Austin Rolfing: Improving Posture

Is posture important? The answer to that questions is very clear….Yes and No. Not very clear was it. But it’s true, posture can be important in some cases and not so much in others. Let’s start off by taking a look at some of the ways that “good” posture can be helpful.

One of the ways that a healthy posture can be a good thing is that it means you’re fighting less against gravity. For example, if your head is properly positioned over your torso (your ears should line up with your mid shoulder as viewed from the side) then you entire structure gets to support the weight of your head. This allows the muscles in your neck to perform their designed tasks of stabilizing and mobilizing (i.e. turning, nodding, etc.). However, if your head is shifted out in front of your body it puts a lot of stress on the muscles in the back of your neck and shoulders to hold the weight of your head up while gravity pulls down on your head. This fatigues these neck and shoulder muscles as they weren’t designed to counterbalance the pull of gravity all day long. So they get tight from over-contracting all day long and they’re not freed up to help rotate and extend your neck and head as they were designed to do.

Posture, from a structural integration standpoint, can be an indicator that something is not right in the body. The postural imbalance might be coming from a usage imbalance, or an entrapped nerve that is not allowing a muscle to fire as it is supposed to, could be a genetic variable, etcetera. There are many ways that posture can be affected.

More important question to ask your self when looking at posture is why is the posture not “correct”? As well as, asking whether the poor posture has a potential to be harmful to the body over time. You can have great posture with pain and an ill-functioning body. In which case, the pain may be stemming from something on a deeper level like an entrapped nerve or an irritated organ. Conversely, it’s certainly possible to have poor posture and have a very efficient functioning body with no pain. What’s most common however is that if your posture is off, it’s a strong indicator that you have some type of compensation going on in your body that needs to be addressed so that your body can function at a more efficient level. As a Rolfer in Austin, I will review your posture and ask those bigger questions to find where the true source of the issue is coming from in the body.

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