ELDOA is a method of exercise that “creates space” and improves the function of specific joints while also strengthening the postural muscles that support the spine. In the world that we live in today many of us are bombarded by modern technology. With the use of computers, smart phones, riding in vehicles, etc., many of us begin to develop more restrictions and myofascial (connective tissue) tension in our bodies as we age. This can lead to chronic joint pain and other maladies that can restrict bodily movements.
ELDOA’s are specific postures or positions that are held for one minute and target specific vertebral levels of the spine to enhance mobility. For example, if someone has signs of joint degeneration and loss of disc height at the L5/S1 level of the lumbar(lower) spine, then this person could perform the L5/S1 ELDOA for one minute everyday to create disc space and relieve compression of the disc and nerve roots.
When performed everyday, the ELDOA have been shown to significantly relieve back and neck pain, nerve compression, improve joint mechanics and increase a sense of well-being. These are just a few of the immediate effects that most people experience. Some of the long term effects include very strong posture, metabolic/hormonal balance, diminishing or eliminating chronic joint pain, and increased proprioception (body awareness).
The corrective technique was created by French Osteopath, Dr. Guy Voyer. ELDOA is a French acronym that translates to English meaning L.O. A.D.S. (Longintudinal Osteo-Articular Decoaptation Stretches).
Performing specific stretches on a regular basis can restore balance to the musculoskeletal system and also keeps the tissues/joints healthy. Sound nutrition and proper hydration are also big factors that play key roles in the health of the bones, joints and muscles.
I have been using the ELDOA in my practice since June of 2012. The results I have experienced have been remarkable. I’ve been teaching corrective exercise and stretching techniques for over eight years with the goal of improving pain, posture, and joint mechanics. Although, I’ve received tremendous results with my work in the past, the benefits of practicing these exercises far eclipse my previous corrective endeavors!
I have noticed greater mobility in my joints and stronger posture within a shorter period of time as opposed to practicing conventional stretches. This is highly rewarding, because people don’t particularly enjoy the corrective phase of their exercise program. I have found that most people want to advance straight into the high performance exercises without having to do the tedious but more important corrective and stabilization exercises.
If the structure is not aligned properly and muscle imbalances are present then the joints cannot articulate properly and will degenerate faster. If you use the analogy of a car’s tires and axle being out of alignment, you can grasp the idea of how things function better when they are in the correct position. When the tires are balanced and the axle is aligned on a car then the minimal wear/tear on the tires and vehicle is possible. With the tires and axle out of alignment you will begin to notice the degeneration in different areas of the tires. Imbalances transpire which can affect other areas of the vehicle.
This is exactly what takes place in the musculoskeletal system of the human body, when you do high performance exercises with old injuries, poor posture, restricted joints,and poorly developed intrinsic muscles.
Furthermore, this also allows the possibility to create faulty movement patterns. Faulty movement patterns are dysfunctional movements due to the recruitment of improper musculature to make the action happen. Our brains command the central nervous system. If the brain commands the muscles to perform a particular movement and the deep stabilizers of the spine, shoulder girdle, hips, lower legs, etc. aren’t trained to work properly, then the musculoskeletal system will still complete the movement but will do so with faulty technique. This will manifest in many negative scenarios including chronic joint pain, stiff muscles, lack of flexibility, mobility problems, etc.
It is very important to know why you are performing a particular stretch or exercise. Each of us are different and therefore we all have unique needs. The ELDOA postures are beneficial to everyone regarding physical fitness and overall well-being. Whether you have tight muscles, restricted joints, nerve compression or poor posture in general, the results of practicing the ELDOA’s daily are almost immediate and absolutely amazing.