Poses, Stretches, Exercises --- 'E-cises' ---

of the Pete Egoscue book, "Pain Free"

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Table of Contents:     (links to sections below, on this page)


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Note: You can use the 'Find' option of your browser to find character strings on this page, such as 'pain' or 'knee' or 'cise' or 'standing' or 'pain free'.

Introduction to the Egoscue method (and this web page)

Go to Table of Contents, above.

This web page offers an overview (below) of the book "Pain Free" by Peter Egoscue.

This web page also provides an alternate organization (grouping) of the book's stretches/poses/"e-cises".

The book provides two basic groupings of the e-cises:

  • by body-part (for example, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders)
  • by sport (for example, golf, running, and about 15 others)

You may find that it is also helpful to have a grouping by the basic body position (i.e. orientation) of the e-cises --- standing, sitting, kneeling, lying-on-back, lying-on-stomach, and lying-on-side.

These web pages provide that grouping, in tables --- which give a pretty nice overview of the e-cises.


THE MAN, THE BOOK, THE WEB SITE:

Pete Egoscue describes himself as an "anatomical physiologist".

Egoscue is an ex-Marine who gained a lot of first-hand-knowledge on dealing with the pain of his Vietnam war wounds and those of his fellow soldiers.

The subtitle of the book is "A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain" --- indicating a main purpose of the book.

The book offers a set of about forty (40) "E-cises" (Egoscue-cises) to help reduce or eliminate body pains related to the anatomy --- knees, back, neck, etc.

The name "e-cises" was suggested by one of his clients.

Here is a large image of the cover of the book.

Here are images of some sample e-cises -- "downward dog", "abdominal crunches", and "air chair", and "static back".

Many of these E-cises are yoga poses and stretches that can be seen in yoga or stretching books/magazines/ads.

Some e-cises are exercises --- such as a type of sit-up or push-up.

Some e-cises are perhaps devised from Egoscue's own dealings with his war wounds.

In any case, the e-cises seem be a compendium of what might be called "what works for many people, no matter the source".

You can see pictures of some of the e-cises, along with their descriptions, at the Egoscue web site.

Click on parts of the human body shown there.

There are some e-cises at the egoscue.com web site that are not in the "Pain Free" book. Examples:

  • "assisted hip lift"
  • "forward bend"
  • "inch worms"
  • "roller coaster"
  • "thigh contractions",
  • "walkouts".

Some of these e-cises have been added to the Standing-Sitting-Kneeling-LyingDown tables herein. (Click on the "body-orientation" links on this page.)


BASIS of the METHOD:

The Egoscue method is based on the observation that a lot of body pain is due to the body getting out of balance for various reasons.

A common example is the hunched posture seen in many older people.

Another example is the changes people make in their stride/stance/posture in response to past injuries.

Egoscue points out that there are four main pairs of load-bearing joints in the standing human body --- at ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders.


ORGANIZATION of the BOOK:

After a few introductory chapters, the book starts presenting specific e-cises.

The initial chapters (after the introductory chapters) present specific e-cises, intended to bring balance, flexibility, and strength to the human body, especially around the FOUR LOAD-BEARING AREAS.

These chapters also deal with body areas that are COMMON SOURCES OF PAIN.

Those initial chapters deal with (starting at the bottom of the body)

  • feet
  • ankles
  • knees
  • hips
  • backs
  • shoulders
  • elbows,wrists,hands
  • neck,head

Later chapters in the book present e-cises repeated from the feet-to-knee-to-hip-to-shoulder-to-head chapters (and present some new e-cises) oriented toward various SPORTS:

  • golf
  • tennis, raquet sports
  • rowing, kayaking
  • ice skating
  • skiing, snowboarding
  • running
  • cycling
  • walking
  • in-line skating
  • swimming
  • gymnastics
  • weight training
  • soccer
  • volleyball
  • baseball
  • football
  • basketball

These groups of e-cises are followed, near the end of the book, by a suggested group of e-cises for MAINTAINING balance-flexibility-strength.


EVALUATIONS of the BOOK:

Some evaluations of the book and the method can be seen at amazon.com.

One reader-evaluator points out that most of the "e-cises" are poses rather than exercises.

I find that many of the 'static' poses (like "air chair" and "downward dog") are quite invigorating. They increase your breathing rate and increase blood flow to various areas of the body.

Hence, in spite of being 'static', those e-cises are as invigorating and strengthening as many 'dynamic' exercises.

Another reader, at amazon.com, a doctor, says he believes the exercises reduce pain because of the adrenaline or endorphin rush precipitated by many of these exercises.

I think it goes beyond this, because a day or two after doing these e-cises, you can still feel the effects.

Furthermore, I have felt benefits for many weeks, and I expect those benefits to be long-lasting.

In particular, I have found relief from leg cramps. By doing certain kinds of toe-pointing stretches, I can maintain freedom from the leg cramps that used to suddenly strike me with agonizing pain, when I happened to point a toe a certain way.

Many readers point out how they started feeling benefits after only one or two e-cise sessions.

I too felt significant benefit after only a couple of sessions --- probably because I was coming to this after a couple of years of long, uninterrupted hours of very sedentary work and (dumb me) after a suspension of the exercise I used to get several days a week.

That inactivity led to a knee injury and knee surgery, which added more months of low activity level for me.

So I came to the e-cises with a history of a couple of years of very little athletics or exercise.

I also had spent many years eating high-sugar, high-starch foods and had thus driven my blood triglycerides sky-high --- with the result that the capillaries in my extremities and elsewhere (especially in poorly perfused cartilagenous areas like knees) had started shutting down.

I had drastically changed my diet about a year before coming upon these e-cises. I cut out added-sugar (esp. in "soft" drinks and iced tea) and cut out potatoes (high starch). But I think these e-cises were instrumental in helping my capillaries recover, thus improving blood flow to feet, knees, etc.

I conclude from this that a well-exercised, well-eating athlete may NOT feel a great deal of additional invigoration or strengthening benefit from the e-cises.

But athletes can almost certainly gain from the flexibility benefits ...... and gain from a reduction of cramping (especially in the legs) --- if the athlete has done little stretching ...... or if he/she has not done the wide variety of poses-exercises seen in this book.

Furthermore, most athletes trying to recover from injuries are likely to benefit from this book.


The NUMBER of E-cises:

I found, in an initial read of the book, that only about four or five e-cises are presented for each section of the body (or for each sport) --- and many of those e-cises are repeated in the various sections of the book.

Because of this, I got the impression that there are only about a dozen e-cises in the book.

But if you look under E (E-cises) in the index at the end of the book, and count the entries with capital letters (the e-cise names), you will find about 40 e-cises.


VARYING EFFECTS of E-cises:

I have found some of the e-cises seem to have very little stretching or invigorating effect on me --- perhaps because I am not tight or out-of-alignment in the areas they are meant to target.

Other e-cises seem to be very invigorating or beneficial for me --- and I would want to continue to use them in a maintenance program, even though they are not mentioned in the maintenance program Egoscue proposes at the end of the book.

I think you would find it helpful to try out all the exercises in the book (about 40). Then alter the suggested e-cise lists in the book-sections that are of interest to you ---

  • sections on body-part-e-cises (for example, knees)
  • sections on sport-e-cises (for example, running)
  • a section on maintenance-e-cises (at the end of the book)

In other words, assemble a program tailored to your own pains, weaknesses, misalignments, and tightnesses.

In fact, tailoring-of-programs is one of the services offered through www.egoscue.com. You may find it best to take advantage of the experience available through the Egoscue clinic.


An ALTERNATE GROUPING of e-cises:

I find it invigorating to use the exercises when I am STANDING or SITTING somewhere (for example, while watching a sports event at an arena or field, or while in front of a television or computer terminal).

In addition, there may be occasions (other than at home) when you can KNEEL or LIE DOWN to do some e-cises for a minute or two, or more.

I found it helpful to have a list of the e-cises categorized into the various exercise positions:

  • standing
  • sitting
  • kneeling
  • lying on back
  • lying on stomach
  • lying on side

The book does not provide such a list, so I have assembled such a list (by body orientation) in the standing-sitting-kneeling-lyingdown tables available through this web page.

You may wish to capture (print) the lists (tables) --- for your easy reference --- and to help you assemble various lists of e-cises that you find most beneficial for you.

Go to Table of Contents, above.

Egoscue poses/exercises - BY BODY ORIENTATION

Go to Table of Contents, above.

Some images and descriptions of E-cises are on separate web pages of this site --- by body orientation/position:

One reader-evaluator of the "Pain Free" book, at amazon.com, complained that the book fully described each e-cise only once, and that the book referred the reader to that description from other parts of the book.

The reader wanted the description to be repeated everytime an e-cise was listed in an "exercise group".

This would make the book huge and unwieldy --- because of all the sport sections (about 17), and their common use of many of the exercises, like "downward dog" and "air chair".

The tables herein are intended to help locate the descriptions (by page number) --- as well as to organize the e-cises into standing, sitting, kneeling, lying-down groups.

This type of grouping is not presented in the book, but it has its advantages --- such as providing for a quick way to see the e-cises that you can consider doing when sitting --- or when standing and waiting for a ride, for example.

These tables also include the suggested duration or repetitions of each e-cise.

Once you become familiar and experienced with the exercises that are best for you, the descriptions will probably not be necessary, but the suggested duration/repitions may come in handy, say via printout --- especially if you do not do some of the e-cises often.


An invention for someone to implement :

Note that ideally, to satisy the reader complaint (about unavailability of the e-cise descriptions repeated within the various different groupings of the e-cises), some entrepreneur could someday provide a hand-held electronic hyper-links book --- a hand-held computer with a web browser and web pages built-in (for example, "e-cise" pages).

Each e-cise named on those web pages would have a link to a description page --- somewhat like the links in the exercise groups/tables in these web pages.

The pages of an "e-cise" web-book would have lists of exercise groups, like the groups in the Egoscue book --- and you could be given the ability to add your own groupings (i.e. your own web pages or re-organization of given web pages).

Of course, to make the "web-book" cost-effective, it would be implemented to allow for loading groups of web pages on many different subjects of interest to the owner.

In other words, the electro-book would not be limited to a single book. It could be an entire shelf of books.

Note that these pages are a start toward such an electro-book --- but these pages contain only a sampling of the images in the Egoscue books.


Another way of organizing the stretches/poses/exercises :

There is still another way that the e-cises could be organized --- by people's pain complaints (by the location and the specific nature of the pain --- addressing special situations, such as scoliosis, missing disk cartilage, body asymmetries, body injuries, surgeries.

The electro-book approach would allow for compiling such a book section --- with links to the e-cise images and descriptions that are pertinent to each pain category/situation.

In fact, I later (in 2012, 6 years after first reading the 'Pain Free' book) realized that this is a major failing of this book. It needs a section organized by pain-symptoms --- including very specific descriptions that delineate the nature of the pain, so that readers can find the pain-symptom that matches their situation and then see which e-cises are likely to provide some relief in their situation.

It seems rather ironic that the title of the book is 'Pain Free', and yet the book contains no section organized on the basis of fairly detailed pain symptoms. And, given that the author (Egoscue) devised his system based largely on his experiences with his own war wounds, it is surprising that the organization of the book does not take into account special, non-normal anatomical conditions.

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Page created 2006 Sep 13. Changed 2012 May 01.