“Miranda combined scientific principles with intuition in creating Essentrics, a workout that rebalances the full musculoskeletal system using flexibility training to increase strength. Essentrics complements any fitness routine and offers huge potential for health promotion and disease prevention.” – Emilia Zarco, chair of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences at Adelphi University
Scientific studies have debunked the notion that ‘No Pain, No Gain’ is necessary for physical activity, proving that pain and injuries can be avoided. With her background in ballet and study of various forms of exercise and movement, Miranda Esmonde-White, has developed a solution to chronic pain caused by injuries and ageing. She shared it all in ‘The Miracle of Flexibility: A Head-to-Toe Program to Increase Strength, Improve Mobility, and Become Pain Free’ – a massive and detailed work on healing movements.
Miranda Esmonde-White is a Canadian fitness expert, author, and television host. She is best known for creating the fitness program called Essentrics, which combines strengthening and stretching exercises to improve flexibility, posture, and overall body strength.
Esmonde-White developed the Essentrics method based on her background in ballet and her study of various forms of exercise and movement. She gained significant recognition through her work as the host of the long-running television program ‘Classical Stretch.’ The show, which aired on PBS and was later renamed ‘Essentrics with Miranda Esmonde-White,’ featured her leading viewers through a series of exercises designed to improve mobility, balance, and flexibility.
Operating from her base in Montreal, she currently works with professional athletes, Olympic competitors, celebrities, and teaches classes to a wide array of students worldwide. Despite being in her 70s and having arthritis visible in her X-rays, she enjoys an active and pain-free life thanks to the program she developed.
What is the book about?
In her book, Miranda Esmonde-White discusses the development of Essentrics, a full-body program that focuses on flexibility, pain relief, and overall well-being. The program is designed to stretch and strengthen all muscles in a balanced manner, enhance joint mobility, and promote healthy connective tissue. Scientific validation from reputable universities supports the benefits of Essentrics for maintaining strength, flexibility, and brain and digestive health.
The book includes a wide range of motion sequences that strengthen the entire musculoskeletal system, bonus posture workouts tailored for athletes, peak performers, and individuals seeking relief from back and joint pain, and also information and strategies for complete body restoration. These can be easily practiced in the comfort of your own home, requiring no special equipment.
Key takeaways from ‘The Miracle of Flexibility’
1‘No pain, no gain” motto is not always beneficial
Miranda Esmonde-White says that most fitness programs are not designed to keep people injury- or pain-free – instead, they are designed to push young bodies to the limit. We tend to reward men or women who display the strength and ability to keep going despite pain, and it’s not supposed to be like that.
“Throwing out the idea of ‘no pain, no gain,’ I spent years studying how we’re actually designed to move and creating a fullbody program that stretches and strengthens all the muscles in a balanced way, enhances the range of motion of every joint, and unglues stuck connective tissue.”
2High-impact activities can permanently damage our bodies
The author acknowledges that high-impact activities such as running, team sports, and tennis offer enjoyment, social engagement, and physical exertion. However, these activities can also place significant strain on our bodies. To ensure a fulfilling and pain-free life regardless of age, it is crucial to safeguard our bodies from enduring permanent damage.
3Without movement, muscles shrink and die
It is a proven fact that without regular exercise, muscles undergo atrophy, causing them to shrink, weaken, and eventually die. What many fail to realise is that atrophy is not only detrimental to muscle health but also leads to pain and disrupts the balance of surrounding joints and tissues. This pain often manifests in different areas of the body, such as the hips, knees, or ankles, and can exacerbate through a chain reaction of further muscle loss and increased pain.
4‘Sitting is a new smoking’
Occupational demands, whether involving prolonged sitting or constant standing, contribute to the wear and tear experienced by our joints and muscles. Sitting for extended periods can be highly damaging, as it contributes to disease, damage, and pain, with some experts likening its impact to that of smoking.
5Sedentary lifestyle damages bones
Movement plays a vital role in developing and maintaining strong bones. Bones require stress and exertion to develop a robust skeletal structure. When we engage in physical activity, our bones experience varying degrees of force, prompting them to strengthen accordingly. Children, in particular, are vulnerable as their bones are still growing and adapting to the demands of their activities.
6Weak muscles affect the whole body, including brain, cardiovascular and digestive systems
Atrophied muscles affect the entire body, leading to a slowdown in cardiovascular and digestive systems, weakened bones, damaged joints, and reduced nourishment for the brain and nerves. This, in turn, results in low energy levels and unexplained weight gain. The principle of ‘use it or lose it’ holds true when it comes to preventing muscle atrophy.
7Poor posture destroys the musculoskeletal structure and other organs
Over time, poor posture has a detrimental effect on both the musculoskeletal structure and our organs. Unfortunately, many people fail to recognise the correlation between their changing posture and declining health, and even healthcare professionals may overlook its significance. While the effects of the posture epidemic may not evoke the same immediate fear as disease epidemics, its impact on our overall well-being can be equally severe.
Poor posture drains our energy and undermines the health of our joints. It also interferes with crucial systems such as our immune and circulatory systems. The consequences extend to weakened bones and a compromised ability to combat diseases like cancer and diabetes. Additionally, poor posture compresses our organs and disrupts hormone regulation, further compromising our resistance to illness.
Table of contents
- Introduction: What is Essentrics?
- Part I
- CHAPTER 1: The Balanced Body
- CHAPTER 2: Redefining Stretching
- CHAPTER 3: The Musculoskeletal Trifecta
- CHAPTER 4: The Poor Posture Epidemic
- Part II
- CHAPTER 5: Neuromuscular Techniques
- CHAPTER 6: Getting Started
- CHAPTER 7: The Warm-Up
- CHAPTER 8: The Essentrics Sequences
- CHAPTER 9: Essentrics Routines For Every Day
- CHAPTER 10: Conditioning for an Active Life
- CHAPTER 11: Routines for Sports
- CHAPTER 12: Routines For the Workplace
- CHAPTER 13: Routines For Chronic Pain
- CHAPTER 14: Routine for Better Posture
- Meet the models
- Acknowledgments and thanks
- About the author
Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
Offers customisable routines and targeted movements. The book provides detailed explanations for each movement, targeting various problems, including sports-related pain, workplace strain, and general issues in specific areas (e.g., back, shoulder, hips).
Suitable for different audiences: While particularly useful for individuals over 50 looking to improve balance and posture, the book also caters to athletes and individuals of all ages who seek exercises to address specific issues or enhance their overall well-being.
Visual Guidance: The book features photographs and illustrations that facilitate understanding and execution of the exercises. The bright lighting and clear visuals make it easy to follow along.
Wide range of demonstrations: The book showcases a diverse range of individuals, body sizes, and genders performing the exercises.
The book’s layout is not user-friendly enough. To enhance reader’s experience, it would be more beneficial to have each exercise’s steps fit on a single page. Additionally, the inclusion of concise one-page cheat sheets or lists summarising the movements once familiar with them would be helpful.
Quotes from ‘The Miracle of Flexibility’
“The human body is a marvel of engineering. When the bones of our skeleton are aligned, our joints move effortlessly because their designated ranges of motion are unobstructed. When our bones are out of alignment, however, our joints’ designated ranges of motion are blocked. I always use the example of a wedge jammed into a door joint, preventing the door from opening or closing easily. Obstruction inevitably leads to pain and structural damage.”
“The action of lifting the arms above the head stretches and strengthens all the muscles of the spine. Lifting the arms above the head helps reverse shrinking as people age, improves posture, slenderizes the waist, and reverses muscle atrophy.”
“Stretching can work only when you balance all the muscles of a joint. Muscle flexibility is the natural by-product of maximum range of motion. The opposite is not true: When an individual muscle is flexible, the full joint may still have limited range of motion. The greater the range of motion, the greater the muscle flexibility and strength.”
In ‘The Miracle of Flexibility,’ readers are presented with a transformative approach to fitness and well-being. Miranda Esmonde-White challenges the conventional belief that pain and intense workouts are necessary for progress, offering a groundbreaking technique rooted in gentle movement and a deep understanding of how our bodies are designed to function. Through the Essentrics program, she guides individuals of all ages and fitness levels towards increased flexibility, strength, and pain-free living. This book serves as a comprehensive resource, providing detailed explanations, targeted routines, and visual guidance to help readers address specific issues and achieve long-lasting results. By embracing the power of flexibility, this book offers a path towards rejuvenation, enhanced mobility, and a vibrant, active life at any stage.
Where to buy
You can buy ‘The Miracle of Flexibility: A Head-to-Toe Program to Increase Strength, Improve Mobility, and Become Pain Free’ on Amazon, where it’s currently available in hardcover and audio formats.
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