On the first weekend of May, I had the privilege of taking an ELDOA level 1 and 2 combination course, taught by Bryce Turner of Beach Fitness and Dr. Justin Brink, in order to expand my knowledge and improve my skills in patient care. What is ELDOA you ask? It’s a French acronym for: Elongation Longitudinaux Avec Decoaption Osteo Articulaire, or LOADS (Longitudinal Stretching with Osteo-Articular Decoaptation Stretching) in English.

It is a method developed by French osteopath, Guy Voyer, D.O., using postural exercises with the goal of creating space within a joint. By doing so, one can improve nerve function, proprioception, rehydrate the intervertebral disc, reduce pain, and improve the function of the myofascial chain. In a nutshell, the method is designed to reduce back pain by using your own body’s ability to heal and recover. What is remarkable about it is that you’re using your own body’s ability to move, adapt, build, and strengthen in order help your body’s health.

By using the ELDOA method, you are increasing your body’s ability to optimize function by generating tension at a focal point to create more space between the vertebrae of your spine. This means that you open your disc spaces, which allows the surrounding segments to take pressure off any nerve and vasculature. This in turn allows the joint segment to have better awareness or proprioception, which improves communication between the spinal cord and the peripheral structures. This improves the functional unit as a whole, as well as the biomechanics of the spine.

There are a few key principles from the seminar that stood out: body awareness, consistency, and persistence. One of the key principles taught at the seminar is that body awareness is the key for your body to recover. The exercises aren’t effective if you don’t build that awareness of your body. Another principle is that the exercises must be done daily for it to be effective. This isn’t a “do this exercise X number of times for X weeks and you’ll be good” type of exercise. You are creating tissue change in the myofascial structure, which will take time. The case studies we looked at all showed improvements, but the common denominators were consistency and time. Additionally, the exercise alone is not as effective if you don’t have the proper hydration or nutrition for optimal benefits.

My personal experience during the four days of the seminar was remarkable and enlightening. Physically, the seminar was challenging, yet at the same time, rewarding. After four days of continual ELDOA postures, my body felt more fluid, with less tension over my entire body. I could feel the segments in my spine moving with less restrictions, and now I’m more aware of my body, spine, and posture. I find myself doing the postures every day in the morning after I wake up and right before I go to sleep. I’ve also noticed an improvement in my sleep quality, where I’m feeling a lot more refreshed and relaxed upon waking. Additionally, I don’t need as many adjustments as before and my body lasts longer between adjustments if I reinforce it with ELDOA exercises.

Why does this matter? Whether or not you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior, or average Joe; you want your body to be able to feel good, to recover and move more efficiently, and to get back to doing what you enjoy doing. However, you need to be actively encouraging your body to do better. Dr. Brink and his associates have incorporated the ELDOA methods and principles to patient care at Premiere Spine and Sport (PSS), before I took this seminar. Taking the seminar provided me with an in-depth understanding of the method and its principles. It is incorporated as part of the corrective exercises for all the patients at PSS as a fundamental strengthening or stretching exercise.