People with hypermobility get an extra benefit wearing the Body Braid. The extra feedback and resistance reduce the risk of overextending and straining joints and ligaments, which is common with hypermobility. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a genetic disorder of connective tissue that often causes hypermobility that can be debilitating. While yoga can be a very healthy activity, people with hypermobility can overstretch and cause injury. This is particularly tricky because people with hypermobility are “good” at doing the stretching that yoga encourages, but also tend to overstretch that causes problems.
The Body Braid is especially helpful for people with hypermobility in three ways. The Body Braid gives extra sensation feedback as you stretch out the elastic material. You are more aware of feeling the stretch as it is happening, so you are more likely to adjust to keep the stretch within a healthy range. An important benefit is that this added feedback keeps going even when you are not paying attention to it. A key principle of the Body Braid is that it is guiding your movement to be in a safe range and better aligned without having to think about it all the time. A second benefit, in addition to the increased sensation feedback, is the mechanical hold and support that the elastic bands provide. The Body Braid bands are arranged to follow the Fascia Trains that are bands of our connective tissue that coordinate movement. The strong bands transmit the mechanical force clearly from top to bottom and side to side which increases coordination. Wearing the Body Braid links movement anywhere in the body to movement all over the body. The third benefit is returning the spring in our step. Our own connective tissue bands are elastic when we are young, but they become progressively more fibrous and fixed with age and injury. The Body Braid restores the bounce to our movement, aligns coordination and also gives added sensation feedback. The combination helps to keep movement in a safe range.
One concern is that many people with Ehlers Danlos are desperate to try anything that may be helpful. So here are some words of caution. Our aim is to make this easy to use, but the current products are more like tools that you need to learn how to use before they are helpful. It is not something that you just slip on and it fixes your movement. There are two factors to consider before buying a Body Braid. One is that this is a tool for learning more about movement. If you don't move much, it won't do you much good. It works best for people who have a movement practice such as walking, sports, dance, yoga, exercise, or playing with kids – anything that gets you moving regularly. It doesn't need to be fancy, but if moving from the chair to the sofa is your idea of moving, don't expect the Body Braid to help. The good news is that the more you move, the more wearing a braid can help.
The second factor to consider is how willing you are to learn how to put on the braid. Putting on the Basic Body Braid is challenging in that you need to learn the braiding pattern to put it on. If you have any experience braiding hair or rope, that helps. Please look at the instructional videos on the website to see if you are up to this challenge. The Arm Braid has the braiding pattern sewn into the product. That makes it easier to put on, similar to slipping on a jacket. There is a slip-on version of the full Body Braid in development and will be available this summer.
The Hip Belt is an accessory to be used with the Body Braid. Its purpose is to stabilize the bands at the hip, where, like our own fascia connective tissue bands, there is a tendency for the bands to slide down and forward when we bend at the hip.
Here is a testimonial. I wouldn't say this is for everyone, but this is one person's experience of the Body Braid:
I received my Body Braid around a week ago and I just wanted to say THANK YOU!
It is so incredibly fabulous. As an EDS Zebra, I find it hard to exercise and
get my resistance training in but your Body Braid has made my life so much easier.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful invention