Physician Assistant D. Martin sent us this message on Monday, December 17, 2007, at 4:09 pm:
Dear Dr. Christman:
Although it is long, I ask that you post my testimonial in its entirety, as I believe my entire experience will benefit people:
My problems began at age 37. Although I haven't had great posture throughout my life and admittedly did have head forward posture, I never experienced any suffering until I had a harsh chiropractic adjustment (Gonstead Method) in August 2005. This resulted in a minimal bulge of the C4-C5 and C5-C6 disks. I went to the chiropractor for relief of migraine headache and left with an even worse problem.
Before the chiropractic adjustment, I didn't have any neck pain or radiculopathy symptoms. The adjustment caused cervical radiculopathy which expressed itself as parasthesias of both hands. The worst part was waking up every morning with my hands feeling "asleep". There was a chronic "buzzing" sensation in my hands like you might get when holding onto a lawnmower handle for too long. I thought I would never be rid of these symptoms, and it was depressing.
Physical therapy (exercises and ultrasound) helped some. The traction therapy worsened the condition. After about eight weeks, I decided I was no longer benefiting from physical therapy and quit going. Physical therapy was very expensive, even with insurance. I tried other things as well: acupuncture, inversion table, pivotal therapy with an occipivot pad (a device from Chattanooga Group), and exercises from Robin McKenzie, "Treat Your Own Neck".
Before I found the Power PostureTM Program, the greatest benefits came from trying to give my back and neck the best possible support while sitting and sleeping. I recommend the self-inflating rectangular back support cushion from Relax the Back for $35 for use while driving or sitting. When sleeping, I recommend trying an inexpensive memory foam contour pillow. After benefiting from the less expensive pillow, I opted for the $99 pillow from Tempurpedic.
My improvement was slow and I continued to look for answers. One afternoon, I found the Power PostureTM website and ordered the DVD on March 17, 2007. Before an hour had passed, Dr. Christman called me to discuss my condition.
After receiving the DVD, I began the exercises and had considerable improvement within the first week. I continued the exercises on a regular basis for the next 3-4 weeks. By June 7, I felt 98-99% better, even though I had become less consistent with the regimen, doing the exercises on a more weekly basis.
Until my recent pregnancy (baby due Summer 2008), I have been virtually symptom free. I believe pregnancy has worsened the condition due to making my abdominal muscles relax for the growing baby and causing my posture to be more head forward and slouched. It's time to get out the DVD and start exercising again. Right Dr. Christman? (Dr. Christman answers, "Yes!")
I am truly grateful for the benefits I received from the Power PostureTM Program. Besides much answered prayer, I believe it was the SINGLE MOST BENEFICIAL PART of the recovery I experienced. I have since recommended it to friends.
Thank you again Dr. Christman for you passion for posture and compassion for neck pain and cervical radiculopathy sufferers.
Competitive runner Elizma L. dropped her 10 km time from a year-long plateau of 40 min to 37 min in 8 weeks after adding the Power Posture exercises to her otherwise unchanged training routine:
Power PostureTM was mailed from the U.S. to Elizma L. in Capalaba, Australia on Aug. 12, 2006, arriving on Aug. 18. She e-mailed me the following letter two weeks later, on September 1, 2006, so the following letter reports the results of Elizma's first 2 weeks of PowerPostureTM use:
Dear Dr. John,
Thank you so much for the Power PostureTM Program DVD. I started the exercises, and couldn't believe how stiff my upper body was. As a competitive runner, I've always just concentrated on stretching my legs. I had to take it very easy with the neck stretches - was just very stiff. But I couldn't believe the difference it made!
After only doing the exercises for 2 days I could notice a significant difference in the way I was holding my neck. After about 4 days I was automatically sitting up straight on the couch instead of slouching.
I did a 10km run the other day and really focused on keeping my head up and my center of gravity over my feet, and I felt like I was flying. I'm very excited to see how things will improve even more over the next few months. I will keep you posted on my progress. Thank you very much.
On October 29, 2006, after doing the Program every day for 10 weeks, Elizma wrote:
Hi Dr. John,
I'm still doing all the exercises everyday. It has made a huge difference. My back is straighter, my neck has a natural curve in it now.
The difference in my running is also big. My running style has changed in that when I run, rather than feeling like I am dragging my body around, it feels like only my legs are moving and my body is hovering above. My running times have improved dramatically. I used to run 10km in 40 minutes. I'm now running them in 37 minutes! I feel like I'm flying. (Elizma had made no other changes in her training program.)
Another interesting thing also happened. I've always had problems in my left leg where the hamstrings (semimembranosus), soleus and posterior tibialis muscles attach to the tibia. Ever since I've been doing the back stretches that has almost gone.
Thank you again,
April 20, 2006 - from a very busy M.D. in Dermatology, on how the PowerPosture Program changed his life:
I have been using the Power PostureTM Program for 2 months. It's changed my life! I will soon be 40 and am a very busy dermatologist who works too much- sometimes 90 hours each week. The stress of it all gave me unbearable neck and upper back pain.
I tried physical therapy one time, and pondered massage and accupuncture. The reality was that I was, and am, so busy that all I had was perhaps as little as 5 to 20 minutes at a time, if I were lucky, each day. So efficient use of time was essential.
Your Program offered the perfect fit. The exercises worked to relax and stretch my upper back and neck muscles and to increase my range of motion. I had a left sided cervical radiculopathy that is now gone. Currently, I have some paresthesias in the upper back and left shoulder but they are vastly improved (about 80%), and I suspect that they too will disappear with more time. I look forward to years of your exercises!
The video is extremely well thought out and the absence of bouncing blondes adds to the serious, down-to-business tone of the video.
April 28, 2004:
Dr. John Christman:
I ordered your Power Posture Program video about a year ago, and just wanted to let you know it is working great. It has helped me in swimming, running, and weight lifting. I got my private pilot license last week and I'm sure it will help me in my piloting, too. I am also an EMT and it really helps having a straight back when lifting heavy patients.
I'm off to the U.S. Naval Academy on June 30, 2004, and I hope the exercises will make it more comfortable to stand straight for a long time. Just wanted to thank you and let you know it worked for me.
Student, U.S. Naval Academy
April 3, 2004 - the PowerPosture Program as the solution to a decades-long search for a poor posture cure:
Dear Dr. Christman:
Just a note to let you know I did receive the Power Posture Program DVD, and my wife and I are deep into the program. I also want to thank you for the generous amount of your time in responding to me personally and for your phone call.
I normally would not write such a lengthy, detailed letter as this one, but your obvious dedication to your craft prompts me to share the following with you in the hopes you will find it informative, interesting, and perhaps of some value. Your dedication, by the way, is refreshing.
My bout with the topic of POSTURE started when I was a young child. I recall a picture of myself in kindergarten where my head was slightly forward compared to the other kids. However, this was years away from when I would become conscious of any problem myself (or would even be concerned).
My mother seemed concerned, and when I was about 8-9 years old she took me to a doctor for a physical. She asked about my slump. The doctor merely said to me, "If there's a quarter on the sidewalk ahead of you, the other kids are going to see it before you do if you're looking down, so straighten up!" Convinced that this represented the sum total of what medical science could do for me, my mother never sought any further solution.
When I became a young teenager, other kids would mention my slumping posture occasionally, telling me I would look better if I would "stand up straight". Still, I didn't pay much attention.
The moment when I began to see what other people saw occurred way back in 1968. I was an usher in my brother's wedding. A photo was taken that day of all the ushers, in a line facing sideways towards the bride and groom. When I saw the picture, the other 6 or 7 ushers (big wedding) were all standing identically straight, with heads up. I was in the middle, with my head very conspicuously forward compared to the other young men. It looked terrible. This began my self-consciousness of the problem.
Over the years my concern to do something about my situation has been intermittent. I once tried one of those over-the-counter back braces for a time, but this felt like a medieval torture device and I quickly gave it up.
I also pondered for years whether a chiropractor could help me, but never developed the motivation to seek this seriously. This especially since chiropractors seem more interested in back pain (with which I've never had a significant problem) and (in my opinion) attributing it to something that can be claimed through workers' compensation. I did conjure up the courage to ask a chiropractor (who was soliciting business in a mall) about my problem. Consistent with my suspicions, he was visibly disinterested in my inquiry compared to his other prospective clients that day and said little could be done.
I never gave up being concerned, though. I remained painfully aware of the effects of posture problems, particularly the social aspect. I recall an old magazine ad for one of those back-braces. It showed a man and a woman in before-and-after photos. In the before, it showed this couple facing the camera with hunched shoulders and forward head. In the after, this had been corrected and they were standing straight. Everything else in both photos remained consistent, except for the posture. It was amazing to me how poor posture projected an entirely different image of this couple. (Dr. Christman, your notation of that consequence of poor posture is 100% right on). I believe, though, that the perception of someone being insecure, lacking self-confidence, or dishonest due to their poor posture is more subconscious on the part of the observer (we do not consciously notice their poor posture as the problem). This to me is all the more reason for people to be aware of the importance of posture, to check their own, and do something about it if needed !!!
After all these years, I recently stumbled upon something interesting that aroused my curiosity. I discovered an old photo of my father's large family posing in a group. All of them had the identical, forward-head stance. Can this problem be hereditary?
(Dr. Christman interjects: "No, this problem is not an inherited trait. Children subconsciously model themselves after their parents, so whole families with the same poor or good posture occur fairly frequently.)
When I discovered your website, it was the answer I've been seeking for a couple of decades. The issues you discussed were exactly the questions and issues I had, but no source of information existed. I ordered your product, and I must say I'm happy with its depth, lack of Jane Fonda-ish commercialism, and its sincere goal to achieve results for the purchaser rather than simply sell a product. Thanks!
You might find the following of interest since you don't mention it as a benefit. I have for several years believed that I do not get a deep enough sleep at night; stresses of the job (primarily) keep me in a light sleep and I often awake in the middle of the night. One night before bed my 10 year old daughter was playfully pushing her feet into my back. It felt so good I asked her to keep it up! Amazingly, that night I had one of the deepest nights of sleep of my life. I mention this because the very night my wife and I began your Program, I had the same result. And every night this week I have been sleeping significantly better than I have in years !
Anyway, I'll sign off now. Knowing that you get inundated with e-mails, please let me know you received this. Also, there is more to my story that you will probably be interested in that could result in a market for your product that you may not have even considered. I'll be happy to share these thoughts with you if you wish.
Thanks again for a great product.
September 15, 2005 - the experiences of a massage therapist:
I bought your video at the American Massage Therapy Association conference last year, but it took me almost a full year to actually take the cellophane off and use it. Boy, do I wish I had started earlier!
I have had bad posture since at least my teenage years, and it runs in my family- my mother has bad posture as well, and now has a dowager's hump. I've been looking for ways to improve my posture so I don't have the same fate. I also have had neck pain for the last couple of years, which my job as a massage therapist and work on the computer have made worse.
After only 1 week doing the Power Posture Program exercises, my results are amazing! Immediately after doing the exercises for the first time, I noticed a significant reduction in the pain and muscle tension in my neck and shoulders. Now, I stand more erect more naturally. I was really astonished last night, when I noticed how straight I was sitting on a back-less bench at a meeting I attend regularly. I usually slump and feel pain, but not last night!
I see clients all the time who suffer from upper back and neck pain. I usually tell them to stretch out their chests and make an effort to keep their ears away from their chest, which is vague advice that I'm sure they don't follow. But now, I can refer them to a program that is simple and really works. I also have noticed my sons, ages 11 and 8, developing rounded shoulders. I'm hoping to hook them on the exercises so they can correct the situation before it gets to the point I was at.
Thank you for this program! I have wanted to improve my posture for years, but never was successful until now. I plan on sending a lot of business your way!
November 29, 2005 - a detailed account of how the Power Posture Program enabled a 63 year old former P.E. teacher to permanently cure signicant posture and pain problems:
Dear Dr. Christman:
Briefly outlined, my progress can be measured in approximate two-week periods, from the time I starting doing the Power Posture Program exercises on May 25, 2005, until today, November 27, 2005.
Before May 25:
I am a 63 year old former P.E. teacher, 5' 9" tall, weighing 150 lb. I am a former gymnast, who landed on my neck numerous times in the era when floor exercises were done on the wooden floor without mats. But I never had any neck problems until about 2 years ago, when my posture also began getting worse. Although I am physically active and university educated, with an appreciation of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, routines involving intense periods of work at the computer, over the last 20 years or so, were starting to affect me. I estimate that the really harmful poor posture process began just about two years ago, when I began studying music and playing piano with a computerized instructional program, as much as four hours daily.
By May, 2005, my scapulae (shoulder blades) were winged out because of lack of strength in the underlying muscles. The skin was tight against my bones, and the underlying trapezius muscles were virtually gone. My posture had become head forward with rounded shoulders - just as you had Rick demonstrate in the video. I was unable to use piano and computer keyboards more than three minutes, and I could not release painful tension without heat and massage therapy. I constantly had neck pain, with almost no ability to turn my head to the left, and had "hot" spots on the left side of my neck and trapezius muscle at the top of my neck along the base of my skull.
There was a noticeable difference between the left side at my neck (smaller and painful) and the right side (larger and painless). My whole adult life my neck had been larger on the left side, most likely because I am left-handed. I suspect that the muscle had atrophied on the left because of the painful restriction of motion on my left side over the previous 18-24 months.
I could drive for only 15 minutes with discomfort, and after 30 minutes someone else had to drive because of the buildup of acute pain in my neck and shoulders. And the pain would stay, even though I stopped driving and tried to relax.
May 25 - June 8:
I used a heating pad and massage for 30 minutes to warm up before doing the Power Posture Program. I used the heating pad two or three times a day, in any case. The front of my shoulders and chest area was very tight in the beginning, such that standing up straight and breathing deeply required a strained effort. Two weeks later, this is much easier, and becoming easier as I practice the proper standing and sitting posture. I started doing five crunches on May 25, ended the period by doing 20. Neck pain was what had prevented me doing any more than five repetitions initially.
June 9 - June 22:
I stopped using the heating pad, but continued massage to my neck and shoulders. I gained some ability to turn my head to the left, maybe 20 degrees or so. My neck pain was infrequent by the end of the fourth week, and was largely replaced by mild discomfort and muscle soreness due to the exercises.
June 23 - July 7:
Around this time, I noticed that the trapezuis muscle on my left side was severely atrophied - to the point that when I tried to flex that side, it still looked as though there was a hollow against the lower side of my neck. I began doing weights - shoulder shrugs and upright rows. My neck discomfort was gone, and I only had mild muscle soreness from the exercise program.
July 8 - July 22:
By this time, I was able to turn my head without pain to the left far enough to check the driver's "blind spot". In May, I had to lean forward and turn my whole upper body to the left to do so.
Once, months ago, when driving in light traffic, I glanced in my rear mirrors to check my "blind spot", turned on my directional signal and almost drove into a passing car! You will appreciate that if I could have turned my head to the left easily, I would have done so and avoided that situation. Also, constantly turning my upper body to the left in heavy traffic was very tiring, uncomfortable, and stressful. And, it was even more stressful than would normally be the case, which is quite enough for anyone, I'm sure you'll agree.
July 23 - August 2:
I can turn my head almost 90 degrees to the right, and about 70 degrees to the left. The left side of the trapezius muscle is starting to show some definition. The only time I feel any neck pain is when I bend forward from the waist to reach the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, although I still experience mild soreness from the exercises.
August 3 - mid-September:
I continued following your Power Posture Program on a daily basis through the month of August, and added light weights every second day - typically 2 sets of 20 reps of shrugs, chin raises, wrist and biceps curls using 15 and 25 lb. dumbbells, and a 15 lb. bar. I did this along with four sets of 25 pushups, and two sets of 50 crunches (hands on shoulders) as per your video. Doing the stretching and strengthening on a daily basis was fine, but I found that 100 crunches every day was too much, so I did the weights, crunches and pushups together on alternate days to the daily stretching and strengthening exercise days.
In mid-September, I drove alone, on a 400 mile, seven and a half hour trip, and arrived in a most comfortable, relaxed physical and psychological condition. I used the headrest stretch in your program every hour or so, (when I felt like it) and it made a huge difference in relieving tension. Keep in mind that in May I could drive for only 15 minutes with discomfort, and after 30 minutes someone else had to drive because of the buildup of acute pain in my neck and shoulders. And the pain would stay, even though I stopped driving and tried to relax.
Mid-September - Mid-October:
By the middle of September, I realized that I was overdoing things a little, so I began alternating my days of stretching/strengthening and weight training, while maintaining a daily workout.
Mid-October on (as of Nov 27):
I've been working both the stretching and weight training exercises together, with a day of rest every second day, and usually two days of rest following the third day of exercise. This makes up my current exercise cycle. As of today, my neck, shoulder, and back flexibility are 100 percent. I exercise and do daily activities spontaneously, without giving a thought to the chronic neck pain I had early in May. In short, John, your program has saved my neck!
I remember saying in August that I wanted to be prepared for a week of swimming, sailboarding, and waterskiing in the Caribbean by January, 2006. You remarked that I had plenty of time to get ready, and I'm pleased to report that you were right. In fact I've been prepared since mid-November, six weeks ahead of schedule!
When I began your Program, I was only able to play the piano and use the computer keyboard for 2-3 minutes without developing serious neck pain. I now play/keyboard easily for 20-30 minutes, although I stand, move about the room, and stretch out for a few minutes every 20 minutes or so. I understand that musicians will set a timer to signal breaks at 15 minute intervals to avoid posture problems. I gather that these difficulties can, and have, ended musicians' careers.
As for driving, I can easily toss my head to the left, and I am once again able to check the blind spot reflexively rather than laboriously. The result is that I am the safe, confident driver that I was before the insidious process of developing poor posture severely restricted my mobility.
Before I began the Power Posture Program, I was in pain, tense, lethargic, and I did everyday activities with difficulty and discomfort. Since beginning the Program, I have gone from being able to use a piano/computer keyboard for 2-3 minutes without serious pain, to keyboarding all of this letter quite naturally. I now feel relaxed, energetic, and I do everyday activities easily and comfortably. I expect to be able to freely turn my head 90° to both sides within another month or two. It is easy to see that my posture has changed very much for the better.
Yesterday (Nov. 26), I shoveled snow a few inches deep from the front stairs and back walkway to our house. This sort of 20 minute exercise would have been unthinkable for be back in the month of May. Mercifully, it does not snow in Montreal in May.
There is not a single physical activity that I do on a daily basis that has not improved dramatically since I recovered my neck flexibility and strength through your Power Posture Program. nGoing for a walk, climbing stairs, sitting down and standing up, getting in and out of bed, bending to reach into the fridge, turning my head in an ordinary range of motion. Those very simple things that I once did in a cautious and guarded manner--with discomfort and periods of real pain - I now do confidently and comfortably.
Most of all, I can toss my head in either direction to look over my shoulder with ease and authority. Also, because I know that I can, I do it quite often, just for the satisfaction of doing it. Actually, as I write this, it's almost hard for me to believe the pain and poor quality of life that I endured in the weeks before I began your Program. At age 63, I'm confident that I will enjoy good posture for the rest of my life because I now know how to maintain it. This is as simple as maintaining any other healthy lifestyle practice.
My experience has been such that I consider myself to have been a sort of 21st century despairing Lazarus, in the sense that after a month of exercise, I was able to take up my heating pad and walk-- comfortably. The rest is up to me, as they say, and I am prepared to handle it - thanks to your Program.
There must be thousands of men and women exactly my age that would benefit from your Program as much as I did. That being the case, it would produce a tremendous collective amount of relief from pain and suffering, and a critical improvement in the quality of life for all those similarly afflicted in the 55 Plus/Senior age bracket.
I hope you can use this to the advantage of others, John. I look forward to hearing from you again, later on. Gotta go now, gotta stretch out a little and get ready for the bright, sunny, outdoor Saturday morning that I most certainly will enjoy.
April 10, 2001
Dear Dr. Christman,
I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with your Power Posture Program video.
I have been in practice for 11 years and have always sought methods to motivate patients to improve their posture. It wasn't until I found your video program that I was able to move most of my patients into a routine posture maintenance program that really works.
It is really nice to have a powerful tool that takes little of my time and makes a big difference in my patients lives.
For Better Health,
Dr. David J. Madeira
Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association 2nd VP
April 3, 2001
Dear Dr. Christman:
I ordered your video "Power Posture" about a month ago and I have been doing the execises consistently once a day for the past three weeks. I had to write and tell you how grateful and amazed I am with the reduction of my neck and shoulder pain.
I didn't think I would see such a huge difference. The first week I did them I still had a lot of muscle tightness and pain and I had restricted movement but now I can't believe the difference! So, I wanted to share this with you and thank you for such a wonderful product that truly works--if you are committed to doing the exercises every day. I also told my doctor(who is a naturopathic doctor) last Friday about my amazing results and she was very interested in recommending this to her patients who have neck and shoulder pain. I gave her the information on your website and phone number.
I have told so many people about the great results I have experienced and I hope they will be inspired to order your video and see for themselves. Many people complain about the back and neck pain but so many are not willing to spend the 15 minutes it takes to be pain free.
March 7, 2001
Dr. John Christman,
I began your Power Posture program two months ago. I wanted to share with you my experiences with the program thus far.
I am currently an investigator with a major law enforcement agency. I have served in a variety of capacities including bicycle patrol and other specialized units. Physical conditioning is not only a part of my job but an important part of my lifestyle. I run, lift weights, kayak and train in the martial arts.
Prior to entering law enforcement I played hockey for more than 20 years. Over the past few years I have found myself becoming increasingly prone to pulling my trapezius muscle. The resulting pain in my upper back and neck was becoming a source of frustration. I spoke to Physicians and athletic trainers but other than ultrasound treatments and muscle relaxants they could offer no preventative solutions.
The only stretching programs I found focused primarily on the lower back, and traditional neck stretches seemed to aggravate the condition. I read about your program in a magazine and initially was somewhat reserved.
Within days of beginning the Power Posture exercises I noticed a dramatic difference. I could tell that I was conditioning muscles that I was missing with my previous workouts. I use the word conditioning because Power Posture not only stretches but strengthens as well. I have particularly noticed an increase in strength in my neck and I have had no problems with my trapezius muscle.
Power Posture contains both traditional and unique exercises. In some respects it departs from standard practices. I have noticed an increase in flexibility in my lower body as well as my upper body. I do the program 3 or 4 times a week and have found that it is a great way to warm up before kayaking.
Power Posture also provides endurance for such activities as long road trips and marathon bouts with the computer. If I feel some stiffness during the day I can quickly use one or two exercises to loosen up.
I have been very pleased with the results of the Power Posture program. This program can be beneficial to a variety of people.