Back Pain is a big thing for a lot of us, and a dammed good stretch can help – both physically and mentally (and there are good psychological reasons behind the latter).

So, this is a practical simple book about stretching, and ideal for anyone with back pain – or other conditions – who needs some stretching guidance.

It raises an interesting question around Yoga v Stretching.  Is there a difference?  Undeniably yes – although there is a media perception that Yoga and stretching are synonymous, in reality stretching is only part of the physical practice of Yoga Asana, and in turn Asana is only one of the classic Patanjalian Eight Limbs.  On a more practical level, anyone thinking stretching is going to cure their bad back, let alone a book on stretching, is in for a shock – you would need a mixture of stretching and strengthening for long term results, plus, in most cases a professional eye as well.

However, those limitations aside, and back to this book, for back flare ups targeted stretching can provide a lot of immediate relief and there is some useful guidance in here.

There is also some not so useful guidance in this book, such as the eyebrow raising idea that its a good idea to stretch ligaments in the ankle to prevent injury – almost certainly its not, as the ankle needs stability not flexibility.  The section on warm ups is a little strange, extolling the benefits of “group a” and “group b” stretches without defining them – did the editor not read the book?  At the end, a section on “further resources” is both limited by the authors bias, and restricted geographically – recommendations to massage therapists on New York City are somewhat irrelevant world wide!

This could have been a good book, but its sloppiness detracts from its benefits.  For a yoga teacher or skilled practitioner, theres probably some useful ideas in here, but don’t rely on it as your only source of advice.

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