Friday, April 2, 2010

Next Book Review: Essential Stretch

I went to the gym tonight, which was the third time this week, something I haven't done for a while. Now my left knee is hurting and something happened in my lower right back at the very end. I'm not panicking about it yet, it's not so bad and it's definitely muscular and I hope it's just minor. The real test will be getting out of bed tomorrow morning--then I'll know where I'm at. I think that 3x in one week is a bit hard on my body right now. 2x a week seems pretty good. Plus I didn't have acupuncture or chiropractic this week, though I did yoga 2x. Quite frankly, I had forgotten about the lower right pain til I turned over in bed just now. Could it actually disappear by morning? Now that would be something!

Since reading the Mind Over Back Pain book, my pain has been a lot less. Today at work my back pain was practically non-existent and my knee pain was limited to certain scenarios for many weeks now and was much improved! And then came the gym after work. So now you're caught up on that.

So my next book review is Essential Stretch by Michelle LeMay. While this one is not a back pain book, I wanted to read it because it's about stretching. I had "read" two of Brad Walker's stretching books previously, and wanted a different perspective. Brad's books were more "how to" with either pictures or diagrams, with brief descriptions of the stretch, what to watch out for, etc, so that's why "read" is in quotes. It's more of a reference book.

Michelle's book is much different. It emphasizes the mind-body connection in the first half of the book, then has annotated pictures of the stretches in the second half. Brad's book is "here's what you have to do, go do it". Michelle's book talks about breathing, centering and meditation before stretching, not judging yourself, letting go of "mind-chatter." While many of her stretches are derived in yoga or pilates, she doesn't emphasize form or holding. "You can't let go if you're still holding on to something". So she's not very concerned with form so much as letting go of the stress. Many of the stretches are unsupported so I don't think I can do them now, some are variations on stretching I do now, and some are brand new to me. She wants you to be in the moment during the stretch, not worrying about the past or future, but living in the present. Scattered throughout the text and pictures are statements to be said before, during or after the stretch. Some of it is hokey, some of it is powerful, all of it is helpful. One of the hokier things to do is to "send a smile" to the painful area when it hurts. It's definitely hokey, but I've been doing that this week too. It's definitely better than giving my back the proverbial finger.

While Mind Over Back Pain repeatedly emphasizes the "unresolved emotional issues will manifest itself in your physical back pain," Michelle's book gently refers to it, mostly as "your stress will appear as muscle knots".

Most frequently used word in each book:
MOBP: tension
Essential Stretch: stress

Oh, and I also like how Michelle's book refers to how cats stretch all the time--we should too!

Good night!

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