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Lengthening the Spine


34 mins

Learn useful techniques to help lengthen the spine.



Hi Esther

Could you give your opinion of the inversion tables where you are suspended by your feet. I imagine this would be a extension of stretch lying. And would you suggest any particular technique for using them.

Many thanks


  1. Regarding how to begin the project of remodeling the spine, inversion tables use the right approach, but the wrong extent. It takes hours, not minutes to have a significant impact on the resting length of the spine. The only ways I know to get that without ruining your life are to use the time you spend sitting against a backrest (stretchsitting) and lying (stretchlying). Those will do the job. 
  2. Inversion tables don't have a way to target the stretch to the lower back, where it's most needed. An inversion table stretch could mainly be happening in the ankles / knees / hips, where it's not necessarily desirable. 
  3. I've come upon three people so far who have had accidents with their inversion tables that resulted in significant injury (concussion / strained neck). 

If you don't know any other way to get traction in your spine inversion tables will offer some welcome relief. But once you know how to stretchsit and stretchlie, I see inversion tables as contributing just a drop in the bucket with some risk of injury. Additionally they are big, expensive, and unattractive pieces of furniture that takes up half of most living rooms.

Most important to remember is that gentle traction alone is just one piece of the puzzle - strengthening and remodeling your spine, and learning healthy movement is equally important and not something that any machine can do for you. But I'm preaching to the choir here, I know!

Here's what people report inversion tables have done for their lower back pain on the crowdsourcing website, healthoutcome.org: https://www.healthoutcome.org/condition/43/lower-back-pain-treatment. Note the rating of 2 out of 5. Note the Gokhale Method rating of 4.4. That's a data-driven statement on what it takes to truly address a lower back pain issue. (Incidentally, we're trying to get more people to review their experiences here so we don't continue to appear below the fold with interventions with less than 600 ratings - so please consider sharing your experience.)


Hi Esther,

I appreciate the roller education. Could you give some pointers on how to ensure that we are not tucking our pelvis when we raise our hips? I have tried holding my pelvis as is recommended in the book for stretch lying, but I think learning some rule of thumb for preserving the anteversion would be helpful. During stretch lying, it seems a bit easier to maintain anteversion compared to this roller action. Thank you!