Eugonomics refers to the study of normal. While this term means different things to different people there does exist a common perception of what normal means; as in the expression “normal life span.” Life span is, however, a moving target and is constantly changing. It is estimated that the average life expectancy of a peasant in Poland in 1900 was about 35 years. Eugonomics is about changing normal by design not by chance. How does it differ from Ergonomics? Well, ergonomics is the science of optimizing performance. Ergonomic chairs are designed to more evenly distribute loading across the lumbar spine. A ergonomic air conditioner would cool, dehumidify, and filter the air. A eugonomic air conditioner would also inject a substance which, when breathed, would make the lungs function better and last longer. Eugonomics represents a paradigm shift in expectation and opens new vistas of possibility. With the eugonomic approach we can not only optimize body performance but, by design, allow enhancement of what would have been previously considered to have been normal.
A tire has a certain normal life expectancy. Human structures such as their spines on planet earth also have a normal life expectancy. The normal functional expectancy of an athlete’s spine often depends on the sport. It is not unusual for a professional gymnast with congenital Juvenile Discogenic Disease to be totally disabled at age 30. The problem is that the daily insult and injury haven’t decreased (with increasing sedentary lifestyles this has actually increased) while life expectancy has increased. The answer is to design a eugonomic approach to the problem. We know that daily insult and injury would be a great deal less if we moved to a planet with half the gravity of earth. It doesn’t seem that this is an option that will be available for a while. Our challenge then is to create a similar situation for our spines on earth.
Floating in water is an excellent means of decreasing loading on the spine but to actually create negative intradiscal pressures a eugonomic approach such as floating in an inner tube with weights around the waist, on a daily basis, would be a better means of potentiating function of the spine on a long-term basis.<br