ELDOA is a myofascial stretch—designed to stretch and relax fascia, the tissue that surrounds and contains the muscles.
“I refer to ELDOA as the best thing you’ve never heard of,” says Dr. Mark Kemenosh, founder of Kemenosh and Associates Chiropractic. “It was invented by a brilliant doctor in France. It has quite a following throughout the world, but isn’t well known in south Jersey,” he says.
Created by Guy Voyer, DO, ELDOA is an acronym for the original French. It’s also known as LOADS, for the English translation: Longitudinal Osteo-Articular Decoaptation Stretching. Decoaptation is the keyword, a medical term describing stretching and separating tissue.
“I use it on myself quite often. If I ever experience hip or back pain, ELDOA is my go-to. More often than not, after a few minutes of ELDOA work, the pain is gone,”Dr. Mark says.
Dr. Mark explains that it’s almost like yoga, a series of very specific and carefully choreographed positions. Unlike traditional stretches that target muscle fibers, ELDOA actually stretches the fascia. The regimen includes positions that target specific vertebra of the spine, the sacrum, pelvis, shoulders and skull.
“Each position is held for 30 to 60 seconds. It’s a great way to maintain the integrity of the fascia and break up knots and scar tissue, in only a few minutes each day,” he says. We also have compelling evidence that it can increase blood flow, hydrating discs to relieve compression. It can reduce tension, inflammation and pain, increase flexibility, improve muscle tone and encourage healing after injury.
But there’s a catch; it’s tricky to teach yourself the proper technique. The positions are so specific that subtle changes can decrease their effectiveness. You won’t hurt yourself if you do it wrong, of course, but you won’t get the full benefit.
“There are lots of videos online, but I don’t recommend learning ELDOA that way. Without somebody to show you, you’re really only doing it halfway,” he says.
ELDOA also complements ART—Active Release Techniques—the chiropractic technique Dr. Mark and his team use most frequently. “They both target fascia health, so they really go hand-in-glove. I don’t use ELDOA on every patient, but it can go a long way in some circumstances,” he says.
To learn more, ask Dr. Mark. He can show you the stretches that meet your needs and help you learn them correctly in Mt. Laurel and in the Ocean City, N.J. area. Dr. Mark’s daughter, Jillian, is also ELDOA trained and uses it in her Framework Bodies Pilates studio, also in Mt. Laurel.