I notice the emphasis on stretching the spine, and I've been considering buying an inversion table for that purpose. Do you have any thoughts on the value of inversion tables? I would certainly appreciate your opinion.
They certainly don't do any damage and can be useful to jump-start the
lengthening process. I generally prefer to show people stretchsitting
and stretchlying, which together can provide over 15 hours of gentle
traction a day. This is what it takes to make a lasting difference to
your spine. And if you are doing these measures, hanging on an inversion
table becomes a drop in the bucket. So it's beneficial, but if you are
doing everything else you want to be doing, it becomes moot. That
said, for the occasional person with a super-stuck spine, or the person
who hasn't learned stretchsitting and stretchlying, I recommend an
inversion table. Otherwise, spare yourself a couple of hundred bucks and
an ugly and unwieldy piece of furniture!
Thanks for the advice. I realize that my gym has one of those
contraptions with big round pads that one can hang over, hooking the
feet, hinging at the hips, and hanging upside down. I did it twice for 5
mins. It's not terribly comfortable (blood goes to my head), but I
think it might accelerate things, especially since my back seems like it
is indeed super-stuck in one place in particular that's been hurting
for a while. Best of all, it cost nothing extra and isn't in my house!You don't see any problem with hanging straight upside down hinged at the hips, right?
In yoga, being upside down is contra-indicated if you have high blood
pressure (as you note, blood rushes to your head), and you should check
with your medical doctor, but otherwise, can be a great way to not only
stretch your spine, but also get a little extra blood circulation going
in the brain. I wouldn't rely on this measure for stretches at
particular spots, however. It's okay, but it provides a general stretch,
not a specific one. For specific stretches I like using a roller, but I
don't teach people that until they have learnt the equivalent of the
Gokhale Method Foundations course. I first want them to have good habits
in place before I teach them to mobilize their spines in ways that
could be counter-productive. More mobility, after all, gives you the
option to distort your spine even more than usual. You want to have some
good habits in place so that when you mobilize your spine, you will use
it to improve your structure rather than further distort it.
Thanks very much for the response. It's very helpful!