The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion: Revolutionary Program That Lets You Rediscover the Body's Power to Rejuvenate It is dependent on your understanding of some diagrams that depict different types of body abnormalities. After you figure out your body type (if you can do this) then you follow a prescribed menu of exercises (or e-cises). The diagrams of misalignments captured my interest first because the showed rotations and imbalances that reminded me of "me". I found that you had to diagnose your own body, but this was rather difficult because I was a mix of more that one type and was not fully any of the types listed. From this point you find a list of prescribed exercises listed on one page and then you have to flip through the book to find how to do each exercise. It is a pretty ambitious book and the exercises were interesting however it didn't solve any problems for me.
The next book I bought was Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain. This book also has menus and e-cises but it is a bit more specific based on the reader's need. You can find menus for hips, or knees, or any other problem areas. I suppose this is easier to read and figure out particularly when you have just one problem area. Again nothing was resolved for me when applying this book to my posture.
Last year I noticed some the Egoscue: Pain Free Workout Series DVDs. These are generic Egoscue exercises not particularly geared to any specific problem. I find both to be good stretching routines that are worth the investment if you wish to learn more about some of the stretches and to receive good instruction. Like other Egoscue products, I find them to be a valuable resource but that they really didn't solve any problems for me.
Up until last year, Egoscue had a message board. I visited every once in a while to learn more and ask questions. One thing that kept being repeated was to visit a clinic to get the right exercises and to make sure I was doing things right. I signed up for a session with a therapist at a traveling clinic. I told the therapist during a phone conversation prior to the visit that I had a couple of simple questions I wanted answered. I was assured that he would have the skill to answer my question. I basically wanted to know if I had a structural issue with the bones in my foot, knee, or hip and if the way they moved or didn't move could really be "healed" using Egoscue. I realize they are out to sell something so of course "Egoscue" should be able to fix anything, however I wished an honest assessment. Could I possibly I have a bone or joint problem that no matter how wrong I got me muscles, they would never be able to pull things right if the bones got in the way?
The visit to the traveling clinic was expensive! They young therapist was nice and he seemed to know the Egoscue protocol. He went through a logical set of steps while watching my posture walking back and forth across the room and bending. Then he set up a series of e-cises and watched me perform them. I was performing them correctly just like in the book and video so I did not learn much. What was unnerving however was our beginning conversation when he asked about me and then told me why he got into Egoscue. His friend ran the clinic and it seemed to be a good way to earn a living with the degree he had. I guess that is all fine, but I really would have appreciated meeting with someone who had "been there" and dealt with pain and imbalance issues themselves not someone who was out to earn a buck! He really couldn't answer my question except to insist that given time (and I can assume-plenty of clinic visits) that eventually things would work for me. I could tell he had no clue as to why my leg is stuck in the positions it is in with the ankle everting the foot out and the knee knocking in. If I try to straighten my knee and foot the foot is in a horrible and useless pronation.
I went home enthusiastic about trying the program. I did my e-cises every day (sometimes twice) for the little over an hour that was necessary. I felt muscles strengthening a bit but no release or fixing of my mechanical problems. I carried on for over a month and even did the "free" set of new exercises that was provided (after a phone consultation with the therapist). I was not happy that this was going to fix anything unless I was willing to commit tons of money to attend more visits with the therapist.
I decided not to go back for more exercises but continued doing the e-cises and making menus of my own to try. A lot of effort was wasted as it had no real effect on the positioning of my bones and joints and the way my leg moved. I also grew discouraged as the Egoscue website discontinued their message board. I had enjoyed reading about the success of other patients and the asking of questions but for some reason that could no longer be accomplished. One thing I did learn from the message board is that for many people the process takes lots of time (years in some cases) and is a long-term process that needs to be continued each day. I had to believe there is a better and more affordable way out their to recover my stride. Doing the exercises is also very time-consuming.
On the message board Pete Egoscue was sometimes called a "genius" by his followers. I would gather that having him work on you and observe your gait and patterns would be a very worthwhile opportunity. I am sure he would be able to do the pinpointing of specific problems and finding the right exercises to get my posture returned to normal pretty quickly. The fee for the clinic that I paid should have earned me some time with the man himself. However, having a "trained" therapist follow a script and protocol soesn't seem like the wisest use of my money. I think the method has tremendous merits but it almost seems marketed as a way to earn money from some well heeled clientele. I am just not that person!
I do think his books are a worthy read and I would certainly encourage anyone struggling with an injury or going in for surgery on the hip, knee, or other problem area to read his books and give his method a try first before going under the knife. It does seem that plenty of people achieve success with this method. The videos are a worthwhile and well-thought out stretching routine too! I would avoid the clinics unless you have time and money to spare. I have even recommended the books and program to my mother-in-law.
I have found two other resource books that describe and outline programs and exercises similar to the Egoscue program. One is a take-off by a former Egoscue person and is similarly called The Pain-Free Program: A Proven Method to Relieve Back, Neck, Shoulder, and Joint Pain. The other has plenty of exercises written in menu forms for common alignment problems and is called Posture Alignment. It is probably the simplest and easiest of the books to follow and implement. Many of the exercises are the same or similar to Egoscue which makes it easy to create your own menus. They are all good additions to your sport library and just may help you recover your stride.