**This is a condensed version of The Eight Laws of Physical Health posted on the Egoscue University website.
THE EIGHT LAWS
I think we can all agree that the majority of laws are in place to protect us. When it comes to the body, we have laws in place as well. Eight of them, actually. Pete Egoscue talks about them in his book, Pain Free. Not only does he go in-depth about the Eight Laws, but gives you the Egoscue perspective on posture and pain. Egoscue’s laws are a great way to understand how everything in the body works together.
- VERTICAL LOADING: Gravity is necessary for health. In order for gravity to exert a positive and dynamic influence on the body, the skeleton must be vertically aligned in its posture.
- DYNAMIC TENSION: A state of constant tension exists between the front of the body and the back. The posterior portion is responsible for the erection of the body and the anterior is responsible for the flexion, or bending forward, of the body. Neither activity can be performed correctly and healthily without this action.
- FORM AND FUNCTION: Bones do what muscles tell them to do. All skeletal motion is initiated by muscular activity.
- BREATHING: The body will not function without oxygen. So essential is this law that the body has redundant systems to ensure compliance.
- MOTION: All of the body’s systems – digestive, circulatory, immune, and so one – are interrelated. The common thread that binds them together is movement. The faster the molecules of the body move, the higher the metabolic rate. The higher the metabolic rate, the healthier the human being. We are designed to run, jump, climb, fall, roll and skip, not just for initial development but for continued health throughout our lives. If these activities hurt or cause pain, it is because we are violating some or all of the laws of health.
- BALANCE: In order for the law of motion to be effective and true, the body must achieve balance, defined as muscle memory, sufficient to constantly return the body to the first law of vertical loading. For balance to occur, muscles must work in pairs and equally on the right and left sides of the body. Being left- or right-handed hinders this balance only when we violate the laws of motion.
- STIMULUS: The body reacts to all stimuli twenty-four hours a day, regardless of the conscious state of health. Therefore, the law of motion constantly reinforces this law of stimulus. If motion is limited, the law of stimulus becomes stressful to the body. The body absorbs pollutants and irritants rather than deflecting them.
- RENEWAL: The body is organic; therefore, it is in a constant state of growth and rebirth. Muscles, bones, nerves, connective tissues, cartilage, and the like are all alive. If the body is not renewing, it is because we are violating the laws of physical health. The more laws we violate, the faster we age and die.
Read through the Eight Laws then go look in the mirror. Simply by looking in the mirror, you’ll be able to determine if you are violating the laws of Vertical Loading, Dynamic Tension, Form and Function, Balance and Breathing. Does your body pass the eye-test? For those of you with digestive issues, immune issues or reproductive issues, you are in violation of the law of Motion. For those who have a difficult time recovering from injuries or sickness, you may be in violation of the laws of Stimulus and Renewal.
If you violate the laws you won’t get a written citation, but you will get a “warning” of a different kind. At first, the violations may present themselves as low energy or poor health. Maybe you “crash” every afternoon, or perhaps you’re sick a lot. Unfortunately, the longer you violate the laws, and the more laws you violate, the louder the “warning” gets. For those of you struggling with chronic pain, it’s because you are violating multiple laws. There’s a good chance you have violated the laws of Vertical Loading, Dynamic Tension, Motion, and Balance, just to name a few.
Which laws resonated most with you? Are there ones that you know you definitely violate? Which ones do you feel you’re doing a good job following? No matter where you are right now, the last law – Renewal – should be your focus. That’s the cool thing about the body. Just because you may be violating laws right now, doesn’t mean you will be forever. Your body can, and will change. You simply have to apply the proper Stimulus!