The guide to re-aligning our backs begins with re-aligning our thoughts about our bodies

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Americans are 10 times more likely to have back pain than people from traditional societies around the world. In Chad, the incidence of back pain is only 5 percent, while in the U.S., 85 percent of the population will suffer from back pain in their lifetime. Doctors and experts from industrialized societies blame everything from our sedentary lives, age and stress, to bodies that are not evolved to stand upright. After a lifetime of research in anatomy and alternative medicine, as well as anthropological study in parts of the world where back pain is rare, pain specialist and author Esther Gokhale has found the answer is much more basic.

In 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back (Pendo Press; $24.95), Gokhale uses historical and scientific facts to show that most of what our culture has taught us about posture, including what most doctors recommend, is misguided and even damaging. 

In many cultures, people still have knowledge of natural posture and movement that prevents pain and enhances health. Both manual laborers and sedentary workers from remote Burkina Faso, villages in Brazil and rural Portugal have not forgotten how to sit, stand, walk and sleep in harmony with their bodies’ design. As a result, they do not suffer from back pain. Inspired by their techniques, Gokhale has created a method of posture re-education that has guided thousands of her clients away from back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and other musculoskeletal ailments. Through her richly illustrated, step-by-step guide, she makes her method available to a wider audience. 

In 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, readers can: 

  • Learn how to keep the back pain-free without time-consuming exercises, changes in working style and daily routine, equipment, medication or surgery.
  • Transform everyday activities, such as sitting, standing, walking and bending, into comfortable movements that can also protect bones and joints, and maximize the ability of muscles, arteries, veins and nerves to keep the body healthy and pain-free.
  • Discover the power of stretchsitting and stretchlying, two revolutionary techniques that will decompress the spine, improve circulation and breathing, relax muscles and reduce stress while working at the computer, watching TV and sleeping through the night.
  • Forget what you thought you knew about good posture. Never tense your muscles to “sit up straight” again. Return to the natural, healthy posture used by athletes and shared by children and people from traditional societies over the world.

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About the author

Esther Gokhale (Go-clay) is an acupuncturist, author and expert in pain-free living. She developed the Gokhale MethodSM, a unique, systematic approach to help people find their bodies’ way back to pain-free living. Gokhale has practiced acupuncture and taught posture, dance and yoga in her Palo Alto, California, wellness center for the past 20 years.