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The Goods on Good Posture

Sunday, May 8th, 2011
Choi Joon-ki

With more than ten years of research and clinical studies, Professor Choi Joong-ki, president of SNPE Good Posture Academy and author of the bestselling book Straightened Spine, a Healthy Life, has established his own exercise therapy called Self Nature Posture Exercise (SNPE). A professor at the Continuing Education Center of Hallym University of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education Center of Kyonggi University, he has been spreading this exercise, which has helped various patients who suffered from symptoms such as herniated cervical disc, herniated lumbar disc, scoliosis, shoulder pain and obesity. He created SNPE after going through years of low back pain himself, and the tools used for the therapy have been gaining national attention from media and patients in Korea.

Can you explain to us what Self Nature Posture Exercise (SNPE) is?

SNPE stands for “Self Nature Posture Exercise,” meaning exercise that aims to recover the natural posture through one’s own effort. It is based on “selection and specialization” when applying its exercise methods, and emphasizes repetition of the exercises. Common exercises were created to alleviate or cure low back pain mainly including stretching and muscle strengthening, but SNPE is a specialized exercise that can help maintain one’s correct posture. It consists of selected exercises that straighten a crooked spine.

What is the main philosophy behind this exercise?

The philosophy behind SNPE is simple. A crooked spine or a deformed pelvis cannot bring about a healthy life, just as the title of my book Straightened Spine, a Healthy Life implies. A deformed spine entails various pains and illnesses; thus, maintaining a straight posture is the secret to an enhanced quality of life.

What are the procedures of SNPE therapy?

There are more than 30 kinds of exercise movements of SNPE, but beginners, non-professional learners, and back pain patients first focus on practicing the SNPE step one, two, three, and four movements. After being trained for quite a while and getting used to the movements of steps one to four, students gradually move onto the next steps such as step five, six, seven, and on up to thirty and above.

What are the core teachings that SNPE is trying to impart to its students?

The key to sustain a correct posture and a straight spine is to be informed of concrete methods that are easy enough to be employed by oneself without the help of others. SNPE does just that. Students who learn SNPE follow the exercise movements of the instructor, but question the need of the exercise based on body mechanics and the anatomical explanations of the musculoskeletal system. To learn the teachings of SNPE, one needs to do more than just passively follow the exercise movements.

Please explain the SNPE therapy courses you teach to your students?

SNPE therapy courses are based on theory and practical training. Of the three-hour session, one hour is theory learning and two hours are actual training. During the one-hour theory class, the students learn the history of SNPE, anatomy, principles of SNPE treatment, student presentations on clinical study results of SNPE, and so on. During the two-hour class, students get to practice various motions of SNPE training, practice SNPE tools made for spine straightening, and so on.

What are the major health benefits to those who undertake SNPE therapy?

Many patients diagnosed with conditions such as intervertebral disc or disc herniation that needed surgery were cured after using SNPE therapy – without surgery. Also, SNPE was successful in lessening or removing the pain of many people who suffered from musculoskeletal disease and spine pain. The core of the exercise training is to smoothen the stiff muscles and give movement to the fixed spine. It is known that muscle stiffness and rigidity blocks the blood flow between the muscles and creates many illnesses. The key point of SNPE is that it is a “new paradigm exercise therapy” that makes stiff muscles smoother and gives movement to the fixed spine.

Aside from the SNPE therapy courses, can you tell me about the SNPE Advanced Spinal Exercise Program you are managing?

The SNPE Advanced Spinal Exercise Program was developed to train SNPE coaches. After a year of extensive training, only 30 students a year who participate this program will earn the coaching certificate. It is highly competitive. Around 50 to 60 percent of the students enrolled in this program fail to receive the certificate. Compared to yoga instructors who complete their requirements to work as an instructor in only three or four months, SNPE stresses the importance on basics and quality of the teaching methods over a longer duration.

Can you explain how SNPE is related to our health, especially in terms of the well-being of individuals?

People nowadays are well-informed with health-related information. However, not many know specific treatments and methods that can increase one’s well-being. Also, when it comes to well-being, many are afraid of the high cost they think they have to invest to maintain their health. But this is not the case with SNPE. If one can understand the principles behind SNPE therapy, the exercise can be done by anyone, even indoors without the help of others and without spending any money.

Are there any side effects to your SNPE therapy?

From children to the aged, everyone can utilize SNPE therapy, though it is critical to adjust the time and intensity of the exercise depending on one’s age and health condition. SNPE therapy has no side effects, but failure to monitor the time and intensity may result in temporary pain or fatigue. However, these symptoms can be removed by constant SNPE therapy. If difficulties continue during the therapy, getting help from a director who has a SNPE coaching certification may be another good idea.

What recent significant studies were done at the SNPE academy?

By using SNPE spinal exercises, many show signs of relief of shoulder pain and pain from herniated cervical and lumbar discs. Especially, among the tools made for SNPE spinal exercises, the elastic pelvic belt and the finger-shaped tool help many patients. Another tool, the “wooden hand” helps to remove shoulder pain and pain from a herniated cervical disc. In a recently announced clinical study of SNPE spinal exercise, MRI images of a patient who was diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc showed differences after SNPE therapy. The differences were even acknowledged by the patient’s doctor. Much more clinical research can be found on my website at www.snpe.co.kr and http://cafe.daum.net/chiroup.

Can you tell me about the SNPE functional shoes?

While developing SNPE, I have studied much about spinal exercises and body mechanics. I noticed that former studies about this subject did not include much about the importance of shoes. Most patients suffering from musculoskeletal disease have had a relatively small amount of time dedicated to walking. So I thought developing light and comfortable functional shoes would encourage patients and non-patients to walk more than they usually do. I focused on developing the sole of the shoes to help people balance and walk more naturally. The shoes also received an international patent by inserting an arch sensor and magnetic cushion.

Are there any plans to expand the SNPE academy abroad in other countries?

Currently, people in countries such as America, Japan, England, China, and Germany are promoting SNPE, but not many. Mostly, preachers and priests who are doing missionary work abroad are trying to promote the therapy. However, as mentioned above, SNPE is a New Paradigm Exercise Therapy. The effect of SNPE has been proven by various clinical studies, and we have our own know-how when it comes to exercise therapy. SNPE has prepared much clinical research material hoping to gain a worldwide reputation in the near future. We expect SNPE will successfully represent our country as a unique Korean exercise therapy, performing as a main actor of the Korean Wave. SNPE books are being translated into English and German, and I am also writing a series of books regarding clinical studies of SNPE therapy. Promoting and educating the whole world, not only Koreans, to become conscious of this exercise that helps maintain good posture is my future plan.

What are the future plans for SNPE?

It is very helpful to know how to prevent neck, shoulders and back pain before they appear. In terms of preventative medicine, SNPE is likely to gain a huge role. Currently, yoga instructors, pilates instructors, medical doctors, Oriental medicine doctors, and non-professional students are coming to SNPE lectures. It is critical for these people in various professions to learn SNPE, since they will help their patients or their own students to know the importance of good posture and exercise techniques. When more people get to know SNPE, it will contribute much towards cutting down medical expenses.

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