The Yellow Page Wedge Story
By Benita Kropman
I came accross the Yellow Page Wedges for the first time in 1990 when I shared premises with Jenni Rorrison (who now practices in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa).
Jenni copied the technique (which is based on applied kinesiology) from the late dr Ron Holder, guru, chiropractor and applied kinesiologist, who was based in Johannesburg and who developed this unusual but brilliant technique.
Ron became famous for the wedges after he fixed Zola Budd in the 80’s when she suffered from a chronic hip injury. He also made the front page in some British newspapers when he managed to get Linford Christie back into the 100m final at the World Athletic Championships in 1995 after he injured his hamstring in the semi-finals. One of the tabloids showed a full page caricature of Linford on the back page the morning after the race, running with Yellow Page telephone directories strapped to his feet!
He also made the headlines when he was the official chiropractor (using mainly yellow page wedges) of the Springbok rugby team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
I was working with Elana Meyer, South African Olympic 10 000m silver medalist and magnificent long distance runner, in the late 90’s when I was first introduced to the guru himself. Athletes from all over the world, including many top football players from the UK were prepared to fly anywhere to get their magic wedges from this interesting and talented man. Ron had a certain magnetism to him and knew how to make people believe in him and his controversial methods, not withholding the fact that they worked like magic.
Although many people, including myself, tried to convince Ron to teach us the technique, he never agreed. I think he was worried that we would destroy the good reputation of the technique if we were doing it incorrectly.
Due to the magnificent results achieved with the wedges, I decided to watch Ron carefully and eventually managed ‘to break the code’. By adding the principles of the Lyno Method to the wedge technique, I managed to develop my own style of wedges which were smaller than those built by Ron and also came out quicker due to the combination with holistic fascia release. So where Ron’s wedges needed to do both the alignment and activation, I did the alignment by using fascia release and then only needed the wedges for the initial activation, until the muscle could activate itself.
I wanted a technique that was simple enough so that my athletes would be able to build their own wedges if they were competing abroad or if I was not available.
Over the years many of my athletes, including Lieuwe Boonstra, Johan Sadie and Ashwin Willemse, build their own wedges to maintain neutral body alignment and muscle activation.
So why Yellow Pages and not any other paper?
Ron soon realized that the yellow ink in the Yellow Pages had a preservation effect on the paper which caused it not to increase in volume when it gets wet. If you wet a White Page directory or any other paper, it will soon swell up to almost double its size, and remains the bigger size when it dries. However, if you wet a Yellow Page directory, it stays exactly the same size no matter if it is wet or dry. Athletes perspire when they run and often run in the rain or through water, which could result in wet wedges. Wedges are made to a very specific height and adding one single page could cause non-alignment. We therefor never take a chance to build a wedge with paper that might change in size.
So what is the difference between Yellow Page Wedges and orthotics?
Wikipedia gives the following definition of orthotics:
Foot orthoses comprise a custom made insert or footbed fitted into a shoe. Commonly referred to as “orthotics“, these orthoses provide support for the foot by redistributing ground reaction forces as well as realigning foot joints while standing, walking or running.
An orthotic is therefor a semi-permanent or permanent structure which is placed in the shoe to support the neutral form of the foot and ankle. The orthotic is made specifically to fit the individual’s foot, which is a much better option than buying a shoe with support, which is obviously not made for your specific needs.
Yellow page wedges
Yellow page wedges (the Lyno version) is made of paper and built with masking tape and is used not as a support, but as a muscle activator. We only build wedges once we have released locked fascia patterns and the muscles are aligned and ready to be activated. When adding the wedges to specific areas in the shoe, we target the proprioseptors (sensory receptors which receive stimuli from within the body regarding position and movement) which then sends the message to the brain, indicating which muscles to activate. As soon as the muscles show activation, which normally takes a few hours to a few days, we remove the wedges and start strengthening the muscle.
Our biggest challenge at this point is that our beloved Yellow Page telephone directories might soon be replaced by the digital version, which means that we will have to find another source to make our wedges. So, please, if you have a old or new Yellow Page directory lying around your house or office, please take it to your nearest certified Lyno practitioner.