We have been taught many ways to have ‘good’ posture: engage the core, shoulders back, push the chest out, pull the chin in and more. What if I told you that posture is not how you hold your body in a static position but how you carry it while moving …
Our bodies need to be soft and pliable as we move in order to have the energy that comes from our impact on the ground move through our bodies. This can’t happen as it should if we are working to have a certain posture.
We orient our bodies by the support we get from the ground and the awareness of the space surrounding our body. Your balance over your feet is just as important as the typical good posture areas of shoulders, chest, core and neck. If our support from the ground is not strong, we end up bracing ourselves to stay grounded. This bracing leads to decreased space between our joints, poor movement patterns and unhealthy or ineffective posture.
You can’t train your muscles to have good posture if the surrounding tissue is bracing to keep you grounded. There will be a constant tug of war, and your inner tissues will keep you returning to the bracing pattern. It is possible to unlearn these poor postural habits. Our body is plastic and mouldable, and we can unlearn and relearn how to get proper support from the ground so we can stop bracing. We are not stuck in our current state!
An example of this is the client shown in the accompanying photo. She went through the 10-session Structural Integration protocol and one follow-up session. As you can see in the left ‘before’ photo, before any treatment she had rounding of her upper back (kyphosis) and a deeply arched low back (lordosis), hyperextended knees, her abdomen protruded, her shoulders and shoulders rounded forward. Her height was about 5-foot-5 on the grid. After the 11 sessions, her tissues reduced the bracing patterns and opened up – you can see she has a normal curve to her upper back, straight legs, her shoulders are now centered, and her low back is softly arched. Her height now shows about 5-foot-10.
If you are interested in discussing how Structural Integration may help you, I offer free consults – in person or online. In the consult, I will have you share a full health history of your body, injuries, postural concerns, restrictions in your sport and discuss your goals. From there, you can decide if Structural Integration is a good choice for you.
by Gwen MacLean
Certified Structural Integrator, Registered Massage Therapist
Living Balance Clinic
551 Knights Hill Road, London