With guitarists and the music they produce, tastes differ. Perhaps you are a fan of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Bob Dylan, Sérgio and Odair Assad – or maybe Albert King. You are drawn to their music, something about their playing thrills.
Good guitar playing is sexy. As is good posture in someone who knows how to move.
While few achieve mastery of playing like some of these performers, we can and should master our Body Guitar. For who wouldn’t want to stave off for themselves the leading cause of disability worldwide?
A beginning music student must first know their guitar, strengthen fundamental movements, and learn good habits before they play songs. Similar concepts and perseverance are required of Tune Me, described in sports medicine expert Dr. Sean Wheeler’s new book, UPRISE: Back Pain Liberation, By Tuning Your Body Guitar.
The aspiring guitarist learns how each hand performs a coordinating role in producing music; one the fretting hand, the other strumming. Your instructor shows you the correct positions to play basic chords with your fretting hand. With your strumming hand, you learn to strum different patterns on the guitar strings. As student, your job is to practice these chords over and over so they become innate, automatic. The same dedication is required for correct strumming.
As with learning anything new, challenges arise. Perhaps you are impatient and think you don’t need to spend time practicing repetitively, or you simply want to try showing off before you can actually play. Or you assume you know how to play the guitar, without unlearning the assumptions to which you cling. Or you’ve a weakness in one of your fingers, which you might only discover the hard way, such as through injury while playing.
Just as playing guitar requires two coordinating hands, escaping chronic back pain requires two coordinating activities: exercise and posture.
Exercise, unlike how you now understand the word exercise.
With Tune Me, your doctor first identifies the source of your pain in the deep bracing muscles of your spine, then provides you either the physical therapy or exercises, often both, so that you may repetitively “practice” as diligently as you would guitar chords with your fretting hand. Mastery of strumming is akin to your good posture practice, and will become second nature as you keep at it.
Not unlike the impatience a beginning guitarist may experience learning fretwork, physical therapy and exercises may be frustrating when results seem not to appear immediately. Yet, as any great musician knows, practice takes time. Just know the physical therapy and exercise in which you engage is Circulation Training, to increase blood flow to your bracing muscles, with results something you can’t actually see. It’s exercise unlike what you assume exercise to be.
Like daily practice by master guitarists to retain their virtuosity, Tune Me is not just for beginners but rather is a commitment requiring continued practice.
Good posture is your goal. When you practice good posture, the bracing muscles of the spine, lower back, neck, glutes, and feet get a workout simply by standing correctly.
– Dr. Sean Wheeler in UPRISE, at Chapter 6, “Tune Me”
To achieve a strong, beautifully aligned body doesn’t happen overnight. UPRISE to the challenge. Master your Body Guitar. Become your own virtuoso Body Guitarist. Live in tune with ease, confidence and openness, liberated from chronic back pain.
And leave the fret behind.
On this day as every day, a dream within your reach.