Thursday, October 23, 2008

#9 - "The Permanent Pain Cure" by Ming Chew, PT

I think I found The Permanent Pain Cure by Ming Chew when I was blindly searching through the public library's on-line catalog to see if there were any books on physical therapy. I had decided that the law was not the way to go and I would have a much more interesting and fulfilling life if I became a physical therapist. This interest stems in large part from the many different injuries that I deal with when I work out. It would be a million times cheaper and more efficient for me to simply fix myself. And the hands-on aspect of physical therapy sounds so much better than sitting in an office all day.

So, of the few choices my library offered, The Permanent Pain Cure--The Breakthrough Way to Heal Your Muscle and Joint Pain for Good, was one that apparently caught my eye, and I put it on hold. I almost didn't even bother picking it up, but seeing as that it was published in 2008, I figured at least it wouldn't be dated.

I have to admit that a straight read-through of this book was probably not the best way to go, but I did find some helpful information. A lot of what the author says, I agree with, including that surgery should be the last option and that stretching and strengthening can often fix what ails us. And he includes some stretches that I've tried and they feel pretty good.

Some of the problems I have with the "Ming Method" is the reliance on supplements. I don't take any kind of supplements, even vitamins. I try to eat a healthy, varied diet and get everything I need from that. I feel like every other year doctors are saying one supplement is good for you, then they realize that it doesn't really work because you're not ingesting it naturally, and then they realize that it actually does harm because it blocks something else in your body. I've decided that the safest bet is to avoid them altogether and just rely on natural foods to give you what you need in a way that your body can use properly.

Besides Ming's reliance on supplements, I had a couple other problems with the book. I think I'm being overly sensitive here, but his attitude towards women throughout the book slightly annoyed me. I just got the sense that he was discounting them. He mentioned numerous times how certain stretches would help a man's love life, but there was no discussion of women in this regard. Women are also given significantly lower weights and less reps in the strength training chapter. And I am fully aware that men have more testosterone than women and are capable of having more muscle and Ming says all the right things here, but I think quite often women are weaker than they need to be simply because they have lower expectations. How can women succeed at being strong and physical when they are constantly told they are weak and strength is not feminine? Finally, Ming states in the book that pregnant women should not do the spinal or fascial stretches without any kind of explanation. I know a lot of pregnant women who stretch and I cannot imagine that they are doing any harm to themselves or their baby. I feel like Ming just discounted pregnant women, cutting them out of the possibility of stretching because he's not interested in dealing with their unique issues. In fact, I feel like his book is mainly focused toward out-of-shape, middle-aged men, which is fine, but doesn't particularly appeal to me.

The other couple of problems I had deal with the actual layout of the book. I found the descriptions of the book often repetitive and difficult to follow. More pictures with direction underneath would have been much more helpful. I was also not impressed by the photo of Ming doing the "air squat" exercise. The book states that you should squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, yet the picture of Ming doing this exercise shows his thighs a good way up from parallel. Bad squat form is another pet peeve of mine, and I wish the book had a better example when it is supposedly "teaching" people how to do it correctly.

I did get something out of this book, though, and I am going to hold onto this book for a little while longer until I get used to some of the stretches that seem to do me some good.

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