to feel a difference today in one shoulder which has been especially stiff and painful lately. Bravo!
Susan E. M
M.H. Herbalist, Yoga Instructor, Speaker and Award-Winning Author
"Not only is the pain gone from my body, but being pain-free has also given me a brighter mental outlook..."
I want to thank Miranda for making me pain free for the first time in years. I am 63 years old and I work full time in front of a computer. My lower back pain was intolerable - I was at my limit with ibuprofen and my doctor was considering putting me on stronger pain medications. I was literally in tears several mornings because of so much pain. I saw your program on PBS by accident, and thought why not, I'll give it a try. I bought the DVD and miraculously after doing the routine every day for the first week (as Miranda suggested) I am astonished to say I am pain free! Not only is the pain gone from my body, but being pain-free has also given me a brighter mental outlook. I definitely plan on continuing to do the routine at least 3 times a week. I urge those of you who are suffering from joint pain to give this a try. It is the real solution.
Attending a live class can be an invaluable experience. Work with a Live Trainer to make the most of your Essentrics & Classical Stretch workouts!
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