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Country: Europe, DE, Germany
City: Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein
This is the first book review I have ever written. My purpose in doing this is to inform anyone with chronic back pain that there is a sensible, nonsurgical exercise-free way to alleviate back pain and improve your overall health and appearance.
I suffered from chronic lower back pain that was due to severe scoliosis (sharp bend in the L4 L5 discs) and spinal stenosis in this location. Each morning I would hobble out of bed and limp downstairs. After starting the book and wending my way through many testimonials, I finally got to Chapter 2 - Stretchlying. I followed the instructions - went to bed with a pillow under my knees and stretched my spine. I slept through the night and woke up with no pain. I bounded out of bed like I did 20 years ago. I've been sleeping this way ever since (now 6 months) with no morning back pain.
Back pain is the result of an unhealthy spine (Duh!). Esther Gokhale (pronounced go- clay) has reduced the concept of natural, healthy spinal posture to a nonmathematical calculus - that is, she breaks down activities such as sitting, standing, lying, bending and walking into differentials, or subsets. Each subset is highly illustrated with photos and diagrams that accompany detailed instructions. She then integrates the subsets into the correct way to perform the activity discussed in each chapter. Gokhale's knowledge of human anatomy and physiology is encyclopedic, yet she conveys her ideas in an easy to understand manner.
I highly recommend this book to anyone suffering from back, knee or hip pain and for anyone who knows a person with these issues (great gift). To make the best use of Gokhale's techniques, go to her website: One can find lots of free things here, including Chapter 5 of this book. Readers will also find her youtube videos () a great accompaniment to this book. If you are fortunate enough to be able to attend her Gokhale Method Foundations course (I just completed the one she gave in Berkeley), you will pick up many subtleties that couldn't be included in the book.
8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot (Remember When It Didn't Hurt)
Because of two herniated discs and sciatica, I did a thorough study of ways to have a healthy back. In the process I ordered about 15 different books from Amazon after studying the reviews left by Amazon readers. One of the books I discovered on, and ordered from, Amazon was Esther Gokhale's 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back. Of the books I studied, if I were to recommend a single book to help one recover from back injury or to avoid back injury, it would be this book. And I have recommended and loaned it to many people. After my doctor borrowed my copy and looked it over, he was impressed enough to buy his own copy and to encourage his patients to adopt some of the book's approaches.
Because of her own back problem, Esther Gokhale (pronounced "Go-Clay") studied at the L'Institut d'Aplomb in Paris, which teaches a new way of using the body. She also spent a great deal of time in third world countries which had people who often carried heavy loads on their heads, picked up items from ground level all day long, etc., yet did not have back problems. Over time she put together am amazing approach to using the body for standing, bending over, sitting, lying down and walking. This approach helps elongate (decompress) the spine and avoids straining the back.
Her book is simply marvelous. It is presents her teachings very thoroughly and contains dozens of beautiful pictures of third world people performing challenging tasks with excellent posture. Some of the procedures are very simple to apply and others take a bit of practice.
Esther has trained over 300 doctors as well as many hundreds of other people at her center in Palo Alto, CA and at other locations. Her work has helped a number of people avoid surgery and it has glowing reviews from quite a few physicians as well as others. (For example: "By using Esther Gokhale's novel techniques, many patients can avoid needless and expensive medical procedures, and quickly return to a pain-free life." - John Adler, MD - Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University Medical Clinic.)
If one wants to avoid back injury or further back injury, and/or heal from a back injury, I can not recommend this book enough. In addition to the book, one can order a new DVD from Esther's website, "Back Pain The Primal Posture Solution." I first saw this DVD when it was aired on my local public television station as a pledge drive program recently. I have the DVD and it is an important addition to the book because you can see the approach demonstrated with several students. Like the book, the DVD is "first class" and highly recommended. If one wants to go further, he/she can attend one of Esther's workshops. I did that recently and found it extremely valuable.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in any form of art (drawing, painting, dancing, photography, film making, etc), music or writing. Whether you have ever thought about, used to do it, or are now practicing any form of art, music or writing, this book will help you become better at it. If you are willing to follow the guidelines and stick to the path laid out in the book, you will become a better artist, musician and writer.
In just thumbing through the book when I got it the other day, I discovered yet another hoop we self-employed folks have to jump through. I had not heard of it and was somewhat surprised by it. So, while the news wasn't good, I was glad to know it. I do not do my own income tax. My nerves couldn't take it. But, I know that no one cares as much about my financial life as I do and I need to know at least the basics of the current tax code so I can make sure I get every deduction to which I'm entitled, among other things.
I have faith in this reference and highly recommend it to you.
-- Susanna K. Hutcheson
Daniel Pinchbeck's new book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, takes the reader on a mind blowing journey of self discovery and transformation. From the Amazonian rain forest to the gentle hills of England to the streets of New York City, Pinchbeck masterfully articulates his exploration of the process our world is going through and his relationship to it and purpose in it. The book brings together many different areas of inquiry from crop circles to psychedelics to native shamanic practices but they are all weaved together to show the authors process of exploration and unfolding of an increasingly conscious process of self discovery and transformation. I think this book reflects a journey and a process that at some level we are all going through today. For me this book illuminated new areas of exploration that I plan to undertake and enriched my understanding of the global process of transformation that we are in the midst of. I highly recommend this book to anyone on a spiritual journey of discovery or anyone who feels the change that is now happening and wants to deep their understanding of it and find meaning in it.