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Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living Paperback – August 14, 2007

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Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living + Pain-Free Sitting, Standing, and Walking: Alleviate Chronic Pain by Relearning Natural Movement Patterns + Somatics: Reawakening The Mind's Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health
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Editorial Reviews


 "Williamson's true gift is guidance in understanding the connection among body movement, self awareness, and relaxation."—Library Journal

"This book contains the keys to living fully and freely in your body."—Christine Northrup, MD, author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom and Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

"Everyone in pain, and those who treat them, should read this book."—Karen Margolis, MD, Senior Clinical Investigator, HealthPartners Research Foundation; Associate Professor, University of Minnesota Medical School

"Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living is an important contribution to the literature on diagnosis and treatment of musculo-skeletal problems."—Douglas W. Brown, MD, President, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine; former Team Physician, U.S. National Soccer Teams (1986–2004)

"Craig Williamson has written a brilliant book: clear, concise, and profound. Reading it may not only change your awareness of your body, it may also change your life."—Donald Hankinson, DO, Director of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine at Maine Medical Center

"Craig has paid his dues in many years of exploring the field, from the arts to psychotherapy to the biomechanical sciences. His book is a breath of fresh air—an appeal to the innate but largely unused power of our kinesthetic intelligence to heal and 'right' ourselves."—Tom Myers, LMT, NCTMB, author of Anatomy Trains

"I recommend Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living for yoga teachers as well as anyone who wants to move with better function, elegance, and ease."—Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, physical therapist and yoga teacher since 1971; author of six books, including A Year of Living Your Yoga

"Craig Williamson's Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living is a revelation for people who seek relief from chronic bodily pain. It is a book about healing that works, because Craig knows the vital importance of awareness to healthy living."—Robert K. Hall, MD, cofounder Lomi School; author of Out of Nowhere; Dharma teacher

"Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living opens the door to healing through increased awareness—for professionals, athletes, dancers, and people in the street. Author Craig Williamson extends an invitation to all readers to discover their own habitual patterns and transform connections between their minds and bodies. I recommend it to students and teachers alike as an accessible and useful guide to come back to again and again."—June Vail, Professor of Dance, Bowdoin College

About the Author

Craig Williamson, MSOT, is an occupational therapist who treats patients with persistent pain problems. He is the pioneer of Somatic Integration (, an approach to muscular pain relief that includes muscular retraining techniques and specific, targeted exercises. He lives and practices in Portland, Maine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter; 1 edition (August 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590303679
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590303672
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Craig Williamson, muscular pain specialist, has developed Williamson Muscular Retraining based upon 30 years of experience of helping people with all manner of musculoskeletal pain. He is the author of Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living. The essence of his work is the use of kinesthetic awareness as a therapeutic force. This is combined with knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and psychology into a holistic approach to solving ongoing pain problems. Craig has an independent practice in Portland, Maine, where he works with clients who have a wide range of pain issues. Many prominent orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, osteopathic physicians, and physiatrists send their patients to Craig to help them sort out difficult musculoskeletal pain problems. In addition to a Masters Degree in occupational therapy from Boston University, Craig has an extensive background in hands-on bodywork, anatomy, corrective movement, dance, and psychotherapy. As an expert in floor exercise and posture education, he does video consultations with people internationally. Craig teaches professional level courses in Williamson Muscular Retraining to physical therapists, yoga teachers, and pilates teachers; he also teaches his techniques in body use and injury prevention to performers of music, dance and theater. Williamson Muscular Retraining is the basis of his course at the University of Southern Maine, where he is a faculty member. For more information, go to

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By C. Ehringhaus, Ph.D. on October 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a massage therapist, I found Craig Williamson's book to be both absorbing and enlightening. Williamson's book reads like a novel but explains clearly how chronic pain frequently has a neuromuscular rather than a mechanical root cause. He explains that muscle tone is influenced by the nervous system, coining the term "kinesthetic dysfunction" to describe people who are unable to tell whether or not their muscles are tense or relaxed. Williamson says that the neuromuscular system may maintain the cycle of pain long after an injury should have healed. He states, "If you think of a muscle as something that is being tightened, the implication is that someone is tightening it. That someone is you, even if you are not aware of it and do not wish to do so" (p. 62). He suggests that the reasons for musculoskeletal pain--other than structural damage--include reflexive muscular reaction from an injury, dysfunctional movement patterns, poor alignment and body use, kinesthetic dysfunction, and emotions. Although most of us who provide massage therapy do not work with clients dressed and walking about the room, as Williamson does, we can derive insights from his book to aid our understanding and treatment of chronic pain. Specifically, his book reinforces us to think of ways to help our clients become more aware - kinesthetically - of their bodies and habitual movement patterns. I highly recommend this book to LMTs and others who work with people who are in pain.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Writer/Reader on November 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Craig Williamson's book is the best of its kind I've ever read. It is well written and easy to understand. He has made intelligible, the workings of the human body's muscles, tendons, joints and has explained so many of the reasons that we have body pain. If you've been suffering for years this book will turn on the light. When I finished it I wanted to make an appointment immediately but the author who practices his art of retraining lives in another State. I am doing the exercises and wish that there was a companion dvd so that I could be sure I am doing them right. I have written to the author and he is desirous of getting one out as well. Until then I am going to reread the book and continue to learn the exercises with great hopes of one day being free or at least more free than I am now of discomfort.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By HealthyHappySenior on August 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase


8-12-2011: I have had a long life of pain. I know all about doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, Orthopaedic surgeons, acupuncturists, being in traction stretched from my neck as well as my hips while I lay in a hospital bed staring at a stain on the ceiling, and suffering many, many falls, besides developing bad movement patterns and ultimately, being diagnosed with Orthopaedic Arthritis requiring total hip replacement surgery so I could again walk, and suffering 24/7 heinous pain.

I would go see one of the aforementioned professionals, and get some relief for a while, and then something would happen and the cycle of pain would continue. This time, with the Orthopaedic Arthritis, my body went into a complete downward spiral of heinous pain, with absolutely no relief either before or following this surgery. My body became a rigid trunk of jammed muscles from my feet to my head. But, the doctors, physical therapists as well as well-meaning folks at the local gyms, told me I needed to press in on doing my therapy exercises, pushing my muscles to gain strength. Oh the agony 24/7! I've been ready to leave this life!

Out of absolute desperation, I came across Craig Williamson's book Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living. I read about this book, just has you have done. I purchased it. I read Part 1 for learning how my body works and should work. This took me 1 ½ months to really read Part 1. Then, on 7-15-2011 - less than 3 weeks ago, I commenced with a few of his specific therapy exercises listed in Part 2.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A reader from New York on December 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary book that contains a thorough discussion of kinesthetic awareness, along with simple exercises to help you increase flexibility and reduce pain.

I was amazed how quickly these exercises helped me. For instance, in one exercise, the objective was to isolate and rotate the oblique abdominal muscles. At first, I couldn't even feel how to rotate the right oblique. Then, I became aware of it, rotated it as suggested and experienced a significant opening. My breathing was fuller, and my posture improved. My neck felt better.

For the last few months, I have been doing about 20 minutes of these exercises every day -- with wonderful results. In some areas of the body it takes time to get results -- with other parts, you may get some relief right away. Be patient.

It has been my experience that most doctors, yoga teachers and massage therapists are unaware of somatics and exercises related to kinesthetic awareness. Yet these kinds of exercises are precisely what many people need -- especially those who have tried traditional stretching and yoga with little results.

I am grateful to Craig Williamson for sharing his expertise in this book and I give this book my HIGHEST recommendation.

By the way, like some other reviewers, I have tried Hannah somatics and Egoscue. Hannah somatics provided me with benefits, but Craig's exercises have helped me even more. I agree that Egoscue can offer some benefits but it takes a huge time commitment and I have found that Craig's exercises are more effective and don't require a huge commitment of time. I enjoy doing these exercises.
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