PALO ALTO (CBS 5) – A woman who founded a Bay Area center for treatment of back pain is gaining a legion of followers with her alternative methods of alleviating pain.
Esther Gokhale founded her Wellness Center in Palo Alto in 1992, developing what is now known as the Gokhale Method – a systematic process of restoring pain-free posture and movement.
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 80% of people will have a back pain problem at some point in their lives.
The Gokhale Method addresses the roots of back pain by having patients relearn the basics about posture.
“I call it primal posture,” said Gokhale.
Gokhale has traveled the world to study the movement and posture of people living in traditional non-industrialized societies, people who don’t have the kind of back problems that we do.
According to Gokhale, “the wisdom gets passed down through the generations.”
That kind of body wisdom ended as we moved around the world and settled in big cities, according to Gokhale. As for today’s role models, Gokhale said just check out any fashion magazine: good posture is replaced by a slouch.
“About a century ago tucking the pelvis became very fashionable and that has stayed with us for the last century,” Gokhale said.
Gokhale maintains it’s not a problem that we sit, stand or bend, but how we do so.
“Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t go to the gym and they didn’t stretch and strengthen. They got all those needs met from doing everyday life, and doing it well.” Gokhale said
Gokhale said our basic posture problem is that we scrunch up too much; we need to stretch more to elongate our spines. She teaches techniques like stretch-sitting, stretch-lying and glide-walking.
“You’re squeezing your buttocks to propel you forward so that landing is a little bit delayed and it also is a little bit soft,” she said.
Gokhale has studied at Stanford University, taking courses in anthropology, anatomy and physiology and has degrees from Princeton and the San Francisco College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She also wrote a book on the Gokhale Method and gives lectures to medical schools, sports teams and corporations.
For more information go to: egwellness.com