by Cat, Sept 2019; updated March 2020
I received this Self Sotai information from my acupuncturist who also practices Sotai (1). From Wikipedia, it is “a method of neuromuscular reeducation and unwinding muscular holding pattern.”
I’ve been having problems in my hip that keep coming back after chiro treatment – one hip is higher than the other (from a tilt), so that leg appears shorter than the other, and I tilt to that side when walking. These exercises balance the entire body and the result after my first experience was amazing.
Prior to walking me through these exercises, my acupuncturist did muscle testing (kinesiology) while I was standing upright; I was weak. Then he put 2 cork foot-levelers under my left foot (the lower-hip side), and repeated muscle testing; I was strong. After doing the exercises, he did muscle testing again, without the foot levelers, and I was STRONG. He had me walk around the table – no limping. Hooray, and now 2 days later I’m still not limping.
He then gave me a handout summary of each exercise, as I have transcribed below (with my notes/comments in square brackets). They start at the feet and move up the body. He recommends doing these exercises 2 – 3 times daily, especially first thing in the morning (right after getting up), and last thing at night (before going to bed).
I also have vertigo problems, so after finishing the Sotai exercises (1), I do the Epley Maneuver (2,3), first for the left side; the next time I do Sotai, I do for the right side. This works great because I do both while lying on floor or bed.
Note: I will be moving this to my Health and Metabolism blog, once I get all my old articles moved from my iweb site.
Self Sotai Exercise
The following is from my acupuncturist, Steve Martinez, originally from us.sotai (1); I’ve added my comments/further explanations in square brackets, as [x], based on his explanations.
- Do at bedtime in the morning and evening [right after getting up for the day, and right before going to bed].
- Breathe deep into the abdomen in-between each exercise.
- Do each exercise about 10-20 times and take a deep breath – inhale and exhale – at the end of each sequence.
- Anything that hurts, don’t do it, or don’t move to a far range of motion. Shorten up the movement, or do more movements to the easy side.
- Strengthens the immune system, moves the body activating core muscles.
- It’s wonderful; you will feel good.
- SAFE and EASY. Have FUN with it!
[If desired, you can precede or follow these exercises with the Epley Maneuver (for vertigo) on the same bed (if it has a firm mattress); I do this when my vertigo is evident.]
EXERCISE – Done lying on floor or bed
[NOTE: my acupuncturist suggests not doing it on a bed if it is not firm.]
Take a very deep breath in and out, between each exercise – or maybe 2-3!
[To begin: [Lie on the floor or a firm bed, on your back with arms at your sides and legs straight, and take a deep breath in and out. Then do each exercise, in order.]
- [Windshield Wipers: Spread your feet about 6 inches apart, to give room for the rotation.] Rotate feet and legs so feet move like windshield wipers.
- Move feet up and down (dorsiflex) like stepping on a gas pedal and letting it go. [Alternate your feet: when L foot is stepping on the gas pedal, the R foot is letting it go, then reverse.]
- Feet and ankle circles in both directions; the legs should also move.
- Bend your knees, keeping feet on the floor/bed and together; move legs [knees] side to side. Place your hands on abdomen and clasp them. As you move your legs, you can allow your hands to float across stomach starting at the top and moving downward to gently massage the abdomen in a criss-cross fashion.
- Baby Bridge: [while knees are still bent], lift [curl] only buttocks and sacrum off floor/bed [using abdomen muscles], [then relax back down to bed]. This is only hip extension. [It’s like rocking your lower back.]
- Big Body Bridge engages whole body to raise up and rest on lower shoulders at the pectoral line. [I was instructed not to do this exercise yet.]
- [Twist]: Bend knees [with feet and knees apart by about a foot or more on the floor/bed, and] with arms straight to the sides [like a cross], twist knees and arms in opposite directions, and the neck is also going side-to side.
- [When knees move to right, dropping to the floor/bed, the arms should move in an arc over the head to the left side; then return them to center before knees drop to the left and arms move in an arc to the right side.]
- [The movement of the knees – especially dropping to the floor/bed – is especially important for me because I often have one side higher than the other due to hip being out of place.]
- Back-stroke: [Un-bend at knees so legs are straight on floor/bed], swimming [as if] doing back-stroke; allow body and head to rotate side to side. This is good for the nervous system. [NOTE: If you have vertigo problems, you may feel dizzy as your body and head move from side to side during exercises 7 and 8. This is an indicator to follow these 10 exercises with the Epley Maneuver (2.3), which resolves vertigo problems if you do the maneuver regularly.]
- [Goal Posts]: Legs straight and arms are bent out to the sides [perpendicular to body and bent up toward ceiling at elbow – like goal posts, then] with alternating arm movement up and down. [That is: keeping arms bent at elbow, move lower arms down to floor/bed with hands pointing past the head, then back up and down to floor/bed with hands pointing toward toes; and repeat. Make sure upper arms remain perpendicular to body, and arm remains bent at elbow.]
- Reaching to the stars, up towards the sky as far as you can reach, like catching and grasping a star, then pulling it down; [alternate sides: reach up with R arm, then with L arm, etc.]. Slowly speed up. This is good for thyroid function.