EssentricsⓇ is a low-impact workout that mobilizes all your muscles, releases your joints, and improves your flexibility and strength. Dynamic and easy to follow—this full-body technique works through all of your muscle chains in order to liberate, empower and relieve them from tension, making you feel more energetic and pain-free.
The first signs of chronic pain surfaced in my late 30s/early 40s. First, little aches and pains became part of my morning routine. It would take a hot shower and moving around for an hour or so for the pain to dissipate. Over the next few years, the pain intensified and stayed with me longer during the day. I noticed that I was moving more slowly up and down the stairs and many other daily activities. I felt young mentally but my body felt like it was slowing down.
A New Approach
A couple of years ago, while channel surfing I came across a program called Aging Backwards 2 during a PBS fundraising event. Miranda Esmonde-White, the founder of EssentricsⓇ, was describing her program as a full-body connective tissue workout that can reverse the signs of aging in 20-30 minutes a day.
The program caught my attention because I learned that Esmonde-White was almost 70, a former professional ballet dancer who moved like she was 30. Having taken ballet classes through high school, I was very aware of how hard the discipline is on the body. I had seen many former ballet dancers in their later years, struggling with the injuries and permanent damage from the physical load of their profession. My inner skeptic said “I have heard this before,” but curiosity got the best of me and I continued to watch. After watching the special, I rushed to order the materials.
The 5-workout DVD set arrived in February. With the cold weather looming, I made a commitment to do the 30-minute workouts every day for 2 weeks. Like most of us, I find the start of a fitness routine challenging. It takes time to really internalize the routine. This time proved to be the exception. These 30-minute workouts were exactly what my body needed. It was the antithesis of pretty much every fitness method I had ever tried, and I have tried just about everything.
It was easy but challenging. Although I felt like I was working hard, my energy improved and my body felt lighter after finishing the workout. She told me to make sure to move but not through the pain, instead stop just before I feel the pain. I followed her suggestion and found that each day the movements got easier, I could stretch a little further and the pain lessened.
Instead of struggling to remember to do the workout, I couldn’t wait to get to it each day. Then, something amazing happened, during the second week I was doing some heel raisers in my workout and I heard a loud pop. It didn’t hurt but I thought something might have happened. Something definitely happened. The chronic pain I had experienced over the past 5 or so years in my leg vanished. It literally stopped.
My commitment to EssentricsⓇ was ignited. I did the workout every day and noticed less dramatic but continuing changes in my body. As the months passed I would skip a day or two but always returned because by the third day the niggling pains surfaced again. My visits to the chiropractor came to standstill. Something profound was happening to my body with this seemingly simple technique.
Relatively quickly, I noticed that I started bounding up and down the stairs again. I had a new “pep” in my step. I was pretty much “pain-free.” Perhaps more importantly, when I injured myself I discovered that gentle EssentricsⓇ exercise provides quick pain relief. From twisting an ankle to pain in my ribs from a cough due to the flu, gentle movement resolves the pain and speeds recovery.
The Connective Tissue “Connection”
The next step was to learn more about it. I began to research. I had not heard much about connective tissue but I had a sense that it was an important part of the story. Medical science is just beginning to understand the form and function of connective tissue in the human body. It is a structure of cells, fluid, and fiber that form a matrix that supports the other tissues of the body. It is literally everywhere!
Connective tissue allows for smooth movement by reducing friction and wear and tear on our bones and joints. As we age or are injured, our connective tissue hardens making us feel “stiff.” In order to heal our connective tissue we have to move, the stress hydrates and creates more elasticity in the matrix.
EssentricsⓇ was and continues to be scientifically designed based on cutting-edge research in the field of fitness and medicine. It was developed to simultaneously strengthen, stretch and rebalance all of the joints, muscles, and connective tissue in your body. The slow, flowing, deliberate eccentric movements seem simple but they have a powerful impact on the body, reversing the effects of injury, gravity, and aging.
Everyone I know who has committed to EssentricsⓇ has experienced these types of changes in their bodies in some form or another. Personally, I feel as if I am working backward through my old injuries, healing the scar tissue cell by cell.
My Next Step
From there it was a small step for me to decide to start the training to become an EssentricsⓇ instructor so that I can share this knowledge with others.
One year later, I can honestly say that I could not be more pleased that I decided to do the deep dive into the method. I am an explorer. I am willing to try just about anything. Generally, most of the things I try promise more than they actually deliver. It all sounds great in the beginning but once I take a deeper look there is less substance than I anticipated.
My journey with EssentricsⓇ has been a refreshing change. The more I learn the more I am impressed with the depth of research and substance of this program. The team has made a commitment to keep the technique fresh and relevant by incorporating the latest scientific discoveries into the method. There is still so much that we do not know about the human body and its optimal functioning but our team is monitoring and adapting to new information.
The thing I love most about EssentricsⓇ is that the technique is literally for every age and “every body.” This is a one-size-fits-all fitness program, where each individual is in charge of their own experience under the guidance of an instructor. We encourage everyone to move within their own range of motion and level of comfort. And there is no “moving through the pain,” we encourage working in the pain-free zone even if the movement is tiny. These differences help our students experience rapid and long-lasting results.
Since I started my instructor training and have been able to give her more personalized instruction, my 80+ year-old mother is doing an EssentricsⓇ workout almost every day on her own, while taking an occasional class from me. It is a joy to be able to share this with her.
I wish I had known about EssentricsⓇ in my 20s. If I had I would not have experienced the pain and stiffness I had in my 40s. At 56 my body feels younger than it has in a couple of decades. Most of us are so busy running at a break-neck pace that we lose touch with the wisdom of our bodies. Essentrics® develops greater “body awareness.” Without that, we are rarely able to truly attend to the need for self-care.
Being intimately attuned to the rhythm of my body has been invaluable over the last year when there have been so many challenges and distractions in our lives. Attaching our mind to the movements of our body is an important part of the technique. The flow of EssentricsⓇ workouts also provides the variety, challenge, and novelty to help maintain mental plasticity. At the end of the day, fitness is not a number on a scale or a dress size. It is measured by our ability to do all of the things we want to do with ease and grace. Essentrics® has and will continue to be a tool that frees me to share my gifts with the world for the rest of my life.
I am so excited to be able to share these insights with others. If you have not already done so, take a look at our website essentrics.com to learn more about the history and offerings available. EsssentricsTV is a subscription service that has hundreds of workouts. You can find Essentrics® classes under the name Classical Stretch® on CreateTV by PBS in addition to the web classes. Classical Stretch® classes have been shared on PBS since 1999. These 23-minute workouts are the perfect entry point for many and a compliment to live classes.
You can also take your fitness to the next level with some personalized Essentrics® instruction. The feedback you’ll receive will help you find the alignment and techniques to boost your results. For more details on how we can work together to achieve your fitness objectives, find me on my website.
Creating new habits requires making choices that align with your objectives. Like most of us, I find the start of a fitness routine challenging. It takes time to really internalize the routine. Nothing is more powerful than community to motivate commitment to change. We are committed to providing an inclusive fitness experience for people from all walks of life. When we find ease in our bodies, it ripples into our emotional, mental and spiritual lives.
Frequently asked questions about Essentrics®.
The Essentrics® technique draws on the flowing movements of tai chi which support health and balance, the strengthening theories behind ballet which develop long, lean, flexible muscles and the healing principles of physiotherapy which create a pain-free body.
For more detailed information, please visit the Essentrics® website.
February 16, 2018
Mylee Chrvat, PhD.Psychology Today Jan 7,2019
North American Menopause Society
Fitness after 40: Building the right workout for a better body
Fitness tips for menopause: Why fitness counts
Barbara Sternfeld, PhD, and Sheila Dugan, MD
Physical Activity and Health During the Menopausal Transition