ELDOA: A 70's exercise creating space between joints

ELDOA: A 70's exercise creating space between joints. / Source: Kathryn Daniel

If you're standing or sitting, your spine is compressing. For some, that can lead to debilitating pain, which often ends with prescriptions or in extreme cases, back surgery.

A local fitness trainer wanted to avoid both for herself and her clients. She found relief in a European based exercise most Americans don't know about.

On the surface, it looks a little like a yoga class, but it's ELDOA. Holistic lifestyle coach Emily Morgan said, "In English it translates to Longitudinal Osteo-Articular Decoaptation Stretching".

Morgan expanded, "In the short of it, it means "to create space." Morgan further explained that ELDOA helps create space between joints. "A lot of people have pain and most of that pain comes from compression when two bones are pushing against each other it causes pain."

Pain is a topic that Morgan knows a lot about. When she was thirteen, the fitness expert she was diagnosed with scoliosis. It didn't stop her from playing collegiate soccer and becoming a personal trainer.

Major hip pain eventually caught up with Morgan. She finally found ELDOA after fifteen years of trying many other methods and doing a lot of research.

ELDOA is not new. French Doctor developed it in the 1970's, but certified instructors and organized classes are found mostly in major cities.

Morgan traveled ten hours to get to her first session, and that was just to give it a try. The trip was worth her while. She smiled remembering, "I felt four inches taller when I left and just felt amazing. You create so much space and so much blood flow and so much energy because you've worked so hard." The ELDOA method applies very focused, intense and controlled micro-movements to reset the spine and other joints. Morgan said that while the approach may look simple and effortless, it's very taxing and exhausting, but worth it for its effectiveness.

Cydi Jolly is a retired mail carrier. She said, "It's a difficult stretch, but it's not painful." Jolly was in a tremendous amount of hand pain. She said she had swollen knuckles and gnarled fingers.

She's been doing ELDOA for two years under the guidance of Morgan. "The arthritis in my hands is just, it's like it's falling away, like the rust is coming off." Jolly felt so much better she decided to get certified to teach the method. She said she is on track to teach by this coming summer. She laughed and added, "I can stretch my hands out, I can do jazz hands."

Shane Bissell weight trains and didn't think ELDOA would do anything for him, but intense hip pain and his friend Morgan convinced him to give the approach a try. He said, "After the first two weeks and then pain started to melt away." Bissell says he feels taller, stronger and his strength training is more effective after a session.

Morgan said ELDOA is suitable for all fitness levels and ages. Her clients range from seven to 97. There is one catch to the method, Morgan emphasized that clients need to keep doing it to stay pain free. She said she found that out the hard way, but has discovered that for her pain management needs, practicing it once a week works well.

Morgan said she loves sharing it with her friend and clients. "This is the one thing that I've found that works for me that I can do by myself. I don't have to go anywhere to do it that gets me out of pain."

For more on local ELDOA classes, head to

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