The Elaine Petrone Method
Acorn Media // Unrated // $24.99 // February 28, 2006
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted February 8, 2006
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The Movie:

I've got a pair of blue balls. These small, blue plastic balls are the main instruments used in the Elaine Petrone Method, a way to reduce muscle tension and reshape your body, according to this introductory DVD program. The small blue balls (a little bigger than an average orange) are meant to, among other things, be laid on in order to allow the muscle tension in your back to relax. Combined with breathing exercises, the program doesn't ask you to do much: you lay on the balls or use them with other parts of your body.

The program starts off in a rather uninspired fashion, as a series of testimonials make this feel like more of an infomercial than an actual program. Given that people watching will have already bought the program, we don't want to know how good it is, we want to know how it works. Petrone, a former dancer who started to develop chronic muscle pains so bad that traditional medicine wouldn't help, and she found herself walking with a limp. The program she designed helped her heal, and she's been teaching it for 20 years, according to the DVD.

The main body of the program starts about 8 minutes in, and opens with a section devoted to breathing exercises. Obviously, with the amount of stress in the average day, rushed breathing is an issue and creates various health problems. This section offers some techniques to calm your breathing and release tension.

Afterwards, we get into using the balls for the back area. This involves positioning the ball or balls under the back at various points and putting weight on the area in order to let the body realign itself. While I'm not someone who suffers from back pain, I do have some minor tension in my lower back due to posture that's admittedly not optimal. Placing the balls under my lower back did start to relieve the tension. While I can't say it'll work for everyone (so does a note that comes on before the program starts, which states that the program is not meant to replace medical help for medical issues), this remarkably simple method did offer some relief.

Note: While the back cover of the DVD notes that the method can help with headache, shoulder and neck tension and other issues, the DVD focuses nearly entirely on the back (more specifically, the lower back.)

The DVD

VIDEO: The 1.33:1 full-frame presentation is fine for the material, with adequate sharpness, accurately presented colors and only a few minor artifacts.

SOUND: The stereo soundtrack remained crisp and clear, with distinct music and dialogue.

EXTRAS: An interview featurette with Petrone. As noted, a pair of balls are also included.

Final Thoughts: While I did enjoy my brief time using this surprisingly simple method of realigning the body (specifically the back), the DVD did take a little too long (especially with a total running time of 54 minutes) to get started and, given the fact that the DVD focuses entirely on the back, it may not be of much assistance to people who have issues in other areas of the body. Although I haven't read it, the book version (which also includes a pair of balls) apparently goes over using the method for the back and other areas of the body, and may be of greater help (and is also available for less.)


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