11 Aug 2011 Posture!
Has this word crossed your path before? As a child, has anyone prompted you to sit up or stand up straight? The other day during your massage treatment, did we discuss hypotheses of where the pattern of tension in your back, neck or shoulders came from? Perhaps I asked whether you’d worked at your computer, slouched, or had carried something. Or pointed out that those of us who are quite tall often find it a challenge to stand up to their height.
This morning, I’m spending some time writing. I observe myself how, at times of particular focus, I lean towards my computer screen. My neck stretches forward and all the muscles in my shoulders with it. One thing is to know what’s right and the other to follow it – especially when you’re concentrating on something. Or when you’re stressed or tired.
But it’s worth it. Poor posture is the biggest cause of the back problems I see in my practice. Treatment of a back problem is harder to live with than avoiding the problem in the first place. Just as a strengthening maintenance massage is more pleasant than a remedial session. If you increase your awareness of posture you’re working towards making it second nature so it eventually no longer involves extra effort.
Good posture doesn’t only strengthen our musculoskeletal system. It can affect how others think about us and how we think about ourselves. It looks good! Would you admire a slouching flamenco dancer? A tall, open posture also helps positive thinking. Compare thinking negative thoughts while slouched with trying to do the same with an open, chest-out posture.
So, quick check: Sitting comfortably? Sitting straight? Dancing tall?