Enjoy this video of a practitioner demonstrating the Spinal Twist.

SPINAL TWIST VIDEO

The purpose of the Spinal Twist is to align the spine. It keeps your joints and other structures limber and flexible and can make a tremendous difference in the way you feel as well as improve bodily functions.

The Spinal Twist should not be done forcefully and you should not proceed with it if you are uncomfortable with the procedure. Contact your practitioner for assistance if you are experiencing difficulty executing the Spinal Twist. Clients with back issues may need to see a competent chiropractor before starting the procedure.

If you live in New Jersey I highly recommend Dr. Nick Carruthers. He is an excellent chiropractor and a co-owner of Integrative Wellness Group in Belmar NJ. He knows how to gently and safely adjust the body. Please use Dr. Nick for his excellent chiropractic knowledge and stick to your Nutritional Balancing program, avoiding the functional medicine approach to nutrition that is available at his center. He is my chiropractor and will respect the work you are doing with me. You will receive a discount if you mentioned that you have been referred.

The Spinal Twist is much like the work done by chiropractors as it aligns the body and does so very gently. It can be easily learned, done at home, and performed several times during the day.

Let’s look at the four parts of the Spinal Twist procedure:

  • THE NECK PULLS/TWISTS – Helps adjust the vertebra in the neck:
  1. Lie on a bed, couch or massage table that allows your body to be above floor level. Lie flat on the back without a pillow under the neck.
  2. Feet are together and straight down with the arms by the side or stretched outwards to the sides.
  3. The Neck Reach. With the head centered in line with the spine, gently and slowly turn the head to the right until the head touches the bed. Allow your entire upper body to move to the right as your turn your head. This will allow the upper spine, including the left shoulder, to stretch as your head is moving to the right. You should feel a good stretch and may hear some clicking or popping during the procedure which is okay.
  4. Gently and slowly return your head to the center and repeat on the left side.
  5. For a deeper stretch, gently pull or move your head and neck upwards towards the head of the bed always keeping your head in contact with the bed at all times as you turn the head.
  6. The Neck Twist. Begin in the basic position with your head centered. While looking at the ceiling gently move your head one or two inches to the left and then slowly twist your neck and head to the right as far as you can comfortably go. Keep the left shoulder stabilized. You can slide your head in order to twist your neck all the way to the right if needed. If helps to look to the right so your head will follow your eyes facilitating the twist. Slowly return the head to the center and repeat on the other side. For a deeper neck twist, gently move your head upwards towards the head of the bed as your twist your neck, as though you are unscrewing your neck from your body.
  •  THE ARM PULLS
  1. Arm pull in the air: Lift both arms into the air above your head and lock the hands together. Gently pull both arms to the right and all the way to the bed if possible. Gently return the arms to the center and repeat on the other side. When performing the arm pull correctly, the shoulders may pop or crackle as tension is released.
  2. Arm pull behind your head: Gently move the arms behind your head. The arms may rest a little on the bed by your ears. Now join the hands together and move move both arms to the right as far as possible. Keeping the arms together, repeat on the left. Keep your neck centered looking straight at the ceiling while doing both of these exercises.
  3. Arm pull with hands clasped behind your neck: Start comfortably on the back without a pillow and legs extended downwards but not crossed. Lift up your arms bending at the elbows and couple the hands together behind the neck. Gently move the elbows together in front of your face. Turn your head and elbows to the right as far as comfortably possible. Return them to center and repeat on the left. It is normal and good if the upper back and shoulders click as tension is released.
  • ADJUSTING THE FEET AND LEGS
  1. Toes down. Lie on your bed on your back. Reach for the left foot. Forcefully push the toes downwards and don’t be concerned if they pop as you do the exercise.
  2. Toes back and forth. In the same position, forcefully move all the toes together back and forth from left to right several times. Then forcefully move the toes up and down. Both of these exercises can relieve tension and move energy through the meridians that run through the toes.
  3. Foot rub. You can do a foot rub in this same position. Focus on any areas that are tender. For example, if you have liver pain, rub or push the foot in the liver reflex areas. This can be done for other organs. To relax the spine, in preparation for the spinal twist rub the entire spinal reflex area of the foot. This includes the inside of the foot running from the tip of the big toe, along the arch, and all the way to the inside of the heel area.
  4. Folding the foot. Hold the foot with one hand on the outside and the other hand on the inside. Imagine “folding” the foot upwards. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Twisting the ankle. This can be done by flexing the ankle, moving it up and down and to the right and left. For a more forceful adjustment, hold the ankle with two hands, and gently twist it to the right and then to the left.
  6. The knee pull. This is helpful for some knee problems and should be done very gently.
    • Begin lying flat with both legs extended downward and together.
    • Bend the left knee and move it outward to the side of the body.
    • Hold the left ankle firmly with both hands moving the ankle over the belly with your hands also over the belly area.
    • Gently pull the ankle upwards towards your head as far as you comfortably possible. Stop when you have reached this position making sure the leg and knee are totally relaxed.
    • Quickly pull the ankle towards the head. The knee may pop or click and this is normal and actually the purpose of this procedure.
    • Repeat with the other leg.
  • SPINAL TWISTS

There are five variables to the spinal twists and each are a little different. Try them all and see which works best for you, especially if you have back problems.

The Five Variables are:

  • Spinal twist with one leg straight up in the air.
  • Spinal twist with one leg bent at the knee.
  • Spinal twist with both legs bent at the knee.
  • Spinal twist lying on one’s stomach.
  • Spinal twist in a special position

Variant #1. Spinal twist with one leg straight up in the air. Basic Position (remember this position as I will refer to it through the exercises): Lie on a bed, couch, or massage table without a pillow under the head. The body needs to be above the ground as this cannot be done on the floor. Feet should be extended, together and straight down without crossing the legs. Arms are extended to the sides. Keep the head straight and the eyes looking at the ceiling so that when you twist your spine, your shoulders will stay on the bed.

  1. Lift the left leg so the foot is high in the air.
  2. Point your toes like that of a ballet dancer.
  3. Imagine ringing the doorbell with your big toe. This will move energy through the leg and into the toe.
  4. To begin the twist. Move the left foot to the right swinging it over the right leg while moving it as far as comfortably possible. Ideally the left foot should touch the bed but it may take a little practice to achieve this ideal position. Do this slowly and gently, and then if comfortable, it can be done with more force.
  5. The extra twist. Lie close to the right side or edge of the bed being careful not to fall off. Moving the left leg over the right (as directed above), bring the leg towards the floor. If the bed isn’t too high the leg may touch the floor. This is more powerful so perform the extra twist slowly and gently. It is often necessary to adjust the vertebra of the lower back and hips.
  6. The extra, extra twist. In the basic starting position (see #1,2 and 3), turn the head to the left with the left cheek touching the bed or as close to touching the bed as possible. Repeat the movement for the extra twist (#5). This is a very powerful twist. It is good for realigning the upper back but many people may not need this much force in the twist. Therefore always do this very slowly and gently and stop if you experience any discomfort.
  7. Pulling it in. This begins with the twist but once you have placed the left leg over the right and on to the bed or floor, swing the left leg towards your body or reach for the left leg near the thigh and gently pull it towards your chest and head. This is also a more powerful and extreme type of twist. Always begin gently and never force the twist. As with the other extra twists, this may be needed to adjust the vertebrae, especially in the lower spine.
  8. Return to neutral.Bend the left leg at the knee to release the twist and return the left leg to the resting position parallel to the right leg. Return your head back to the center position with the eyes directly facing the ceiling.
  9. Repeat the procedure using the other leg and following these instructions.
    Do not be surprised if your spine pops or crackles during this procedure as this is totally normal.

Variant #2. Spinal twist with one leg bent. Depending on your posture and position, this can be a more powerful twist than Variable 1.

  1. Assume the basic position. Body lying straight on a bed or couch with both legs extended down, but not crossed, and arms extended out to the side to stabilize your shoulders.
  2. Bend the left leg. Bend it at the knee, bringing the left heel up near your groin.
  3. Lift the left foot. Gently move the left foot over the right thigh and plant the left foot firmly on the bed next to the right thigh. The back with be a little twisted.
  4. Performing the twist. Gently and slowly move the left knee and leg to the right as far as you can until it touches the bed or mat.
  5. Returning to neutral. Bring the left leg back to upright and extend the left leg next to the right one. Allow the right leg to return to a resting position parallel with the left leg.
  6. Repeat the procedure using the other leg and following these instructions.

Variant #3. Spinal twist with both knees bent. This twist is the gentlest and therefore a wonderful way to start the spinal twist procedures.

  1. Assume the basic position. Body lying straight on a bed or couch with both legs extended down, but not crossed, and arms extended out to the side to stabilize your shoulders.
  2. Bend the knees. Draw the knees in towards the chest with the heels moving close to, or touching your buttocks.
  3. Twist right. Gently bring both knees to the right until they touch the bed. Don’t be concerned if the back pops as crackles as this is the purpose of the procedure and perfectly normal.
  4. Return to neutral. Gently bring both knees back to the center and place the legs on the floor in your starting position.
  5. Repeat the procedure using the other leg and following these instructions.

Variant #4. On your stomach. This position is less comfortable. However, for some people it works better for adjusting the spine.

  1. Assume the stomach position. Lie comfortably on your stomach on a bed, couch or massage table, or on the floor. You can use a pillow for your head.
  2. Turn your head. Gently turn your head to the left.
  3. Left leg lift. Lift your left leg, keeping it straight. The heel should be up in the air, at about a 30 to 45 degree angle from your body.
  4. Point the left toe like that of a ballet dancer.
  5. Imagine ringing the doorbell with your big toe as if you are reaching for a doorbell that is just out of reach of the toe.
  6. The twist. Gently move the left leg to the right, moving it over the right leg as far as comfortably possible. Your spine may pop or crackle and this is normal.
  7. Return to neutral. Move the left leg back to the center and then lower it down on to the bed.
  8. Repeat the procedure using the other leg and following these instructions.

Variant #5. Spinal twist in the special position. This is not a difficult twist to execute, but it may be difficult to get into the right position.

  1. Assume the stomach position. Lie comfortably on your stomach on a bed, couch or massage table, or on the floor. You can use a pillow for your head.
  2. Turn your head and shift position. Turn your head to the right and move the body so you are lying somewhat towards your left side.
  3. Left knee up. Bend your left leg and bring it half way to your chest.
  4. Extend the arm. Extend your right arm directly over your head and grasp the edge of the bed. Adjust your body so your hand just reaches the edge of the bed.
  5. Extend and turn the right leg. Keeping your right leg straight, move the right leg backwards, away from your left leg, as far as comfortably possible.
  6. Turn the foot. Turn the right foot outward as far as comfortably possible and prepare for the twist.
  7. The twist. To do the twist, contract your right arm a little, pulling the right shoulder toward the corner of the bed. At the same time, move the left leg forward just a little towards your chest.This torques or twists the spine in an interesting way.
  8. Repeat the entire procedure on the other side of your body.

With any of the spinal twists you may hear some clicks and pops as the back adjusts. This is normal. The spinal twists often creates more relaxation upon completion. It may feel strange or odd if your back has been out of alignment for a long time but this is not reason for worry. If you follow the directions, these twists are safe and gentle.

This gentle exercises stretch the spine and align the spine while increasing the flow of energy through the spine.

It is recommended to do these exercises once or twice a day. Twice is preferred – once in the morning and again before you go to bed at night. Once you learn them, they do not take long to execute. You can do the spinal twist during the day to align the spine as needed. Try these exercises if you awaken in the night as they often will help you fall back to sleep.

Resources for this article are provided by Dr. Lawrence Wilson.