The “Goldfish” That Can Save Your Spine…And It’s Not A Fairytale
History of the Goldfish Exercise
There are significant challenges when it comes to maintaining the health of the spine.
The spinal cord which runs from top to bottom of the spinal column receives little stimulation in normal standing, sitting, walking or running. Yet when it experiences the swim-like flexing of the spine that happens naturally when the pelvis moves from side to side, it is apparent this stimulation has a big effect on respiration and circulation.
One of the first Japanese healthcare practitioners to popularize the many health benefits of this sideways swimming motion in the pelvic region was Seigo Nishi. He created the term “Goldfish Exercise” and taught it as part of his Nishi-shiki approach to self-help healthcare as early as 1927. This exercise has been nicknamed “The Goldfish” because of the similarity to the body moving like a swimming goldfish. This exhilarating exercise helps the spine straighten and positions the nerves so that pressure is relieved. In addition, the Goldfish exercise assists in regulating physiological functions in the organs and nervous system. It also improves blood supply and circulation which improves function in major organs such as the intestines, liver, kidneys, heart, brain and skin.
How to Perform the Goldfish Exercise
Begin by laying on your back on the floor. A yoga mat can make this more comfortable. Stretch your arms above your head, making sure your heels and thighs are resting on the floor, with your feet at a 90 degree angle.
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Warm up the spine before you start the exercise. Stretch your arms out long above your head, with the backs of your arms touching the floor. Gently stretch your arms slightly to the left while your right heel is pushing out for a count of 7. Switch sides and stretch your arms to the right several inches while you are pushing and stretching your legs out leading with the left heel. Keep switching on counts of 7, repeating 5-7 times on each side.
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Place your palms under your neck, bending your elbows. Stretch your legs out with your toes pointing towards your face and your heels pushing away. Each part of your body touching the floor should be firmly grounded. Imagine you are a fish. Start wiggling from right to left like a fish which swims really fast, moving only your neck and feet and keeping the lumbar spine as stable as possible. Do this for a 120-240 count, which should be 1 to 2 minutes.
Perform this exercise twice a day for the best results. Within a few days, you should start feeling more flexible and energetic.
Anyone trying this exercise for the first time will notice the effect in just a few days. One of the main benefits, aside from the quick results, is that it’s such an easy exercise that only takes minutes a day. In addition, there is no need for special equipment or workout gear. This is my idea of a great exercise, minimal effort with maximum results.
As always,be sure to check with your healthcare practitioner before beginning any new regimen of diet or exercise.