How to maintain correct posture
by Matvey Kipershtein BA Registered Massage Therapist
I always start my massage treatments with a quick postural scan, and all too often I hear my patients say: “Oh, my posture is awful”. “If only I could keep myself properly positioned at the desk, my neck would feel so much better”.
So why is it so difficult to keep our bodies perfectly aligned even though we know how our bodies should look like?
Moshe Feldenkrais, who pioneered the field of mind and body connection, has pointed in his book The Potent Self that habitually improper posture is not as simple as it may appear to someone who can think it can be remedied by substituting by a better posture. When you do so, the conscious control is overriding. The overworked muscles fatigue, and the inhibited ones waste away, the whole spatial body image is distorted. The body sensation is found unreliable and is compensated for by an increased use of the eyes to supplement and correct the faulty muscular account of the body in space. Every action now needs a considerable time of thinking out and preparing for. Constant attention to the muscular tension is difficult to maintain for long periods, hence the sensation of tiredness, and falling back to habitually faulty posture.
That is why it is very difficult to just put yourself in the ideal position. An effort to do so usually results in the body being voluntarily held in a very rigid state. The breathing becomes restricted as we feel aches in the areas that work to keep us erect, such as low back, neck and shoulders.
Throughout my practice as massage therapist and working with my own body I came to realize that instead of pushing against myself, it is much easier to add something new and the old inefficient patterns will fall out effortlessly.
The first step to any change is awareness.
Breathing is the primal rhythm of our bodies. Paying attention to it is the key. It will tell you a lot about yourself. Feel the wave raising from your stomach and moving up to the chest as you inhale. Observe the abdomen passively falling and then the chest gently collapsing as the air effortlessly leaves your lungs on exhalation. Did you notice any tensions hindering that smooth flow of air? Try to let go of these tensions. How does it affect your breathing? Do you feel any difference in the tension at your back, neck and shoulders?
Start by adding small breaks to your daily routine to listen to what your body has to tell you. Take a short walk. Change doesn’t have to be painful. Add to your life. Let someone with expertise give you a different perspective and help you. Sometimes all that is needed is a little push in the right direction. See your massage therapist to release those tensions, take a yoga class or Tai-Chi.
Keep a positive outlook and keep in mind that the pain is the last signal your body sends to let you know that it has a problem, and it needs your attention. It should not be your sole focus. But don’t ignore it either by keeping yourself busy or taking pain killers.
Body’s tissues have memory of their own, and all traumas that you experience tend to accumulate and cause these problems. Disappearance of pain and discomfort will follow in due time as your body regains its innate balance
Matvey Kipershtein BA RMT
For more information please contact Matvey Kipershtein - Yorkville Integrated Health Clinic. 94 Cumberland Street, Suite 905, Toronto
Copyright © 2009 Matvey Kipershtein
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