Healthy Living

Towel exercise

What is spinal traction therapy?

Spinal traction is a form of non – surgical decompression therapy that takes pressure off compressed disks by means of stretching of the spine. Such procedure strengthens the spine, facilitates proper alignment of internal organs and improves the body’s ability to heal itself.


What is spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is generally speaking a surgical procedure which provides relief of pressure upon a nerve. Much debate; however, is around the non –surgical approach to spinal decompression which is usually practiced by chiropractors and spinal decompression therapists, etc. According to them, non – surgical spinal decompression therapy is a type of traction therapy which actively assesses how the body is reacting when the spine is being pulled. Knowing that body’s natural defense mechanism to external pulling is tightening of the muscles; spinal decompression therapy is able to assess how much force should be applied in order to overcome muscle lock down and spasms.

Both therapies, spinal traction and spinal decompression, can be performed manually and mechanically. During manual session, the therapist will use hands to perform the procedure. During mechanical session, the patient lies on a table that has equipment to perform the task.

It is worth saying that spinal therapies are not for everyone and have to be approved by your physician first. Spinal therapies often work as an enhancement for other therapies and exercise efforts so make sure to coordinate with your physician and personal trainer.


Personal experience

For many years I have been complimented on my straight spine and beautiful posture. However, lately I noticed my tendency to slouch my back and the muscle discomfort that came as a result of poor posture. Given that my initial preference goes to DIY solutions, I found “towel exercise” invented by Dr. Fukutsuji and promoted by a group of bloggers.


Dr Toshiki Fukutsuji?

Dr. Toshiki Fukutsuji was a specialist in reflexology and shiatsu massage for many years. Later, he became a specialist in acupuncture. His professional expertise was in structural and functional operation of human body; however, his medical credentials hardly qualify him for being an authority in the medical field. That said, based on his knowledge and experience, Dr. Fukutsuji introduced “towel exercise” which aims to align the spine in order to maintain proper functioning of the body.


“Towel exercise” (at home spinal stretching) technique

All our organs and limbs, including intestine and stomach, connect to the brain via vertebral column. Misalignment of bones affects our posture as well as it restricts the nerve pathways. Since hips are naturally tasked with supporting the weight of the body in static and dynamic positions, Dr. Fukutsuji saw alignment of hips being essential for spinal health and the proper alignment of the whole skeleton. As such, the original “towel exercise” technique involves placement of the towel only under the lower back.

This practice was originally advertised as a weight loss exercise. Once the technique and its effects were better understood, “towel exercise, became a technique helping people to combat back problems while strengthening their abdominal muscles.

I have not personally read Dr. Fukutsuji’s book on “towel exercise” revolution since it is published exclusively in Japanese language. As such, I limit this post to introduction of the idea that, given the desire, you can develop further with all due responsibility.


Thanks for reading,

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