Articles of Interest

These four articles outline how best to take care of your body while sitting, standing, and sleeping (“SSS”). The purpose of these instructions is to keep your body upright as long as possible after you leave the office so that you can maximize your unwinding progress. This will save you lots of time, money, and discomfort. See also “The Owners Manual for the Body” which is available in our office.

Choose Your shoes – Unlock Your Spine

The idea of putting big cushy arch supports in shoes is relatively new. Thirty five years ago, athletic shoes were almost flat inside, as were all other types of shoes. Most of the world happily walks barefoot or on flat sandals or cotton shoes. The huge health implications of this are now receiving lots of popular support thanks in large part to the best-selling book, Born to Run, which is a great read. It turns out that arch supports do not enhance one’s bio-mechanics or performance. God did not make a mistake by putting a space there that needs to be filled out.

For most people whose spines are locked in compensation, the imbalance caused by arch supports does not reveal itself. For people like you, whose spines are being released and have started to unwind out of the injured and compensating twists, they have had to be in, having permanent arch supports designed into your shoes is a HUGE disservice. They are detrimental to your overall health. They hinder and may actually prevent the unwinding process. This has been tested on tens of thousands of people receiving ABC™ care.

Try these recommendations and see for yourself. If the shoe cannot be modified, toss ‘em out! Buy and wear shoes whose soles are as flat as possible. That does not mean no heels, we are discussing the inside of the shoe (see below). If they have arch supports that are removable –- take them out! If this makes the shoes too big, fill the space with flat innersoles (Dr. Scholl’s, etc) that you can get at a drug store or the professional type that we sell that will outlast the life of the shoe itself. If you need the extra space, just use the shoes without innersoles, or Cobbler’s Cottage sells leather innersoles that act as very thin liners.

Just like you can support your spine and enhance your unwinding process by putting a towel, etc. under the buttock of your BREAKDOWN SIDE when you sit, you can support yourself while standing and walking by slightly supporting your foot on your breakdown side only. Take 2 Band-Aids, put them lengthwise, one on top of the other, so that the pad(s) will be right under the highest part of your arch; take a walk and notice the difference. You can try one or two – most people find one correct. Waterproof Band-Aids last longest. Remember, do this only on the shoe of your breakdown side (right or left). If you want to experiment and do it on the other side while noticing the differences, try it!

Avoid shoes such as “cross trainers”. These have arches molded into the shoe that can’t be reduced. Unfortunately, great shoes like Teva sandals have, over the years, gone from being flat and sensible to arch-sculpted (feels sort of good, but screws up your spinal mechanics). Make sure your shoes are large enough and wide enough in the toe box.

The other issue is heels. Heels are actually good for you up to the point where they are so high, they pitch your body forward past the balls of your feet. Usually one- to two- inch heels help your body stay upright. Exactly how high is ideal for each person depends upon their body, so experiment.

MAKE SURE that the heel part is NOT lower than the arch part. If it is, you will have nothing but trouble. If necessary, build up the heel area with the heel lifts and/or heel chips designed by ABC™ doctors.

Instructions for Sleeping/Resting

These instructions will enhance your unwinding process with ABCtm and save you time and money. Your spine unwinds and corrects itself only when it is unlocked and at ease. You will also sleep more soundly than you can imagine. (It is possible with this technique to sleep soundly on a cement floor, using boards instead of towels.) It sounds strange, but just try it out. It has been tested on thousands of individuals. Do you have to do this? No, but it will very likely save you time and money if you do.

Use Towels instead of your pillows. Towels do not crush like pillows do.

If you sleep on your side:

Spine Unwind, Back Pain, Knee Pain, Stretching Techniques, Ithaca Chiropractor, Chiropractic Ithaca

Start out with a towel pile that is too high and go lower. Start with the towel height approximately the same as your spread fingers, thumb tip to pinkie tip.

If you sleep on your back:

It is recommended that you establish the height of the towels on the floor once before trying the bed. Because you will sink into the bed more than the floor, the towel height will change.


Lay on the floor with about four to five towels folded in a pile. If your body is falling forward, add another layer of towel. If you body is falling backward, eliminate a layer of towel. One layer could make the difference. When you have the correct height your eyes will close almost automatically and you will feel like falling asleep. FIND the height that’s right for you. To accommodate spinal curvatures you may be unwinding the height may not look level to an outside observer.

Use a hand or bath towel and fold one end three times about two inches wide. Fold the other end in half. The towel under your neck is NOT a roll to push your neck up. It should feel like very light pressure.


1. Sitting places the most mechanical stress on the spine. When sitting, choose a chair that has adequate firmness to support the body comfortably without slumping. The seat of the chair should be flat, firm and slightly tilted forward, not backward. The amount of tilt will vary from person to person. For most people, using the foam wedge will greatly speed up the spinal correction process. Use your towel under your breakdown side to support your unwinding. You’ll feel better, and you’ll save months of time! Ask the doctor about your case.

2. A chair back that curves forward pushes the spinal bones forward out of place. A chair back that curves backward allows your back to slump into the chair and pushes your head forward. This pulls spinal bones forward out of place. The back of the chair should be flat without curving forward or backward. When your spine is really healthy, you will rarely need to use the chair back to lean against.

3. A flat, firm seat with a slight forward tilt supports and tilts the pelvis forward. A forward pelvic tilt causes the spine to maintain an upright position without muscular effort. It also causes the low back to curve forward naturally, as it should. The result is reduced spinal stress and muscular fatigue. When relaxing, a slight recline in the chair is all right, as long as the back of the chair is flat.

When sitting and reading, make sure your head and neck are upright. For many of you, this is crucial to your spinal correction. When sitting at a desk or table, prop up your reading material at a 45 degree angle. We sell the “Easy Reader” stand for this purpose. It is well worth it. The same principle applies to computer screens or any craft work. Put the center of your computer screen at eye level. A soft, overstuffed chair or sofa may feel good when you are sitting in it, but it usually improperly supports your body. A poorly supporting chair causes spinal misalignments that often go unnoticed until after you get out of the chair, when it no longer supports you, and you are left feeling the effects of the spinal misalignments. You won’t breathe as well. You wonder why you are tired at the end of the day. You blame XYZ instead of the fact that your spine is collapsed and your brainstem is being pulled. Airline seats are notorious for this, as are lounge chairs. You will be surprised how fresh you can be after a long flight if you fix your seat as recommended in #7.

7. Use the same seat principles given above for your car seat. Again this is crucial for your spinal correction, so that we don’t have to adjust the same vertebrae over and over again. Buy and use a wedge! We don’t want unstable vertebrae being pushed or pulled forward every time you sit in your car. This leads to a waste of time and money. Unfortunately, many car interiors are designed to accommodate the “normal,” modern day postural distortion (= overly kyphotic, with C7/T1 and L4/5 slumped forward). Given enough time, they will distort even a healthy spine. Most car seats can be modified to adequately support you. If they cannot be— time to trade in your car for one that won’t be a health drain! Again, you want the seat to be either level or, preferably, sloping a bit toward the front. You can use either one or even two foam wedges to accomplish this, if you have the headroom. Many seat backs are hollow in the lumbar area (to accommodate those slumpers) where they should be flat. If it is, fill in the space with:

• OK ⇒ pillow or towels or rolled up magazine, cardboard, or road atlas.

• Better ⇒ lumbar support (foam or inflatable).

It is our experience that your participation in these recommendations will be well rewarded. It is our job to get you to find out how great you can feel!

Thank you!!!


1. Sleep on a firm mattress. A firm mattress provides the best support for your body. There should be NO sags. (Sorry, waterbeds have been proven not to allow your spine to correct with ABC.) A lousy supporting mattress may “feel good,” but does not properly support your body. This will delay your healing process as well as create new problems. A good mattress is your best investment. A poor mattress is a health and money drain. Two good mattresses are the Simmons Beautyrest extra-firm being sold at Metro Mattress, Ithaca New York; and the ABC-designed luxury mattress that we sell through the office. (Ask to use our sample in the back room.)

2. The best position to sleep is on your side. When sleeping on your side, your pillow or towels should be neither too high nor too low. Read the reference sheet on sleeping for more details.

3. It is OK to sleep with a pillow between your knees.

4. Sleeping on your back is the second best sleep position. When sleeping on your back do not use a pillow, as it will prop your head and neck forward. Read the reference sheet on sleeping for details on using towels to support the sleep position.

5. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. As your spine gets healthier, you won’t want to sleep this way.

6. Do not read or watch TV in bed, particularly with your head propped at a sharp or strained angle. If you must read in bed, sit up against an “armchair type” backrest, or fashion one with pillows. Or, better yet, lie on your side with the towels supporting your head.

7. Do not sleep sitting in a chair or in cramped quarters. Lie down in bed when it is time to sleep.

8. Be sure to get plenty of sleep to allow your body to recuperate and repair.