The GDS® Method

What is the GDS® Method?

The GDS® Method is a preventive as well as a therapeutic method that considers the relationship between mind and body.

The concept of articular and muscle group interplay has been elaborated by the Belgian physiotherapist and osteopath Madam Godelieve Denys-Struyf. Her strong sense of observation (helped by portrait studies at the Beaux Arts) allowed her to define and progressively adjust a global physiotherapist method that integrates body function and its unbreakable link with psychological behaviour.

All parts of the musculoskeletal system are interdependent, with muscular groups linking all parts together. Muscles are tools of psycho-corporal expression: our mental tensions, our emotions, our feelings, and our way of being all express themselves through the muscular system which influences our posture and our physical movements. When such tensions or actions are repetitive and prolonged, an excess of muscle tone occurs and cumulatively, step by step, causes regions of muscular tension to develop.

This mechanism then determines a progressive joint movement problem that we describe by the term musculoskeletal dysfunction. GDS® describes 6 functional muscle groups which are used in normal body movements. However, when these movements are excessive, muscular tension develops which forces the body into abnormally stiff positions thus reducing liberty of movement and resulting in characteristic postures.

Six functional muscle groups are needed for normal musculoskeletal movement, but disturbances of these can lead to muscular tensions that imprison the body in an abnormal state.

Functional muscle groups

The GDS® Method builds on the assumption that balance across these muscle chains contributes to adequate neuromuscular, biomechanical, and psychomotor control, whereas unbalanced tension across them accounts for subacute or chronic LBP. To balance such tensions, 11 group and 4 one-on-one, individualized sessions of manual therapy, stretching, and exercises are applied to those muscles (e.g., transversospinalis, multifidus, transversus abdominis, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles), and patients are taught movements intended to improve central nervous system automatic control over body positions and movements1.

Available GDS® Method courses in Australia

Thoracic-pelvic region with the pelvic and thoracic diaphragm

GDS Spine

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If you are interested in finding out more about the application of the GDS® Method in clinical practice, you can enrol here.

Dı´az-Arribas MJ, Kovacs FM, Royuela A, et al; for the Spanish Back Pain Research Network. Effectiveness of the Godelieve DenysStruyf (GDS) method in people with low back pain: cluster randomized controlled trial. Phys Ther. 2015;95:319 –336.