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Self Nature Posture Exercise

Sunday, May 8th, 2011
back exercises

Just like so many other low back pain sufferers, Professor Choi Joong-ki tried it all. From yoga to chiropractics to acupuncture, he too was one of those desperate seekers looking for a permanent cure to his pain.

The chronic back pain that he had felt for many years since his school days eventually drove him away from his dream of becoming a patent lawyer. To make matters worse, the pain he suffered while sitting long hours for the exam made getting up from bed every morning an arduous toil. From that point on, fifteen years ago, his endeavor to conquer his symptoms began.

According to studies, more than 10 percent of the world population suffers from chronic lower back pain. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that around US$15 billion per year is spent on back pain for disability expenses and medical care in the United States. In today’s society, along with obesity, back pain has become one of several illnesses that represent the problems associated with a modern lifestyle.

Despite the poor prognosis for most back pain patients, Choi is now back-pain free. Througha Self Nature Posture Exercise (SNPE), the brainchild of Choi, his chronic back pain disappeared. Although he could not fulfill his dream to be a patent lawyer, he has been successful. He is currently the president of the SNPE Good Posture Academy, professor at the Continuing Education Center of Hallym University of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education Center of Kyonggi University, and a best-selling author of his book, ‘Straightened Spine, a Healthy Life.’ SNPE, which was a result of more than ten years of clinical research, and which changed his life.

As the title of the exercise explains, the goal of SNPE is to recover the natural posture of the human body without the help of artificial support. SNPE can also be characterized as “3U,” that is: united, unique and useful. The exercise is based on clinical studies that Choi undertook after studying yoga, pilates, chiropractics, muscle kinematics and applied kinesiology. SNPE is a unified New Paradigm Exercise Therapy. It is also unique in terms of its explanation of the mechanism and body mechanics behind the exercise therapy, and it is based on clinical research and a logical approach. It is useful because it rapidly and effectively removes pain and provides a good posture without side effects.

The mechanism of SNPE is accomplished by smoothing the muscle that surrounds the body. This is done because smoothing the muscle releases muscle heat, and this helps correct pelvis and spinal disarrangements. Another unique characteristic of SNPE is its involvement of tools, such as a pelvic belt and a wooden hand. Choi claims the use of these tools create a tremendous distinction from other exercises.

“Stiff muscles, hypothermia, and neurotransmission disorder are the main reasons for a bad posture and chronic pain,” said Choi. “You need to give movement to the fixed spine that blocks the neurotransmission of the body, and SNPE does this by using tools. In that sense the therapy exercise is very specific.”

The pelvis belt, which is one of the main tools of SNPE, was a creation by Choi as a result of adapting the fundamentals of orthodontics. He got the idea by thinking that just as small elastic springs, prosthesis, and bands are applied in realigning teeth, using the SNPE pelvis belt while exercising would be a good idea to realign the spine. Choi claimed, “If solid teeth can be straightened, the same can be done to our spine.”

During SNPE training, many students noticed that their body temperature rose. After attaching the belt onto your body in areas such as the pelvis, knees and thighs, the trainee has to keep moving constantly. SNPE has to be done in a gradual manner because excessive force during the spinal exercise may cause physiological rejection by the body. According to Choi, not just any exercise helps to remove back pain and bad posture.

“One needs to be patient,” he said. Further, he suggests “Exercise is useless when others help you to do it. That is why therapy such as chiropractics and massage therapy have high rates of relapse after realigning the spine.”

Many ask about the effectiveness of yoga training when it comes to bad posture and spinal exercises. But Choi also warns that exercises that require spreading the legs force the spaces between joints to become wider, creating friction. This friction rather creates more illness then lessening of the back pain.

In September 2008, using a pen name “Silver Rock,” Oh Dong Hyun, one of Choi’s trainees, consulted with him with a problem of herniated nucleus pulposus, also known as “slipped disk.” On Choi’s SNPE website, he wrote a letter to Choi that he was having difficulties due to the slipped disk and his doctor recommended surgery. Oh had been suffering from numbness in his legs and had for a long time been sitting in an office. The doctor even told Oh that it was even a miracle for Oh to come to the hospital walking. After taking an MRI scan to see what was the reason for his numb legs, Oh started to exercise with the SNPE method with one exercise each day.

At first, Oh had to put up with the same symptoms with deeper pain. He could feel the pain from the sacrum to his toes. But after a year, Oh wrote a letter on Choi’s website stating his pain was totally gone after steady SNPE therapy. The letter wrote, “I took an MRI scan after 11 months of the SNPE therapy, and the doctor asked me whether I underwent surgery. I was also told that it was a miracle to see the disk changed this way without surgery within a year.”

It is not only patients who are learning the SNPE therapy from Choi who have seen wonders. Shin Yoon Jung, a yoga instructor who completed Choi’s SNPE Advanced Spinal Exercise Program at the Continuing Education Center of Kyonggi University, also expressed her gratification to Choi after learning SNPE. The SNPE Advanced Spinal Exercise Program is designed to train SNPE coaches and give authorization to teach others through certification. The SNPE therapy sessions and the advanced program both contain theory courses to learn about human anatomy and practical training. Shin expressed that the theory classes made her more available to students to help them with their problems more thoroughly. Her students at the yoga centers, including those suffering from dizziness or menstruation pains, had their symptoms totally resolved after treatment. For women suffering from gynecologic diseases, Choi argues that the SNPE helps to eliminate the disease.

“A crooked pelvis contributes to infertility, menstrual pain and back pain, and when giving birth the muscles and ligaments stretch when the pelvis spreads,” said Choi. “But once the spine and pelvis are aligned with the SNPE therapy, blood circulation occurs smoothly and helps to eliminate menstruation cramps.”

When Choi was working on his development of SNPE spinal and body mechanics exercises, he noticed the importance of shoes was being neglected when treating lower back pain. Podiatry has been highly researched in the western world, but he noticed much of the back pain treatment and research in Korea didn’t focus much on shoes until recently.

He also realized that problems in the musculoskeletal system had to do with a lack of walking, and if he could foster more people to walk, the numbers of back pain patients would naturally decrease. This is why he not only developed SNPE, but also SNPE functional shoes that can be worn during the SNPE training or in normal walking. He said that the reason people feel fatigue is due to the high heels on their shoes. This moves the body’s gravity line to the front part of the body, thereby distorting the natural alignment of the spine.

“For humans who walks erect, shoes are the most important consideration,” said Choi. “This was not discussed much in the past. I think the best way [to be healthy] is to go back to our natural state.”

Thus, when he first had the idea of looking at shoes, he was interested in Maasai walking shoes that had an undercut to the sole and heels of the shoes. But Choi noticed shoes that had a round bottom had problems associated with trembling when not walking, being slippery during the rain and increasing risks of a twisted ankle when walking. Choi thought the Maasai were healthy because they had the habit of walking long hours, not because they were wearing these so-called Maasai walking shoes. The Maasai walking technique was the foundation of the Maasai walking shoes and was a result of a linguistic combination, not a special walking technique. The Maasai have less lower back pain, chronic disease and musculoskeletal disease due to their habit of walking long hours, not because of the walking technique itself. So when developing his SNPE shoes, he spent considerable time focusing on how to move the gravity line to the back of the body, and studied the pros and cons of Maasai shoes that had round bottoms and insoles, along with a way to develop a sole that can maintain the balance of the human body. As a result, with the help of a metallic molding production company, he decided to attach an arch sensor and magnetic cushion that received an international patent.

SNPE is important in that it is the first exercise technique that originated in Korea. Choi claimed that both SNPE and the shoes were possible because of his experience as a low back patient.

“I always say experience is the best teacher,” said Choi. “The reason SNPE became popular is because the therapy itself is based on experience. Medical doctors and oriental medicine doctors come to my class to learn SNPE because they treat patients without their own direct experience, but SNPE therapy is built on experience.”

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