My Egoscue Experience: An Honest Review

[June 2017 update: Psst, hey! Did you know I just updated my review of the Egoscue Method? It’s been three years since this post—I figured it was time for an update! Check it out here. – Lindsey]

You’ll probably hear me mention this word a lot going forward, and might start to wonder:

“What the heck is Ego-skew?”

I’m glad you asked, because asking is what led me down the path to using it as a viable form of scoliosis healing.

First off, a little help with the pronunciation: “Eh-goss-cue,” named after its creator, Pete Egoscue. I won’t even try to give you the history of it, since you can read about Pete and his Egoscue Method here on the official site. I will, however, give you an honest, real evaluation of my experience using the Egoscue Method for scoliosis healing and management.

First, A *GASP* Real Photo

This is what happens when I did my Egoscue exercises (my “E-cises,” as they’re called) and another Egoscue therapy called “The Tower” (sounds more intense than it is) every day for about 25 days straight. The first photo was taken on Day 1, and the second was taken on Day 25:

Day 1.

Day 25.

Sadly, my choice in sleepwear did not improve as much as my spine over the 25 days.

So, was I straight by Day 25? No. But look carefully at the curvature that’s most obvious in the middle of my back, and know that that particular curve is the one that’s causing my rib cage to dig into my lungs and prevent me from inhaling a full breath when my scoliosis is “acting up,” and consider the difference between the two pictures. That’s a HUGE improvement, to be able to take a full breath without feeling constricted!

Also, not pictured: The shooting pain in my lower back (left side, closest to my spine) was gone, my legs were almost totally even in their length, my right shoulder blade didn’t “stick out” and vault my right side off of chairs I was sitting in, and I wasn’t fidgeting and tossing in bed every night, trying to find a comfortable angle.

And this leads me to my first honest evaluation about Egoscue:

1) It Does Not Claim to Heal You Immediately

Really, would you trust it if it did? Wonderfully enough, though, I have found that I have significantly improved my scoliosis symptoms (and, I believe, even their causes) when I consistently followed my Egoscue “menu,” (what a “set” of E-cises are called) and I’ve found that coupling my E-cises with the Egoscue Tower therapy can provide results even faster. But those menus and the Tower therapy bring their own unique challenges, too. Like:

2) You Will Look Like A Weirdo Doing The E-Cises

The E-cises vary depending on what your body needs, but generally, they’re pretty goofy looking, no lie.

But if you’re on the right track with your menu and your Egoscue therapist is really helping you address the scoliosis symptoms and their causes that are plaguing you, you’ll quickly figure out that doing these weird-looking movements is worth it.

3) The Menu Takes Time to Complete Every Day

…and you can get frustrated with this Gigantic Black Hole of Time in your everyday schedule and quit doing the E-cises, unless you’re communicative with your Egoscue therapist and tell them your time constraints. At one point early on in my Egoscue therapy, I had a menu that took me 2 hours (!) to complete. Not surprisingly, I was not consistent with doing it every day. Now my therapist is careful to create a menu for me that only takes about 30 minutes to complete, and it’s much more manageable for my schedule.

4) Doing the Menu Every Day Can Get Boring

…but I’ve found the best way to combat this is to listen to podcasts. I like to use my Egoscue time as sort of a quiet/learning time with God, so I’m partial to listening to Christian-themed podcasts (Ravi Zacharias’ “Just Thinking” or “Let My People Think,” Timothy Keller’s sermons, Dallas Theological Seminary’s “The Table,” or Texas A&M’s Breakaway Ministries are all favorites), but obviously there are thousands of other amazing podcasts or great music to listen to, so find a topic you’re interested in and look for podcasts around that topic, and learn some stuff! Maybe even learn a language?

5) The Prescribed Equipment Can Be Cumbersome to Travel With

…but you can also improvise with common household items and furniture, or even better, tell your therapist that you’re traveling, and let them come up with a modified menu for you to follow while you’re traveling.

6) It Can Be Expensive, Unless…

At the Egoscue clinic that I visit in Austin, you buy a “package” of 8 sessions, which can run a little over $1,000/package, with the 8 sessions spread out over weeks and/or months, as you and your Egoscue therapist deem fit. You might come in once a month, you might come in once every 2 weeks, you might come in every 6 weeks—it just depends on your needs.

If you are unable to pay for the treatment, don’t despair…

Apparently, Egoscue clinics follow a general rule: They never turn away someone who is in pain, even if that person’s financial situation isn’t great.

In addition, I know that (at least) the clinic in Austin is able to lead clients through sessions via Skype for those who live far away or are, for whatever reason, unable to make it to the clinic. So there’s no reason not to try them if you’re curious!

7) Frustration and Even Anger Can Creep Up and Get the Best of You If You’re Not Careful

It happens; at some point you begin to think, “Why me? Why can’t I just wake up like a normal person and go about my day, never having to worry about whether or not I’ve done these silly exercises? Why do I even have this condition, and why aren’t more people trying to figure out why it happens, and how to cure it? How is this fair?”

When those frustrated feelings begin to creep in, it’s important to catch yourself and count your blessings instead.

Instead of, “Why me? Why this condition?” I try to feel thankful that it’s only this condition and not something else.

Instead of, “Why should I have to worry about doing these exercises every day, instead of getting to be normal and not having to worry about a messed up spine?” I try to remind myself how lucky I am that I have a condition that can be managed, and that I do have some level of control over it.

This is cliche, but I’ve noticed that it’s absolutely true in my life: When I allowed despair, anger and frustration to creep in and rile me up, I stopped doing my Egoscue (a ridiculous “I’LL SHOW THIS CONDITION!” attitude), my breathing was shallower, my muscles tensed up, I slept less, etc. Getting mad at my condition made it worse, and even stopped me from doing all the things I know can help improve and heal it.

I’ll say it more plainly:

If you want to get better, stop complaining and start doing the things you know you should do instead. Stay relaxed, get happy, sleep enough, and do your Egoscue (or whatever method of healing you’ve chosen) consistently.

Anger does nothing except make sure that you stay right where you are.

When you remember why you’re doing Egoscue (for your scoliosis condition), you can get angry that you have to do it, or you can be thankful that you can do it. I’m always trying to choose the latter.

So far, my review has sounded negative, yet here are the awesome qualities about Egoscue!

8) There Is An Atmosphere of Hope, Feasible Possibilities, Collaboration, Empowerment and Learning

Obviously, this can vary from clinic to clinic, but in general I think the kind of people who would desire to become Egoscue therapists are the kind who see possibilities for change, are willing to think outside the box, and are passionate about what they do, which in turn makes you feel empowered over a condition that otherwise feels hopeless, and encourages you to become an informed collaborator with your therapist as you reach toward your wellness goals.

9) It’s Amazing to Go From Feeling Awful and Discouraged to Feeling Better and Encouraged In A Short Period of Time

Sometimes I feel better and my symptoms are alleviated in just one clinic session, or sometimes I have to do a week’s worth of my prescribed E-cises at home after my last clinic session, but regardless, I can’t think of a time when an Egoscue menu didn’t help me, even when I had to keep doing it every day for my body to pick up on the changes I was asking it to make.

10) The E-Cises Can Be Modified for Your Needs and Abilities

The E-Cise asks you to remain propped up on one hand for the movement, but you have weak arms? There’s a modification for that. You can’t stand on one leg? There’s a modification for that. You can only do about 10 of the 25 reps for a move? Slow down, take your time. Egoscue isn’t about forcing your way through something, or straining anything, or of being the right age, weight, strength, etc. I’ve seen young kids in the Egoscue clinic I visit, and I’ve seen very frail elderly people. It’s tailored for everyone, and what’s hard for you is easy for someone else, and vice versa.

So don’t be concerned that maybe you couldn’t do it. Give it a try, and see what your therapist can work out with you!

11) And Finally, This Is Just Speaking From My Experience, But—It Works

Again, I’m not being paid by Egoscue in any way to say any of this, but as just a happy client, I feel the need to let others know about this treatment, because it’s working well for me, and I think it could help others, too. If trying it can save you an expensive surgery that might not actually help in the long run, then I’m happy, because it has helped me, too. Give it a try, and see if it can work for you as well as it has worked for me!

Have any questions about the treatment? (Egoscue is used to help treat all kinds of chronic pains, by the way, not just scoliosis!) Shoot me a question in the comments. I’d love to talk with you!

His and yours,

Lindsey

[P.S. Don’t forget about my updated review—you can see it here.]

SaveSave

SaveSave

27 Comments on “My Egoscue Experience: An Honest Review

  1. Found your review refreshingly honest and informative! I am very interested in learning more about the Egoscue Method.

    I am a newly minted senior and live in a suburb of Vancouver, B.C. I have enjoyed a fairly active lifestyle and find that (in spite of surgery) my lung function is gradually affecting my ability to do some of the things I enjoy.

    I am not aware of any clinics in Canada, and would not want to go anywhere without a reference anyway. Would you consider emailing me so we could discuss a few questions I have about this method?

    Linda

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes, I would be fine with answering more of your questions! And if I can’t answer something (as I am not a Egoscue therapist, just an Egoscue patient), I can put you in contact with one of my therapists–who could also probably recommend someone to you if you choose to pursue this therapy, by the way!

      I believe that as a moderator, I am able to see your e-mail address. For your privacy, I won’t repeat it here, but did you include it when you posted your comment? If yes, I’ll contact you there!

  2. Pingback: Why I’m Getting Certified in Egoscue, and Why You Should Get Certified in Your Chosen Alternative Method, Too |

  3. Pingback: 4 Ways to Support a Loved One Who Has Scoliosis |

  4. Wonderful. I’ve been practicing Egoscue for nearly 3 years and I can agree that it is a roller-coaster. At the moment I’m in a little “dip” and my therapists are working recovery menus with me to get through. We’ve realized that this is because as my body changes, so will the symptoms. But your article and Pete’s latest book really helped me to see the bigger picture. God bless you Lindsey.

    • Hey Steve, I really appreciate your comment!

      Yep, I’ve been through those times, too. For me, my body finds new ways to fight against the straight-ness of my spine, and will create crazy new curves to compensate for the problem it thinks my spine has (namely, being straight). So you’re not alone!

      I will say that after 5 years of practicing Egoscue, my body seems to be holding the correct posture >much< better, and is also responding much more quickly to the e-cises. I'm hoping this means that my body is actually starting to relearn how to correctly hold itself, but like you said, it can be a rollercoaster, so I'm just taking it as it comes and not getting too stressed about it all :). Glad the post helped, and I hope you'll check out the rest of the blog!

  5. Pingback: Scoliosis and Natural Movement: What Does Katy Say(s)? | Young, Wild and Pain-Free

  6. Thanks so much for taking the time to review Egoscue Lindsey. My orthopedic specialist has recommended that I do it but I was worried about spending that amount of money on something I didn’t know much about. Your review has definitely helped to allay some of those fears.

    • Yay! Glad to help, Kat! Please feel free to ask me any further questions you might have. I’m encouraged to hear that this method is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves from orthopedic specialists. I know not everyone can avoid surgery, but if at all possible (and under the guidance of a health professional), I think surgery should be the last option instead of the first, for most pain symptoms.

      Thanks for commenting!

  7. Thank you for an honest review. I imagine that some therapists are better than others. How can I chose a therapist?

    • Hey Dora!

      Honestly, I can’t say for certain what would or wouldn’t make for a good Egoscue therapist. A therapist who holds both their PAS certification and AET certification will have more experience and a greater depth of knowledge than a therapist who only has their PAS certification, but that’s not to say that a PAS-certified therapist wouldn’t also be a great choice.

      Ultimately, you and your therapist should be able to develop a trusting relationship, wherein the therapist can trust that you’re listening to your body and how it reacts to the e-cises and voicing your interpretations and concerns, and you should feel comfortable that your therapist is listening to you and suggesting good strategies and explanations. Egoscue therapists are trained to listen to their clients, and to help clients learn to listen to their own bodies. The client is really directing the whole healing process–they’re just utilizing the therapist’s knowledge as a way to achieve their health goals, in a sense.

      You can find Egoscue clinics here: http://www.egoscue.com/locations
      You can also find Egoscue practitioners here: http://www.egoscue.com/certified-practitioners

      The only difference between a clinic and a practitioner is that the practitioner doesn’t hold an official license to be a full-on Egoscue Clinic. Maybe these people are yoga instructors, or massage therapists, or some kind of other physical therapist, etc. But they’ve still gone through the training, and are still perfectly capable of helping you :).

      Hope that helps! Thanks for commenting!

  8. Dear Lindsey,

    What a thoughtful loving writeup this is. I really appreciate it.
    Renee

  9. Thank you for taking the time to post this. I have been in chronic back pain for three years and am looking for hope. I feel encouraged by reading your comments and I am looking forward to giving it a try.

    • Hi Matthew,

      I’m so glad you found this post! I would absolutely recommend that you look into Egoscue. If you’d like more information before calling a therapist to see about an appointment, I would suggest that you check out Pete Egoscue’s (the creator of the Egoscue Method) book, “Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain.” Looks like you can buy it used on Amazon for like $2. It’s written in a very casual but informative manner, with lots of personal anecdotes from Pete himself about patient success stories he’s had over the years (he’s been working with clients since 1978!) which I found to be really encouraging. *Note that I don’t make any money if you buy the book–I just really think it could help you, so I’m passing the info along.

      It’ll tell you exactly how and why Egoscue works, and will also give you some sample e-cises you can try at home. These e-cises are good, but working with a therapist who will focus on your individual needs will be where you see the best results, so I’d suggest that you use the book as a primer and resource, but not necessarily as the antidote to solving your chronic pain.

      If you try Egoscue out and find that it helps you (and you remember me), I hope you’ll be back to comment on how things are going! Thanks for commenting!

  10. Hi there

    I was wondering if you are still doing the egoscue method. How long did you do it and what were your end results ? I just started this week 🙂

    Shelby

    • Hey Shelby,

      Yes, I continue to do my Egoscue e-cises every day! Since my condition (scoliosis) is an incurable one, I can’t give a definitive answer to what my “results” are, since there will never be an end to my treatment. But as an update: Yes! I’ve been doing Egoscue for almost 6 years to manage my pain and scoliosis, and it’s still working for me :).

      What I define as “working for me” is this: I’m no longer visibly lopsided (as a scoliotic, things like my shoulders and hips can be visibly higher than one another, and my ribs can stick out more prominently on one side, or one kneecap can be more turned out or in, etc.), I have no difficulties breathing, and best of all–no chronic pain!

      If I were to get an x-ray, I’m sure I’d still see curves–I genuinely don’t believe those will ever go away, short of me getting the surgery, which I don’t want to do–but honestly, if I can breathe, I don’t feel self-conscious about my appearance, I’m not in any pain, my curves aren’t progressing, and no doctors are warning me that my internal organs are affected somehow, then I don’t feel I need to be worried about curves existing in my spine. I continue to monitor it, but for now, I’m happy with where I am :).

      I’m not sure why you started Egoscue, but if I could go back and give myself one piece of advice when I was just starting out (like you), it would be to absolutely do it every day. It took me a long time to establish the habit, because I really didn’t want to set aside the time every day, but once I did, it made all the difference, and I regretted that I hadn’t formed the habit sooner. So stick with it, and when you don’t feel like doing it, say to yourself, “I don’t haveto do this. I getto do this.” After I realized that not every scoliotic could benefit as much from Egoscue as I could, I started seeing my Egoscue regimen as a privilege, not a burden, so I hope that helps you too, in those “unmotivated” moments :).

      Good luck, and thank you for commenting!

  11. Pingback: Buy WordPress Hosting In Hauck |

  12. I’m glad I saw your post. I also have scoliosis in the lumbar section of my back. I have do not feel any pain yet, but I know that the curvature will get worse over time. Interestingly, I do feel that I’m having breathing problems just like you. Each year when I get my blood work done, I notice that my CO2 level keeps on getting higher. And I think it is because I am now breathing shallow. I had my neck examined and I found out I have neck atrophy (which probably also contributes to my breathing problem). Aside from the neck, I do feel that there is something in my torso that is not right, and is creating the problem with my breathing. And yes, I have also thought that maybe it was being caused by the curvature of my spine. The next test my MD wants me to get is a brain scan and see a neurologist, but I’m afraid I got too many SCANS and XRays over the years already- that’s why I started looking for alternatives. I ran across the Egoscue method, bought the book, and was planning to start doing the exercises for Condition I (although not completely sure of my Egoscue diagnosis) and then go from there. Did you try the exercises in the book before going to a clinic? I would also like to see an Egoscue specialist when my budget allows (will check if anyone in the area). But how do you know if the practicioner is a good one? Maybe your trainer can refer me to one.

    • Hey Carol,

      I’m not a doctor, and though I’m about to finish up my Postural Alignment Specialist 1 certification in the Egoscue Method (so excited!), I still won’t even attempt to diagnose or treat over the internet ;), but–just speaking from personal experience here–it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that “something in [your] torso]” is maybe your shoulders rounding forward on one side, making it difficult for your lungs to expand.

      Try this: Go stand against a flat wall–with no pictures or windows–with the backs of your heels against the wall. Just stand normally. Sounds like you’ve got some serious cervical flexion (ie., your neck rounds forward a lot), so likely the back of your head won’t touch the wall unless you force it (don’t!), but pay attention to your hips and shoulders here. Feel those two bony protrusions at the back of your pelvis, near your spine? Those are your posterior superior iliac spines (PSISes). Are those touching the wall? Or is one totally off the wall, and maybe the other is pressing into the wall? Are they both off the wall?

      Now pay attention to your shoulder blades. Is one against the wall, and the other totally forward and off the wall, too? Or both totally off the wall?

      (Again, don’t force any parts to touch the wall. You’re just observing here! What does your body naturally do?)

      There’s a lot of ways for scoliosis to manifest itself, so in your case, maybe both hips and both shoulder blades touch the wall, no problem. But if one or both of those anatomical features are twisting off the wall, in my personal experience, I found that that the “twisting” in my torso (caused by my right shoulder and right hip wanting to round forward) caused my entire ribcage to twist, which pushed my ribcage into my lungs, making it harder for me to breathe.

      Not trying to scare you with that, just sharing that to hopefully get your thoughts rolling like a good detective. No part of our body acts on its own: it’s all part of one long kinetic chain. As you’ll learn as you read Egoscue’s book, “The site of pain is rarely the site of dysfunction.” Your neck is bothering you? Does the neck and all its joints and muscles work in isolation, or do they depend on all the joints and muscles below them to work properly, too?

      Of course, your neck needs all the muscles and joints below it functioning and aligned properly, in order to work properly. Once you start observing deviations and dysfunctions in your alignment, you can start guessing (yes, guessing is OK!) exactly how one deviation is related to/caused by another, and how that might be contributing to your pain in another, seemingly unrelated area.

      Going back to your breathing and neck problems: Again, I won’t attempt to diagnose you without seeing and working with you, but I would be really surprised if your breathing, neck and scoliosis issues weren’t all interrelated, so I’m glad to hear you’re exploring Egoscue to help you with these issues.

      A good therapist will be one who listens–really listens–to your problems and concerns, and is your guide, not your guru. A good Egoscue therapist believes that the client knows their body even better than they do, so they listen closely to your feedback at all stages of your appointment. They help you listen to your body better, and will educate you on what they’re doing and why. The ultimate goal is for you, the client, to become the driver and champion of your own health, with your therapist cheering and guiding you on from the sidelines, like a good coach.

      And a couple of really nice things about Egoscue, given your situation:

      1) They will never turn someone away who is in pain because the patient can’t afford treatment (they will help you with the financial aspect, so don’t let budget constraints hold you back from contacting them), and–
      2) Most therapists can do Skype sessions from anywhere, and those work surprisingly well.

      I just did a session via Skype two days ago, and I felt as good after that appointment as I do when I go in for an in-person session.

      I’m not sure where you live, so I’ll make two suggestions for how to find a therapist:

      1) Call the Egoscue University in San Diego. Tell them you would like a referral for a therapist, and indicate if you would prefer to see the therapist in-person or via Skype. I’m sure they’ll be able to connect you with someone. (Maybe mention that you might need to work with a therapist who can provide some financial flexibility.)

      2) I’ve been going to the Egoscue Clinic of Austin ever since the beginning of my Egoscue journey, and they’re all fantastic people. Rick and Theresa Mathes are the co-owners, and they’ve been doing Egoscue and providing therapy for over 15 years, and their small staff are all personally trained by them, so you can’t go wrong with Egoscue Austin :). And yes, they offer Skype sessions!

      (Btw, I’m not compensated in any way for recommending them–I just genuinely like and believe in them.)

      And finally, I didn’t work through the e-cises provided in the book before going in–my situation was such that I couldn’t fathom waiting any longer to get relief, so I wanted to get in ASAP–but those are a great intro to the e-cises and philosophy of Egoscue. They’re also a great way to observe, “Does my body really change after doing these e-cises? In what way? Can I verbalize to myself exactly where and how I’m feeling changes, good or bad?” Use this time to learn how to pay attention to what your body is saying, and when you do start working with a therapist, it’ll help you a lot.

      This response was a blog post unto itself, but I hope it helps you! Please feel free to ask any more questions you might have–I love taking questions–and if you’d like, check out the Facebook group I created specifically for adults with scoliosis: Alternative Scoliosis Treatment Support

  13. I just called the Austin clinic and booked an appointment. Your review was one of the deciding factors. I purchased the book but realize I need some one-on-one. After years of running with obvious poor form, I have screwed up my knee to the point the orthopedic surgeon suggested my next step will be a knee replacement. That’s not even option in my mind. So I’m going to check out this avenue. thank you for your honest review!

    • Ah, Angy, you seriously made my day! Thank you for commenting with this! That’s exactly what I hoped this post would do for people who are looking for answers about Egoscue: Give them a clearer perspective about whether Egoscue will help them for their condition or not, and empower them to make their own choices about their health.

      And just to maybe encourage you a bit more, here’s a post from Posture4Life about an Egoscue client who was supposedly headed for a knee replacement, but “miraculously” regrew the cartilage and was fine, after working with–guess who?–the Austin Egoscue Clinic! Read about it here.

      Obviously, I’m not claiming you’ll have the same results, but just sharing what another person, with a similar condition, was able to achieve through Egoscue. I hope you have similar success!

      I hope you comment back again in a few months, and let me know how you’re doing. Best of luck to you, and congratulations on taking the first step! 🙂

  14. Pingback: Announcing a New Series! | Young, Wild and Pain-Free

  15. Pingback: (2017) Egoscue Method for Scoliosis – My Review | Young, Wild and Pain-Free

  16. While I am sad you have the issues that you do and only wish you the best.
    I have used this method for years , encouraged by my trainer , never had an issue until I stopped my practice.
    I have had numerious orthopedic surgeries, including a hip replacement, ACL,multiple surgeries on my shoulders and 3 back surgeies inckuding a fusion.
    I am also a healthcare provider.
    Hopefully you will find a method of streching that will relieve your discomfort!!

    • Hi Ann,

      So sorry to hear all the pains and troubles you’ve had. I certainly empathize with the feeling–when I stop doing my Egoscue practice regularly, things begin to creep up on me again! Thankfully, the severity of my symptoms has greatly diminished over the years, and I can go for longer periods of time with less and less negative effects, but, of course, I’m conscious of the fact that I’m not “cured” of my scoliosis, and likely never will be, until science has an answer as to why scoliosis happens in the first place.

      Have you thought about getting back into the practice?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *