As I sit here with a knot in my back I’m going to tell you about a book I recently read for review thanks to EBook Pro. They provided me a copy of Josepha Michaeli’s e-book Body Cognition: The Method for review.
What I found interesting and rather common sense is that the development of science and industry has made us much more sedentary. The human body was built to work. Postures like sitting and lying were intended for temporary rest, not for the main position of full time work. It was also interesting to learn that our bodies don’t alert us to problems in movement or posture until the problem is well along and there is some extreme movement or pressure that exacerbates the issue. Our bodies were designed to immediately send signals of trouble when we are burnt, pricked by a thorn, extremely cold, etc. even before extensive damage happens. Whereas poor posture and improper movement usually precedes severe calamity and extensive pain that requires remediation and recovery before we really know something is seriously wrong.
This is a truth to which I can personally attest. Though never being an athletically inclined person I never had back problems when I was in my teens. When I started working in an office during the summer before my junior year in college I started to notice pain in my lower back and hips. All of the sudden after years of wearing up to at least 3″ heels I could barely tolerate anything higher than 2.5″. Never had I been to a chiropractor nor was I ever diagnosed with scoliosis, lordosis or any other deformation of the spinal column. Both my parents had had back injuries and bad experiences with chiropractic care so I was really afraid of what I might encounter. For the next 5 years I suffered in silence.
Then on a business trip to New Zealand calamity struck. My mom came with me which was great in more ways than one. I was dragging along a huge suitcase packed with tools, posters and a mini-booth setup. Shortly after arriving at LAX after a 5 hour flight cross country we were trudging around the airport lugging 30 plus pounds of stuff when my right hip and lower back just gave out. The next 36 hours were torture. This was after 9/11 so there was no place to temporarily store our luggage. Our layover was 9 hours with no place to lie down or truly relax – except for a teeny patch of lawn we found on the back side of the terminal under the highway. I was not looking forward to the 18 hour flight. Turned out we were in a bulkhead row and our seats could not recline. I was at the point of screaming the pain was so intense. Thankfully, a flight attendant found some ibuprofen and the lady behind us had a few extra seats in her row she allowed us to use. Two more flights and several hours of delays and layovers later we finally arrived in Queestown just to find our room was not yet ready for us to check in. They at least allowed us to drop off our bags so we could limp through town looking for epsom salts, pain killers and pain relief creams that would hopefully get me through the next week and the trip home.
I suffered for at least another year before my husband finally convinced me to go see a chiropractor. By this time I was sitting almost completely on my left hip at all times. I drove with a book under my right hip to ease the pain and was in almost constant agony – sitting, standing or lying. Did I mention in the meantime I’d fallen down the stairs and broken my tailbone? Yeah, not good. With regular chiropractic care I’ve been able to live in somewhat normalcy, but my hip slips out of alignment and the cycle starts again.
The way this book is written, I feel, is not for the lay-person seeking to practice this in their own home for self improvement. It’s more for a clinician interested in learning more about the method, how it’s taught, how to identify faults in the body and why it’s important. The methods and certain exercises the book does share are to be done slowly and deliberately. Typically, this would be done in the presence of and with coaching from a Body Cognition teacher, but I hope I can make some progress on my own. My hope is that with following some of the methods I’ve gleaned in this book despite being so many years later that I’ll be able to extend the time between chiropractic visits or maybe even prevent that need altogether. At times the book is very clinical and hard to follow. In other instances I found the allusion to the theory of evolution rather misplaced and frankly offensive. I was more interested in a method of training my body for proper movement than in the author’s belief that we evolved from apes and should still be swinging from trees and traipsing around on all fours. Unfortunately, the book lacked actual instruction of specific movements and training protocols or illustrations of such training to a great extent.
Book Description :
Since the development of “Body Cognition” in the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of people have experienced it. However, when we ask: What is “Body Cognition”, some of the answers are given in the negative form: this is not gymnastics in the usual sense; this is not a treatment for back pains only, and so on. How, then, can we define the “Body Cognition” method: education for a proper body movement? Training and preparing the body? Healthy gymnastics? These are titles which indicate several aspects of the method. The fundamental assumption of “Body Cognition” is that the right movement is beneficial to our physical and mental well-being and learning the right movement can considerably facilitate the solution of a long series of prevalent bodily problems.
The present book constitutes an ID of the method: an attempt to explain extensively, present reasons arguments and demonstrate its theoretical aspect as well as display its practical implementation. The description of bodily occurrences ranges from the unique and individual to the general, from the personal to the comprehension of the common as well as vice versa – from generalizations to the individual case. Each chapter illustrates the approach from a different perspective but all of them emphasize the method’s principal and unique trait: observing solid and general anatomical facts and, based on them, understanding their practical implications for the physical conduct from a health starting point. Moreover, the book shows the way the method relates to issues not usually associated with movement: physical therapy, personal development, learning, thinking and behavior.
The order of the chapters invites a linear reading, evolving according to their structural logic, and enabling the reader to benefit from the support given by each chapter to those that follow it. However, each chapter can stand by itself and refers to the others as the need may arise. Thus, the book can be read in any order, browsing freely between the chapters.
The book is designed for two main reader groups. The first group comprises all those interested in their body and health and want to delve deeper into the body out of personal and intellectual inquisitiveness. The second consists of professionals dealing with all the body therapy disciplines. The chapter topics and level of thoroughness are adjusted to both groups. Hence, all readers can find in the book what they are looking for in accordance with their level of interest and depth.