I wanted to overcome chronic pain naturally, without drugs.
So I saw a number of holistic health experts.
One of them recommended a series of stretches. These exercises were based upon a program developed by a man who was hit by a drunk driver. This happened while he was walking, with a female friend.
She was killed. He was left with limited mobility, unable to raise one arm above his ear.
He visited the usual specialists. He even saw a massage therapist.
But he found the most help with stretching. But not normal stretching. Instead, he found a method that worked much better.
He believed the exercises he initially did were “incomplete.”
What he did was counter intuitive. At least that’s how he describes it in his book. It was also the first thought that popped into my mind as I read about his method.
Instead of just stretching, he contracted his muscles and then did his stretching. It worked beautifully.
He calls this “resistance stretching.”
Stretching Exercises for Fibromyalgia
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In his book, The Genius of Flexibility, author Bob Cooley notes that the stretches he developed are the same as classical hatha yoga poses.
However, as a Catholic I don’t do yoga. I stay away from Eastern religious practices. But it’s possible to just do the stretches, without delving into any particular spiritual practices.
The author does mention something about an inner “genius.” I just like to think of this as more of an innate life force, guided by the Holy Spirit.
Despite a little description of this inner “genius,” the book is pretty much free of spirituality. He does talk of meridians in the body. But this is a concept well rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. Energy does flow through our body, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Resistance stretching actually seems to be another form of energy healing (like homeopathy, acupuncture and good chiropractic care). All of these can be helpful with chronic pain.
Stretching Exercises for People With Fibromyalgia
Instead, the book is mostly focused on resistance stretching and how to do it. There’s also good information in the back of the book on healthy eating and “The Organic Lifestyle.” I’m glad he included this information. For many people, getting well again involves a lifestyle overhaul. Including diet changes.
There is reference to how stretching can clear your mind and improve your mood. I believe that it can. I notice a mental boost when I take herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies. And I see the same thing when I visit my chiropractor, for an adjustment.
The body and mind can’t be separated. So anything that helps one seems to help the other.
Stretches for Fibromyalgia
I learned about The Genius of Flexibility when my condition was at its very worst. That means I was in constant agonizing pain. The pain was so bad I could barely walk. I hobbled where I needed to go, which wasn’t far. Just walking across the room was difficult.
Oftentimes I felt as if my legs would give out from under me.
I saw a very competent holistic health expert. She diagnosed me with adrenal fatigue and off-the-charts inflammation.
She also recommend the exercises in The Genius of Flexibility. She thought these stretches would give me something positive to do, as I tried to regain my health.
At the time, my health wasn’t good. The practitioner didn’t mince words when she told me how sick I was. I remained optimistic, because I know the body has an amazing capacity to heal. (I’m not sure she was as optimistic as I was.)
Even though I knew a lot about alternative medicine, my body was in bad shape. That’s no surprise, after years of intense stress, combined with a poor diet.
How To Do Stretching When You Have Fibromyalgia
Anyway, using the stretches in the book helped a little. However, I was also doing them wrong.
Because I hadn’t yet changed my diet. I was eating foods that made me worse. One of them was milk.
Dairy products were my favorite. I didn’t want to give them up. It took years to get to the point where I stopped eating drinking milk and eating cheese. And eating ice cream. That last one was tough. But I’ve found some really good substitutes.
Not eating dairy was one of the best things I did for my health. I only wish I had done it sooner.
It’s not yet proven that dairy foods cause inflammation. But there’s enough evidence that they do. Many holistic health practitioners tell their patients not to consume cow’s milk, for this reason.
Around this time I also stopped eating genetically modified foods. GMO’s are known to cause stomach inflammation in animals. So maybe they’re not so good for people either.
Stretching Exercises When You Have Chronic Pain
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I did resistance stretching when my body was inflamed. They didn’t help enough. But nothing else did either.
What I had to do was eliminate two root causes of inflammation. For me, one appeared to be milk.
The other appeared to be trauma. I had to let that go, forgive the person who hurt me and move on.
Then everything else I did to get healthy had a chance to work.
Anyway, stretching is now probably something I can benefit from. My excess inflammation is finally under control. Writing this post is a good reminder to get back to stretching.
If your pain is severe, I don’t think stretching in and of itself will bring deep long lasting relief. But we’re all different. So who knows.
But it might be a good thing to add to your arsenal. If you’re looking for an effective stretching program, which you can do at home, you may want to consider The Genius Of Flexibility, which you can see below.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.