Does Posture Matter? Ever feel low on energy? Get sick often? Experience headaches or digestive upset, like constipation or diarrhea? Feel less agile than you used to be? Your postural habits may be behind these symptoms.
As massage therapists, what can we do to help break these chronic tension habits? How can we address and heal these subconscious holding patterns? Creative visuals are effective, in addition to stretching, movement and, of course, massage.
What’s a Body To Do? Desk jobs are notorious for wreaking havoc and causing postural impairments. Sitting for hours on end staring at a computer screen is likely one of the worst things you can do to your body. If you spend a lot of time sitting, make sure both feet are flat on the ground to give yourself a “tripod” of stability for the spine to rest on. Also, be sure to take frequent breaks, even if it just means walking to the window for a moment, or getting a glass of water. And when standing, distribute weight evenly between both feet, and don’t lock the knees or ankles.
Proper posture means the body is aligned so that all the muscles work as they were designed to. On the other hand, poor posture leads to inefficient movement, causing the muscles to have to do extra work. For instance, if the head isn’t resting correctly on top of the neck and spine but hovers over the chest instead, the muscles at the back of the neck have to remain contracted to hold the head up. The results? Circulation becomes hindered, and oxygen and nutrients have a hard time flowing through the body. Contracted muscles are less able to receive hydration and energy, and the tissue eventually becomes hard and fibrous. Eventually, muscles can pull bones out of alignment and cause serious problems and discomfort.
The bottom line is, poor posture can lead to muscular stress and fatigue, which can in turn lead to deficient circulation, compromised immunity, and poor lymph flow–which brings us back to low energy, frequent illness, headaches, digestive issues, and waning agility. So to answer our earlier question, yes, posture matters.
Don’t blame it on your bed or your genetics; you didn’t inherit a bad posture gene, you inherited the habit. The pain is there to show us where our body needs attention and maintenance. Listen to it and use it.
It’s impossible to be completely honest about how your posture looks just by seeing yourself in a mirror. Each of us subconsciously adjusts our posture when we look in the mirror.
To be truly honest about our posture, we need to accidentally see a side view of ourselves in a window or reflective surface of some kind as we’re walking by. That is where you’ll see the real truth.
Old habits die hard, and this is true for muscular habits too. Be sure to schedule a series of massage treatments to help retrain the body. And talk to your practitioner about stretches and posture tips that can enhance your massage sessions. As you progress, you will notice less joint and muscle pain, fewer headaches, more energy, and possibly even stronger immunity and better digestion. Finally, you will develop a stronger awareness of your body and an increased sense of well being.
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