ELDOA. ELDOA. That’s fun to say.

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Okay. Hey, welcome to Goalie Training Pro TV episode 20! We’re talking about ELDOA today, which is sorta like the voodoo magic, pretty much, but I think it has some really good value. So, a lot of you ask about, “Hey, what should I do when I come off the ice to help initiate recovery, to help me loosen up, to help my brain just relax so that I can then go home and go to bed or whatever I’m going to do?”

I think this is a perfect tool for it. At the end of this episode, you’re not going to understand, oh I understand totally why this works and that makes perfect sense. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t even make sense to me exactly but what you’ll do is, you’ll actually try it. I’m just gonna show you one key exercise, which you won’t even believe. You’re gonna try it and you’re gonna be like, “Yeah, wow. I don’t know why I feel the way I feel after just doing that, but I do, so I’m gonna keep doing it.”

It’s a method that was created by a doctor of osteopathic medicine. He’s French and so he’s European trained. His name is Guy VOYER, V-O-Y-E-R, and oddly enough, his name is… he writes his last name all in capitals, which I actually think I might start doing myself. So, the proper way to write his name is all capitals for his last name. Which again, I think I will adopt.

It’s gonna be one of these things that, probably in two, or three, or four years, people are gonna be like oh yeah, ELDOA. I do ELDOA and blah, blah, blah. But it’s actually so specific.

I went to Toronto, luckily there was a course in Toronto and I did just the level one practitioners certification. We learned three exercises in a full weekend course. The full certification process is six levels. And the last two for sure, I’m not sure about the other ones, are five days long each. Like bananas. My brain was gonna explode at the end of two days learning just three exercises for the level one practitioners.

So be a little skeptical. It’s like people who are like I know Active Release, but it’s like you’re not actually Active Release certified. So, you know something but you’re not in the know.

Then people say, what does ELDOA stand for? It’s a French acronym, but it translates in English to, it would translate to loads. L-O-A-D-S, which is longitudinal, osteoarticular, decoaptation, stretching.

You probably came up with that already yourself. Anyway, just for the people who don’t know what it is. That’s what it is.

So it’s longitudinal, osteoarticular, so joints, longitudinal joints. Decoaptation, which is a fancy French word for creating space. Stretching. Okay, that makes sense. Then he describes it as a postural self normalizing technique, which aims to widen the space between a pair of joints.

Oh, why didn’t you say so in the first place!

I think he got onto it because he got very interested in back pain when he was doing a lot of his training. 20 plus years ago, back pain was a big thing, it still is a huge thing. So, he was really looking at why do these people get back pain and how can we improve their back pain. He came up with some methods. There’s this type of decoaptation and he found that his patients would come back and say, my back pain feels much better, and you know what, my asthma has improved.

Now again, there’s clinical asthma and then there’s like having trouble getting air. It’s not that he’s curing asthma, but he’s improving their ability to breathe. Things like that.

And so he saw a lot of the causes of back pain is coming from irritation between two vertebra, and so how can he create that space? Then it goes on to talk a lot about the nerve roots that come out from our spine. So, our spinal cord runs down the center of our spine and then these nerve roots come out. Those nerve roots can have an impact on different parts of our body, our liver, our kidneys, our diaphragm. And so, if they’re getting a little bit compressed, it could compromise some of the input that’s going to those organs on the outside. So, that’s why he thinks he’s coming up with some of these extraneous benefits.

Again, little bit voodoo magic. You probably know me well enough to know that I’m not super woo-woo about it. One of the things they said was, “oh, and after you do this you’ll probably notice a way about your sense of well-being.” And maybe some of you will. I have pretty good sense of well-being all the time so, I still felt good. What I noticed was, my hips and my body did feel like they moved way more unrestricted.

So, it’s not when I walk like, “Oh, I’m so stiff!” But after using these techniques, it’s like, “Wow. I do feel really, really loose.”

Then I also really felt an impact in my breathing. Like I could, just breathe in air, you know all day long, without running outta room, like I often feel when I often try to take a full breath. So, very cool.

He also looks at the spine. So, for those of you who have had back pain, you know when I had my back pain almost a year ago, I just didn’t get better. I got sent for an MRI. Well, they did an MRI like right here. Looking just right where it hurts. But he looks at the spine, everything from my skull right down to my tailbone, and looking at how we can, sorta take pressure off there, which again I think is a really good technique. I’ve continued to use these exercises to help my back feel better, and I think it does. So, very, very cool.

I see it, from my eyes I see it as a mobility exercise because it is a stretch, but it’s also a strength ’cause we’re using isometric actions. Again, it seems weird. It’s almost like pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, but you can lengthen yourself out and generate tension in that lengthening contraction. Pretty cool.

You’ve probably heard me mention the name Thomas Myers before. He’s the guy that turned me onto fascia, and that was probably eight or nine years ago. And actually Bri-Guy, the best physiotherapist in the world. He and I went to New York city to take a course from Thomas Myers to learn about fascia.

Now, Thomas’ approach at that time anyway, was more hands-on, so we were in a room with soft tissue workers, and then Bri-Guy, the physiotherapist, and I was the only strength coach there, but all the techniques were hands-on. So, it was interesting, and I learned a ton, but it’s a little hard too to stop an athlete in the middle of the workout and be like, “Okay, I’m just gonna massage your fascia down here.” You know, it’s like kind of a little weird.

So, this ELDOA is a little bit more movement based. That’s a little difference.

The goals of ELDOA. Create more space between the vertebra. If we create more space between the vertebra, we also create more space for the discs, so they’re not getting as squished. Try to decompress those nerves that come out between the vertebra.

Improving proprioception of the vertebral segment. So, proprioception is, it’s actually by definition, impulses that just go back to the central nervous system in the brain. Giving feedback about a joints position in space. You know again, making us aware. And when you see me do the exercise, I’ll say, “You’re gonna keep reaching, and keep reaching.” And you’ll realize, “Wow, I felt like I was reaching as hard as I could but when you cued me, I felt like I could reach more.”

Improve your proprioceptive, your awareness of your spine position and hydrate the disc. So, if we can decompress the discs, we can get them a little bit more hydrated, and again, not so squished.

Again, just going back to having my back pain, and I had one of our client’s who is actually one of my mentors, one of my heroes, his name is Dr. Peter Fowler. He’s a knee surgeon, but I had him look at my MRI, and he said, “If that disc is compressed, or there’s a bit of an end plate fracture that decreases that space, then the facet joints are gonna sit on each other too. You know, kinda rub and over time build up some arthritis. So if we can’t get that space back, then there’s nothing we can do that’s gonna stop the wear and tear on the facet joints, as well.”

It was like, “Oh great, excellent.”

Contraindications so that means you probably don’t want to do this if you’ve had spinal fusions. I don’t know that they still do Harrington rods anymore but back in the day, if people had really bad scoliosis, they would put in some rods. If they’ve done hip replacement, just on the hip ELDOAs. In the early going, ’cause some of the positions you are not supposed to be in early on. If you have acute inflammation. So, if you just hurt your back, ding-donged your back, don’t start going and trying to do ELDOAs.

If you’re pregnant, ’cause you know what, you probably couldn’t get in half the positions anyway, or if you have upper cervical tears or instability. Also, if you have like a tumor or something like that in your bone. Don’t do that.

When we get down on the floor in a second to show you, the breathing is a lot more important than the axial length. We’re trying to get the length but don’t neglect the breathing. It’s not just, “Oh, and make sure you’re breathing.” You’re really trying to breathe in.

You’re gonna breathe in through your nose. Full, full breath.

Breathe out through your mouth. Full, full breath.

We wouldn’t do this right before a training session. We would do it maybe two hours before just to let the body, again reset as we go. You gotta be well hydrated. You’re gonna do a little warmup, like a dynamic warmup first. You’re not gonna balance when you do this. You’ll see, it’s hard when you do it.

I did it with Tyler and he was like sweatin’ by the end of a minute, and his face was red. It’s intense, and you’re really reaching, but you’re not tryin’ to force anything. So, keep that in mind.

So, we’re gonna do this one, the L5-S1. I picked it specifically for goalies because our pelvises get so compressed, and so torqued. So, this works just this segment just right down in your lower back. So, we’re gonna try to create a little bit of space in there.

So, we’re gonna get down on the floor. I found a good way to get your bum right next to the floor and wall. If I sit right next to the wall with my hips, then I just swing my legs up, my bum will pretty much be right at the wall. Now, if you can not get your legs straight without major discomfort in this position, then just walk your bum a little bit away from the wall to get a comfortable position where you can straighten your legs, okay?


So, what we’re gonna do is try to get ourself centered. And so, if you were in the gym and we were doing this together, I would look at you from the top and see if you’re lined up. Because we did it in the class, some people would lie down and we’d be coaching and say, “Okay, do you feel centered?”

“Yes, I do.”

But they’d actually be a little bit crooked. So, get feeling centered, but then even have somebody look at you and see if you’re sorta squared, so shoulders stacked over your hips, knees, ankles.

And then what we’re going to do is try to kinda lengthen our spine a little bit. So, almost like we’re being pulled from the crown of our head, making ourselves nice and long. Not shrugging and not getting tense, but just really trying to lengthen. Trying to push my tailbone towards the wall and my head straight out this way. And keeping my ribs down so I don’t wanna get my ribs flaring up. Keeping those ribs down.

And then we’re just gonna ease into it, kinda do a little alternating march on the wall. Sliding our heels up and down. And this is always done bare feet or socked feet.

Then we’re gonna bring both our legs up, and we’re gonna reach with our feet. We’re gonna pull our toes towards us, so that is called Dorsiflexion. Then, we’re going to invert our feet, so turning the soles of our feet towards one another, and then we also internally rotate our thighs a little bit but our toes shouldn’t touch. So, our toes come close but they don’t touch.

So, what I’m doing right now is I’m reaching through my heels as high as I can. I’m pulling my toes towards me. I’m turning the soles of my feet towards each other. I’m reaching through the crown of my head. I’m tucking my chin in a little bit.

So, there’s actually a lot of tension going on. I’m trying to breathe in through my nose, and out through my mouth without losing any of that reaching. Pressing through my sacrum. Pressing my sacrum into the floor without flaring my ribs.

Then I’m going to reach up towards the ceiling with my hands, and we always externally rotate. So, I extend my wrist, again reaching through my fingers, extending my wrists. Turning into external rotation, which is with your thumbs on the outide. So, reaching, reaching, reaching.

Then what I’m going to do is bring my arms over head but still breathing, still reaching. Keeping my ribs down. Pressing my sacrum into the floor. Pulling my toes up. Trying not to shrug. Trying to get my thumbs to the floor. Just lightly touching. Reaching.

Now, I’m looking with my eyes down at my cheek bones. Looking at my cheek bones with my eyes because there’s fascia in the muscles that control your eyes if you can believe it, and we’re engaging that. Breathing, and I’m gonna try to hold this for a minute but like I never stop. I’m always reaching.


And then when I’m finished, I’m going to release one arm at a time. I’m just releasing my arms. Now, I’m just releasing my legs. Now, I’m letting my spine go. And then my eyes. I’m just gonna sit there for a minute when I finish, for a few seconds when I finish. I’m not gonna pop right up. Then I can roll and come out of that position.

So, it’s a little funky … but you’ll see, if it feels easy to you, like “Oh, this is easy.” Then you’re not doing it right. You have to actively engage in reaching, in breathing, and opening your hand, and reaching with your fingers.

And then pay a little attention to how you feel after. I think a good thing would be before you do it, make a little mental note, hey, just walk back and forth through the room couple times, how does that feel? Maybe come down and do a little deep squat a couple times. Well, what does that feel like? Take in a deep breath as far as you can through your nose, out through your mouth, and then do it. And just see for yourself, how does it feel? What feels better?

At the very, very least, just the focused breathing is gonna help your body recover after you come off the ice. That’s just physiological. It gets you out of that fight or flight and takes you into a recovery. So, for nothing else, that’s a huge benefit.

Don’t shrug when you reach overhead. Again, it’s not a competition but you’re just constantly trying to reach and reach through it, but not like getting anxious about it.

Breathe. Don’t panic about it.

Release one segment at a time. Arms, legs, torso, then eyes.

The looking at your cheeks is a really important part of it. Some people in our course felt a little “woo-woo” looking at their cheeks. Now, there was an explanation like, “Oh, that fascia pulls on your somethin’, somethin’ and makes you woo-woo.” If it just seems like a little too much overload, then just bring your eyes up and relax. It’ll be fine. Which again you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is crazy.” It’s true, there’s a lot going on.

Yeah, that’s all I had.

The last bit I had was just is it decoaptacion? Are we creating length? I don’t know and I haven’t seen research on it. When we did it, we would put our hands on and sort of feel in between the segments and be like, “Yeah, like I feel it.” But I don’t know.

But is it stimulating some of the fascia? And even at very least, teaching you to be long again, not to be compressed. I think that has tremendous value. Is there a nervous system input to lengthening in that way? Absolutely, there is.

Even our nerves, getting into those extended positions, our fascia and our nerves are getting some kind of input. Fascia is very dense. It’s sensory nerves. So, if we can feed some information into them that tells our body about how our position in space, how we’re moving, when I tighten this muscle what happens? That really has huge benefit too.

I think a great time to use it is when you come off the ice and maybe you do a little cool down stretch or a foam roll, or whatever. Then, do this as your last thing. They suggest you use this one before you go to bed. It’s just kind of a bring you down, which I think is a great idea. And also take some of the pressure off of your spine and gets your spine a little more hydrated, a little lengthened. And we will use it this summer probably at the end of our workouts. That’s just a final thing to wrap it up.

So, that’s what I learned about the ELDOA.

ELDOA, Postural Restoration Institute stuff, that I’ve shared with you, which is the asymmetrical stuff, (we do this one on one side and this on the other side). It’s neat to just learn from these people that look at the body a different way and that really operate on a different level. They’re so smart but they see things in a less traditional, science-way, that there’s tons to learn.

That’s one of the biggest things I try to do. Keep an open mind because if we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten. Hey, that’s not bad either, we’re doin’ pretty well but let’s look if we can find a little way to make it even better.

I think this ELDOA has tremendous benefits for goalies. So do me a favor, and make sure you try it, please? Then let me know how it feels.

This is Maria from Goalie Training Pro TV, episode 20. See you.