What is Myo-Fascial Stretching and why should I do practice it?

On the illustrations below you see the hamstring complex and the various attachments and fascial expansions of the semimembranosus muscle. Do you know how to stretch it?

Myo-fascial stretching hamstring complex


Myo-Fascial Stretching is the precise stretching of a muscle within its fascial chain. The technique respects the physiology of the myofascial complex and takes into consideration its intrinsic anatomy and effects on joint mechanics.

And just to name a few important benefits of Myo-Fascial Stretching:  

  • Improved joint mechanics with smoother and increased range of motion 
  • Increased intra and inter-muscular coordination
  • Heightened kinaesthetic sensation
  • Increased potential for hypertrophy
  • Improved agonist-antagonist relationship
  • Increased local circulation therefore nutrient transport and metabolic waste removal
  • Improved recovery time after training
  • Decreased joint compression
  • Reduction of risk of injury
  • Less muscle stiffness
  • Improved state of relaxation
  • The list goes on...

You cannot elongate a muscle by stretching it but you can increase its innate extensibility by affecting its fascial components. This will happen partly due to better sliding between adjacent layers as well as to the response of collagen and elastin in the connective tissue to tension imposed on it. 

The non-contractile component of the muscle is fascial/connective tissue. It exists in the form of tendons and sheaths of aponeurosis around muscles it envelopes. The sub-units of the muscle such as the endomysium, perimysium and epimysium, the connections between myosin filaments and as Z-discs at the end of the muscles filaments are all fascial tissue.

You can't learn or teach an ELDOA posture in a 60 second, one dimensional format

What is ELDOA™?


ELDOA™ means longitudinal osteo-articular decoaptation or decompression. Using myofascial tension the inferior joint segment is fixed while the superior one is mobilized creating separating forces around the targeted joint segment. It is a sniper like targeting of a joint segment within a global self-created myo-fascial tension.

Is it stretching? While part of it feels like stretching, the tension of the stretched tissue plays a role in the mobilization of the segments while normalizing tension between opposing myofascial chains. On the level of the paraspinal muscles however, it is an extreme range eccentric muscle contraction. In other words, it is the contraction of the muscle while elongating at its end range.

The ELDOA™ is an auto-normalisation exercise, which once learned correctly, serves as the right stimulus to move the body towards its equilibrium.
Learned correctly? Only with good awareness is the body able to correct itself. It’s very important as our posture affects our physiology 24/7.

Without awareness you can’t do a correct ELDOA™ as in you just won’t be able to achieve what the name itself refers to. Your goal is to build this awareness with the various factors of progressions. - You have several tools at hand as an ELDOA™ practitioner to influence the construction of this process. Therefore the application of the appropriate progression factors is crucial for the intended outcome.

  • Are you using these tools effectively?
  • Are you using these tools at all? - Are clients able to, and should they do the exercise in its full version?
  • How fast should you and what are the criteria to progress the position?
  • What is my goal with doing the ELDOA™?
  • Which benefit of the ELDOA™ does the person in front of me needs the most now? 
  • How do I adapt each posture to accommodate the need of my client or patient?

These are some of the questions you get answers to during our ELDOA™ Certification Courses taught by SomaTraining UK.

ELDOA in the case of a scoliotic teenager

eldoa and scoliotic teenager


14 year old girl with left convex lumbar scoliosis with a compensatory right convex thoracic curve. Most scoliotic spines have great potential for more range in axial extension so she is a perfect candidate for longitudinal decoaptation stretching - or in one word the ELDOA. Since she is only 14, with regular practice she still have a chance to effect the osseous growth with the right myofascial tension created by the ELDOA.

The levels to address in her case will primarily be the lumbosacral junction, L4/5, L2/3, T11/12, T8/9, T6/7, T1/2. There is a different ELDOA posture to target each of the above spinal segments. When coaching these postures we have to pay particular attention to the little intricacies that contribute to the right level of tension at the right place accommodating for the awareness and postural abnormalities of the person. Good palpation and eagles eyes are best friends of a good ELDOA practitioner. The ELDOA puts myofascial chains under specific tension where a fixed point and a moving point is created which results in separating forces at the targeted segment. The word stretching should not trick us into thinking that it is a walk in the park. During this work many of the muscles involved are performing an extreme range eccentric contraction. This not only has a profound strengthening and elongating effect, it also stimulates the tendons of the proprioceptively rich deep paraspinal musculature while unwinding tension through the various layer of myofascial continuum. We work on the structure to improve function of not only the musculoskeletal system, or in other words the container, this work will effect the content as well. We need to think relational anatomy and links. The results are improved kinaesthetic sensation and sense of well-being, improved posture, better sleep, better range of motion, increased IVD hydration, better muscle activation and the list goes on and on...........now who doesn’t need these benefits in today’s less active, sedentary, computer and smart phone gazing lifestyle?

ELDOA and Bladder infections - A mechanical consideration

eldoa and bladder infection


Created by Dr Voyer himself, the ELDOA utilizes myofascial stretching to put tension around a primary lesion making it the center of “separating forces.” Dr Voyer briefly explained the mechanical aspects and importance of correctly treating a bladder infection and the role of ELDOA in this process. Acute cystitis or bladder infection is an infection that affects the lower part of the urinary tract. If not treated properly it can cause pyelonephritis or kidney infection, which can be life threatening; therefore, it must be taken very seriously. Generally in medicine, urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics. Since resistance to many of the antibiotics used to treat this condition is increasing, sometimes a longer course or intravenous antibiotics are needed. Because bladder infection often come back, it is very important to treat the underlying cause as well as take preventive steps. 

"Misalignment of the pelvis can also be the cause of bladder infection due to the consequent changes in the tension of soft tissue structures between the bladder and the bony parts of the pelvis", Guy VOYER DO explains. When one ilium is more anterior or "outflare", while the other one is more posterior or "inflare",  the torsion created increases the tension on the bladder mainly via the median and lateral pubovesical ligaments, which connect the vesical neck to the pelvis near pubic symphisis. This torsion can make it difficult for the vesical neck to open making it impossible to fully empty the bladder, which sets the stage for further infections and complications.

To treat this problem, the lesions of the sacroiliac joint and pubic symphisis need to be corrected with a good osteopathic treatment. 
In order to maintain the correction following the treatment, the patient needs to practice specific ELDOA exercises for the pubic symphisis and the sacroiliac joints. 

Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. Within each sacroiliac joint there are 5 micro joints. These micro joints are called "apex of the lesser arm, base of the lesser arm, isthmus, apex of the greater arm and base of the greater arm".
These micro-joints allow 22 principle axes of micro-movement within the sacroiliac joint.  One needs to understand and master these movements to know which specific ELDOA exercise to apply in order to maintain the pubic symphisis and sacroiliac joints in balance and to correct the bladder infection. This is the topic of the ELDOA Certification Level 4.

ELDOA and Scoliosis

eldoa and scoliosis


According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK; “in 80% of cases the cause of scoliosis is often not identified.” This is known as idiopathic scoliosis. That is 8 out of 10 cases.

One online resource says; “Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine bends to the side abnormally; either to the right or left. The curvature can be moderate to severe. Any part of the spine can be bent in scoliosis; but the most common regions are the chest area, thoracic scoliosis, or the lower part of the back, lumbar scoliosis.”

While these explanations may be useful for layperson to identify someone with scoliosis it doesn’t unfortunately say much about how this condition forms and what can be done about it.

Guy Voyer explains; the mechanical origin of scoliosis lies within the rotation of the vertebrae. Due to the orientation of articular surfaces of the vertebral joints, when the vertebra rotates both on the intervertebral disc and the facet/zygapophyseal joint, side bending occurs in the spine. If the rotation is not corrected, the side bending is there to stay. That is the mechanics of scoliosis.

In many cases people with scoliosis develop two curves. The first one is the primary curve, and then a secondary curve, which is often the curve of compensation. This often occurs because of our instinct to maintain our eyes level with the horizon.
If our aim is to correct the scoliosis, we need to focus on correcting the rotation. We need to consider the alignment of the pelvis and how the sacrum sits between the two ilia. Often times, the patient needs a very precise structural correction of the rotation of the vertebrae. To maintain the correction and to further improve the alignment of the spine, spinal ELDOA needs to be practiced for the segments of where the beginning, the middle and the apex of each curve is.
When you’re performing the ELDOA, you’re targeting a specific spinal segment to “decoapt”, “decompress” or in other words separate the vertebrae. When you increase the space between the vertebrae, you’re not only “elongating” the ligament, the tendon, and the fibers of the annulus fibrosis but also help normalize the tension between these structures.
Designed by Dr Voyer himself, the ELDOA utilize myofascial tension to create a center of “separating forces” around a primary lesion. This myofascial tension solicits postural normalization resulting in numerous benefits, such as improved joint mechanics, increased blood flow, reduced pressure and re-hydration of the intervertebral disc, optimised muscle tone, awareness and proprioception and improved metabolic and hormonal balance. The by-product of this is often less pain, better posture, and an increased sense of well-being.

Once learned, each ELDOA exercise takes a minute to perform, meaning if you have a simple curve, in 3 minutes a day you can continuously improve your scoliosis. If you have a double curve, in 5 minutes a day you can improve and eventually correct it.

In what time frame you can expect to correct a scoliosis? Dr Voyer suggests it will largely depend on the degree of curve, the age of the person, and the degree of congenital component, if there is any.
In his experience you can completely correct the scoliotic spine of the growing child and adolescent while the adult person could only expect an approximate 50% correction, which is approximately the functional part of the scoliosis.
If not corrected in time, the long-term consequences of scoliosis can include pain, osteoarthritis, functional limitation of the viscera affecting;
-the lungs due to the modification of the shape of the thoracic cage,
-the heart due to the retraction of the pericardium,
-the liver, the pancreas and the spleen via their connection wit the diaphragm and so on.

Although the practice of ELDOA is a very unique and effective way of treating scoliosis, yet it is not a quick fix. Its benefits are often felt immediately it still needs to be practiced over months and sometimes years to make structural changes.
But if that’s what it takes to avoid the negative consequences that scoliosis can bring about, if one can comprehend what these consequences mean to a somebody’s health and quality of life…. I’m sure one will willingly take an extra few minutes a day to practice ELDOA.

Section from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Ref. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

low back pain

If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.

Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Pain can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine. Sedentary lifestyles also can set the stage for low back pain, especially when a weekday routine of getting too little exercise is punctuated by strenuous weekend workout.
Most low back pain is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. The majority of acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back (the spine, muscle, intervertebral discs, and nerves) fit together and move.
Subacute low back pain is defined as pain that lasts between 4 and 12 weeks.
Chronic back pain is defined as pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain persists despite medical and surgical treatment.
The magnitude of the burden from low back pain has grown worse in recent years. In 1990, a study ranking the most burdensome conditions in the U.S. in terms of mortality or poor health as a result of disease put low back pain in sixth place; in 2010, low back pain jumped to third place, with only ischemic heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ranking higher.

What causes lower back pain?

The vast majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature. In many cases, low back pain is associated with spondylosis, a term that refers to the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:

  • Sprains and strains account for most acute back pain. Sprains are caused by overstretching or tearing ligaments, and strains are tears in tendon or muscle. Both can occur from twisting or lifting something improperly, lifting something too heavy, or overstretching. Such movements may also trigger spasms in back muscles, which can also be painful.
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration is one of the most common mechanical causes of low back pain, and it occurs when the usually rubbery discs lose integrity as a normal process of aging. In a healthy back, intervertebral discs provide height and allow bending, flexion, and torsion of the lower back. As the discs deteriorate, they lose their cushioning ability.
  • Herniated or ruptured discs can occur when the intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward (herniation) or rupture, causing low back pain.
  • Radiculopathy is a condition caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to a spinal nerve root. Pressure on the nerve root results in pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation that travels or radiates to other areas of the body that are served by that nerve. Radiculopathy may occur when spinal stenosis or a herniated or ruptured disc compresses the nerve root.
  • Sciatica is a form of radiculopathy caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, the large nerve that travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. This compression causes shock-like or burning low back pain combined with pain through the buttocks and down one leg, occasionally reaching the foot. In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and the adjacent bone, the symptoms may involve not only pain, but numbness and muscle weakness in the leg because of interrupted nerve signaling. The condition may also be caused by a tumor or cyst that presses on the sciatic nerve or its roots.
  • Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place, pinching the nerves exiting the spinal column.
  • A traumatic injury, such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall can injure tendons, ligaments or muscle resulting in low back pain. Traumatic injury may also cause the spine to become overly compressed, which in turn can cause an intervertebral disc to rupture or herniate, exerting pressure on any of the nerves rooted to the spinal cord. When spinal nerves become compressed and irritated, back pain and sciatica may result.
  • Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that can cause pain or numbness with walking and over time leads to leg weakness and sensory loss.
  • Skeletal irregularities include scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that does not usually cause pain until middle age; lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back; and other congenital anomalies of the spine.

The ELDOA can address these

As the ELDOA helps redistribute tension, it creates space. As a result of that its effects are often immediate.

Local effects:

  • Facet joint approximation is eased
  • Intervertebral disc hydration is stimulated
  • Improved joint mechanics
  • Increased venous return
  • Normalisation of muscle tone (by extreme eccentric contraction)
  • Proprioceptive facilitation of the spine
  • Improved sense of well being and awareness

General effects:

  • Normalisation of myofascial tensions throughout the body, all the while respecting the normal orthopaedic structural imbalance of the patient while actively correcting postural deviations from the norm
  • Decreases psychomotor barriers






The body is a wonderful machine. When we are sick or in pain, medicines, traditional and complementary, offer many tools that facilitate healing. However, we often forget that the body has its own mechanisms of self-regulation and healing.

The body is very sophisticated system of systems to maintain homeostasis. The circadian rhythm, digestive, temperature, and hormonal regulation, just to name a few. They all allow our body to function normally and to react to the unexpected. On the other hand, the slightest disturbance in the fine balance of these systems can soon manifest in depression, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and pain. Sounds familiar?
These dysfunctions are influenced by our lifestyle. The quality of sleep, nutrition and workouts has a real impact on our daily lives and on our bodily, emotional and psychological health.
These dysfunctions are influenced by our lifestyle. The quality of sleep, nutrition and workouts has a real impact on our daily lives and on our bodily, emotional and psychological health.
The Soma Training proves to be an indispensable tool to live every day by exerting the full control of its means. It is a training method, based on the osteopathic approach and a global vision that aims to rebalance all body systems. Therefore, Soma Training helps us to optimize our own body’s self-regulation mechanisms.
In the first rank of the privileged means, there is the ELDOA method (Longitudinal Stretches and Osteoarticular Decoaptation), which aims, by exercises, to create space inside the joints in order to improve the fluidity of movement to reduce the inflammation, if any, and to rectify its alignment.
ELDOA postures are very easy to integrate into any context or environment. No equipment is needed to run them and they only take a few minutes to adopt. The sensations of freedom, strength, and well being they provide are nothing like what other types of exercise produce.
Life choices about our health are the key to a healthy life. Just be aware that simple exercises can have a huge impact on the body's functioning and that ELDOA exercises are MADE to help you!



For people who suffer from lower back pain, chronic stress or fatigue, abdominal or pelvic discomfort

Lying on the back, buttocks well wedged in the corner of the wall and floor and legs raised on the wall

Stretch your legs.
Fold the toes back to the floor in the axis of the legs.
Push the heels toward the ceiling.
Extend the spine from the pelvis to the top of the head.
Stretch your arms on the floor above your head.
Hold the posture 60 seconds.



For people with neck pain, neck strain, headaches, lack of cervical mobility, jaw tension and / or regular computer work.

Lying on the floor with knees bent to the chest

Wear the hollow of the kidneys on the ground
Place the arms above your shoulders, stretched with wrists extended.
Push the palms up towards the ceiling
Tuck your chin in, elongate the back of your neck and lift your head off the floor just to hover an inch above the floor
Keep trying to elongate your spine via the crown of your head away from your tail
Breathe normally.
Hold for as long as possible, up to 60 seconds
To release, grasp the back of the head with your hands and SLOWLY lower your head to the floor.

Finally, thanks to ELDOA training and Soma Training, it is possible to rebalance the self-regulation and self-healing systems of the body. Although these techniques are usually part of a complete sequence, one can also target some systems by repeating rather one type of exercise, as above. The few minutes to help your body recover on its own will be most beneficial.

Introducing ELDOA at IADMS 2018, Dance Science Conference in Helsinki

IASMS 2018 Helsinki

It was a great to introduce ELDOA to dance educators and rehabilitation specialists in Helsinki.



It has been absolutely amazing to connect with a number of great trainers and therapists in professional sport through ELDOA. These professionals are always looking for tools to get better results to take performance to the next level. I’ve had the privilege to learn about how they do what they do while they learned about ELDOA.
ELDOA is an amazing mobility, recovery, rehabilitation and performance enhancement tool for not just the professional athlete.

England Rugby Team

A very busy and productive 3 days with Head of Strength and Conditioning and Physiotherapy of England National Rugby.

Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Hockey Team

It was a privilege to spend time with the Strength and Conditioning Team of the Pittsburgh Penguins introducing them the intricacies of ELDOA.

Harlequins Rugby Team

A very productive day spent with the Strength and Conditioning Team of Harlequin FC on MyoFascial Stretching and ELDOA.

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