A Little-Known, Highly-Effective Hack To Heal Your Spine, Get Massive Mobility Improvements & Change The Way You Move Forever.

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Fitness, Podcast

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Four months ago, a guy knocked on my front door.

He’d flown all the way up from Alabama to my house to train me in a new method of movement and deep fascial stretching that I had never before encountered…something called the “ELDOA Method”.

Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve done my fair share of mobility training.

For example, in the article “The 5 Essential Elements of A Training Program That Most Athletes Neglect – Part 3: Mobility“,  I delve into how, on a weekly basis, I engage in everything from active stretching to yoga to foam rolling to traction to deep tissue massage and beyond.

But Jacob Schoen, the guy who showed up at my house (and my guest on today’s podcast) and trained me for eight solid hours over the course of a weekend, introduced me to this new form of extremely intensive “stretching”, and helped me discover something I now take breaks from work to do each day and one of the best ways to eliminate low back pain, heal the spine, and get a full body myofascial stretch.

It looks like this:

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Jacob Schoen is the owner and founder of SHIFT Sport and Wellness in New Orleans, LA. Jacob is currently studying in the programs of a guy named Dr. Guy Voyer and is using this education to change the way people approach and associate with their pain or performance. By focusing on the purpose, precision, and quality of exercise Jacob inspires people to “move more aware” in the gym and in life. He hopes that by creating awareness in the individual through movement that he can create momentum towards a more connected and conscious culture of health.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Jacob discovered ELDOA after a series of injuries and poor movement patterns developed from cycling and triathlon…[9:47]

-Why ELDOA is like using an inversion table on your whole body…[15:15]

-What it means to create space within your joint s (and why joints aren’t “stacked” the way you would think they are)…[18:30]

-On a physiological level, what does ELDOA do, exactly? [22:45]

-Why most stretching practices or techniques don’t actually target your myofascia, and how ELDOA does…[25:30]

-How stretching your wrist and big toe at the same time can, surprisingly, decompress your actual spine…[29:20]

-What a sample ELDOA session actually looks like…[31:45]

-What it means to “normalize” your muscle tone…[41:12]

-What you probably don’t know about the bones in the skull and why your jaw and skull bones are so important for decompressing your spine…[45:19]

-How to self-adjust your jaw with a dowel…[50:15]

-Why Jake is not a fan of foam rolling and deep tissue work and why Ben is…[54:15]

-The #1 completely natural supplement you can take that is almost free and that vastly decreases back pain…[69:20]

-How often you should do ELDOA…[72:45]

-The best way for you to learn how to do ELDOA yourself…[77:00]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Jacob’s website ShiftSportWellness.com

ELDOAMethod.com

-Some sample videos of a few of my favorite ELDOA stretches if you want to see what ELDOA training looks like:

T6-T7
T8-T9
L5-S1

Jaw Realignment Therapy

The “Scrolling Under The Skin” video Jacob discusses

Why Foam Rolling is NOT Myofascial Release

Architecture of Human Living Fascia: Cells and Extracellular Matrix as Revealed by Endoscopy

SOMAFinder.com to to find an ELDOA workshop near you

Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Jacob or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!


Also published on Medium.

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31 thoughts on “A Little-Known, Highly-Effective Hack To Heal Your Spine, Get Massive Mobility Improvements & Change The Way You Move Forever.

  1. Tracey says:

    What natural supplement was supposed to be mentioned? (69.20) I’ve even looked at the written transcript

    1. Water! Dehydration is the root of a lot of pain that people experience.

  2. David says:

    Great Podcast. I follow Dr Guy Voyer’s work for almost 12 years now. I love the ELDOA’s. Someone you may like to interview Ben is Dan Hellman. Physiotherapist, Chek Practitioner level IV and working closely with Dr Voyer. http://hellmanholistichealth.com/2013/08/26/eldoa… He will be able to answer your question about foam rolling in deep details. Thanks for your work! Cheers from Belgium.

  3. Rob says:

    I have had lower back/sciatica since my early 20s (I’m now 36). I had an MRI 5 years ago that showed Grade 1 L5-S1 spondylolisthesis, disc dehydration, etc. I gave up running, and many other impact/compressing activities. I’ve tried a number of different sleeping surfaces with mild degrees of improvement. I’ve tried some McKenzie stretches my brother (who is a PT) gave me, but didn’t help much. At one point I was taking ibuprofen every night before bed just to sleep through the night. Then I discovered Eric Goodman’s low back workout video on YouTube and have been doing it regularly for about 2 years. I get great relief after the work out which lasts about 24 hours. If I so the workout several days in a row the benefits seems to last for longer, even up to 48 hours. I can also do the workout before a road trip and I can drive for 3-5 hours straight, which was impossible before. I also used to take NSAIDS before getting in the car. So I’m clearly responding to the Foundation Training.

    Do you think ELDOA is appropriate for someone with spondylolisthesis? My understanding is that the spinous process has actually broken and detached from the vertebral body. I tend to avoid rotational force, especially when weight bearing.

    In any case, great podcast. Jacob, you seem really sharp.

    1. toronto.eldoa says:

      Hi Rob! I am an ELDOA practitioner in Toronto, Canada. Yes, ELDOA is excellent for spinal discrepancies like scoliosis (note it is contraindicated for anyone with a Harrington rod – at the level(s) of the rod). To be clear, I’m not an expert in scoliosis – but I have multiple clients with varying degrees of scoliosis, and they all find great relief in the method. As Jacob touched on in the podcast, because the method asks you, the client, to hold the postures using your own musculature, there is a change to the facial organization that is much longer-lasting than passive stretching or even assisted stretches such as ART. In a way, your muscles are re-learning how to hold your spine in an open, strong position – this re-patterning has an effect on the fascia in the moment, but if you keep doing the ELDOA’s, you may find that you eventually experience this reorganization on a long-term basis.

  4. Paul Sandburg, CSCS says:

    After listening to this podcast I did an N of 1 experiment on myself and dropped foam rolling, smashing, etc. entirely. This was back in March. I had a few trouble spots in my right hamstring/glutes/hip. I would ritualistically roll with a rumble roller and olympic bar and smash with a ball. I would typically do this before every workout (weights, cycling, running, swimming) and sometimes additional sessions throughout the day. After hearing Jacob’s thoughts on fascia I thought I would drop it all for a bit and sprinkle in a few ELDOA moves and see how I felt. Interestingly I felt no worse and perhaps even a bit better almost immediately. I think there may be something to the aggressive rolling causing new scar tissue and pushing out hydration. Dynamic warmup before workouts and ELDOA after workouts is a good formula for me at the moment. Thank you Ben and Jacob for the great info!

  5. Mirza says:

    I have l5-S1 disc herniated on left side. I have a sciatic pinch on left leg going down, would Eldoa will help me. . I am always in pain, Please advise?

    1. Jacob Schoen says:

      Yes it would absolutely help. Classic case that could be relieved through the proper eldoa exercise.

  6. misha says:

    It is so important to have a base like the FMS/SFMA, by testing and retesting after a “corrective” exercise you can figure out what improves your movement quality and what makes it worse. For me foam rolling and active range of motion training is great but statick streching shuts my body down.

  7. Mike says:

    Any chance on the jaw dowel video being filmed? Really don’t understand it, but I really need it. Have looked around on youtube but can’t find anything.

  8. I personally get a lot of benefit from myofascial release, but I also don’t find it very painful. Some folks I know get “lemon face” when they even see a foam roller. I’ve added the S1/L5 stretch and am going to start to move up my spine and see how it goes. Thanks for the great podcast!!!

  9. Mark Austin says:

    have you binned all your foam rollers and lacrosse balls Ben, or do you still see some merit in rolling ?

    1. Hey Mark, I still roll. But I also do ELDOA. Borrow from the best of both worlds, baby.

  10. Shannon says:

    I think there is a similar question above – but, having embraced Foundation Training thanks to you, here comes another method. There seems to be overlap based on the videos here. You have done both rigorously – if you had to pick one……..I can’t do all of it. Have a day job. Also, what about Rolfing?

    1. Hey Shannon! I do both and you can totally work ELDOA in by sprinkling these throughout the day as movement "snacks"…super easy to squeeze in…

  11. n = CK ! says:

    Awesome podcast on a great topic! Jacob is obviously very passionate in what he does and conveys his message extremely well. I had heard of ELDOA before, but completely forgot about it until now. It does seem like it doesn’t get the amount of exposure it should, so I’m grateful this interview came about!

    I’ve been doing somewhat of a deep dive into anatomy, biomechanics, kinesiology, osteopathy, and myofascial meridians a la Kelly Starrett, Katy Bowman, Pete Egoscue, Sue Hitzman, Eric Goodman, and Thomas Myers over the past year. My research has led me to lean toward the principles of Myers’ Anatomy Trains as the keystone. From there, Hitzman’s MELT Method makes a lot of sense, but Jacob’s explanation of ELDOA really drove home the concept of tissue hydration for me.

    The tensegrity and whole-body nature of the fascial system detailed in Anatomy Trains seems to be very much in line with ELDOA, but I wonder what Jacob’s stance is with the MELT Method? I am in line with his thinking on foam rolling, but “MELTing” seems to take many of his apprehensions into consideration.

    1. Jacob Schoen says:

      The lumbar spine is very complex with many muscles and ligaments that could possibly be irritated by the slight over reaching in your stretch. L5-s1 would definitely be a good approach. Start slow and then add more tension as your back relaxes.

  12. Sean says:

    I tweaked my back awhile ago somewhere in the lumbar – sacrum area.. I retweaked it last night stretching – my ass on the ground legs spread to each side and reaching down the middle ( I am extremely flexible) something wasn’t happy afterwards.. I’m going to try the eldoa exercise Jacob shows for l5- s1.. any other recommendations? Perhaps I over pulled a muscle.. and it’s more muscular than spinal?

  13. Adam says:

    Hey Ben – well this is not he first time that someone has recommended not smashing your muscles with a hard foam roller because of what is does to your fascia – Anybody remember the the MELT method? I have to say I do love that lacrosse ball smashed into my gluts but sadly, it might not be such a good idea :-( https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/03/treat-joint-pain-without-visiting-expensive-doctor-therapist/

  14. Adrian Rees says:

    Just tried the l5 and the t6 wow feel all wobbly and a bit taller. I think im going to give this a go for afew weeks and see if it helps release some of the pain

  15. Dave says:

    If I merely believe in doing eldoa’s, does that make me a fascist?

    Or must I force others to do them?

    I’m already making myself do eldoa’s so I’m pretty sure I’m fascist either way.

    Thanks for the podcast!

  16. Marni says:

    BUT, I feel better after foam rolling…. !?!?

  17. Gian-Paul Simpson says:

    This is a good example of what Jacob was referring to when he said that foam rolling is not myofascial release.

    https://youtu.be/BnYdzaoMyQ8

    I think a interview with Dr. Andreo Spina would be an excellent listen.

    1. Mark Austin says:

      this video however does not dismiss foam rolling as such, Dr. Spina even states that he does prescribe foam rolling to his patients, just not for mfr, I guess for trigger point release then, so we can keep punishing ourselves on the rollers and balls

  18. Ed says:

    If you had to pick one would you do this or the founders methods?

  19. Ed DeBolt Jr says:

    I learned some very similar pose/exercises in Korea from their Dahn Yoga. Might have inspired ELDOA method.

  20. Ryan says:

    Looking forward to jaw dowel video.

    1. Glenn says:

      ^I Second that.

      1. Mike says:

        Third that!

      2. Matt says:

        I fourth that!

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