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Posture and Health

Is your posture killing you?

One is sometimes compelled to ask, what do we really know about ourselves, and in particular our bodies? Science has made a great many studies and come to a number of conclusions but are these conclusions correct?

Science and medicine in many ways constitutes an educated guess-work and when what some treatment works for a majority without actually causing apparent harm to most users or trailists, it becomes medicine.  In many ways our ancestors had a better understanding of what was to be human in regard to our physical posture.

One of the recent contradictions in modern science has come from the x-rayed spines of so-called primitive or tribal people who live without the aid or encumbrance of modern technology. In contrast with the modern idea of the curvature is of the spine portrayed as normal and modern science and medicine, the spines of remote tribal people have much less curvature than what is normalised in the modern world.

The intelligence of many people in the modern world is minimal, people associate themselves with particular lifestyles and attitudes without any thought of the consequences, and without much physical awareness.

We suffer all manner of postures and if you look at yourself in the mirror, how is your posture? Try it and it's often a good exercise to sit in a public place and watch the people passing by. You will see with people with their toes turned out, you will see people who walk with their feet almost parallel, you will see people walking with their hips thrust forward, you will see people with their heads forward of their body (texters), you may notice that almost everyone's shoulders sit unevenly and even people's heads are held toward one side of the body more than the other.

The S shaped spine seen as normal in modern medicine is less defined in remote tribal peoples and the modern perspective gained by studying the unhealthy may be erroneous. It may well be that we are meant to have much less spinal curvature than is accepted as being normal. This truism can be seen in the IQ test developed by Western scientists with the idea that a perfect score was 100%, but in fact when this test is applied across most of Asia, the average is about 110% and the exceptional high score is over 150% compared to the exception of a little over 100% in Western culture.

One of the most common problems almost everyone has with their body is back ache resulting from excessive or uneven compression of the inter-vertebral discs and sometimes even the collapse of those discs. We must remember that the spine also acts as a conduit and protection for our central nervous system, therefore if the spine is compressed or held in any abnormal position, it's going to prevent the flow of energy between our senses and our brains causing a distortion of perception.

With the spine being collapsed or held in an abnormal position, is not only sense perception that is damaged, but the musculature sits incorrectly and compromises the efficient functioning of our internal organs and circulation. When the whole body is compromised in this way, waste energy and waste products are not eliminated and remain in the system fuelling the growth of diseases and at the same time, circulation and the re-energisation of the cellular structure is compromised and the body becomes physically weakened.

Our phones are killing us.
Whether they cause cancer remains to be seen, but here are some proven ways that they are harming our health. For one, they cause chronic pain in the neck, back, hands and elbows. Secondly, they cause digital eye strain which means two thirds of users experience irritated eyes, blurry vision and migraines. Thirdly, they cause sleep disruption, which can lead to high blood pressure and Type II diabetes. Fourth, the average cell phone is 18x dirtier than a public toilet - in fact one in six iPhones has fecal matter on it - and those viruses, bacteria and germs cause sickness. Fifth, cell phones cause one out of four of the nation’s car accidents. Finally, the WiFi radiation from phones kills sperm. So cell phones are not just killing you but your future offspring too.

In these days of sometimes heavy shoulder bags, smart phones, computer and TV absorption, the forward held chin or face down all compromise the spine which leads to numerous health problems apart from just a sore or stiff neck creating more work for chiropractors and osteopaths.

With a bad posture, our entire metabolism is put under excess stress, organs are compressed and even blood flow into the brain is compromised, and this may well contribute to dementia.

Are we that far from the chimp?

As kids, most of us were told to stand up straight, to keep our shoulders back and keep our hands free.  Yet few of us do that because everyone around us slouches and we have a natural tendency to conform. But this eventually undermines our health. As a child I recall being reminded about posture, yet when I went out and maintained a good posture, peer pressure from other kids who had already decided that slouching was preferable almost made life insufferable.

We delude ourselves by believing that we are free, because we are not. We are bound within political and social systems that most of us must fight against to be happy and healthy. Not only do we need to stand up to those who pollute our environment and eventually poison us, we must learn to stand tall for our own good health and well-being.

Obesity and in particular the potbelly also overload the skeletal structure distorting the spine and compromising the functioning of the body. We can survive for a time but shouldn't we be here to live instead of just surviving? Another popular trend is high heels for women which again distorts their spines and changes the pressure sensations in the feet. The feet contain many nerve reflexes (reflexology) and the imbalance in the foot structure puts uneven pressure on the reflexes in the feet undermining health.

In our rush to survive and in some cases control life, we mistreat our bodies and bring about premature ill-health simply by neglecting our posture. We need to remember that all the systems of our body are dependent on having an upright and open posture and this applies not only to our physicality, but out minds and emotions.

Tips to improve your posture

What doctors think is wrong to the left and right to the right,
however anthropological science is proving them wrong

A good exercise is to stand with your feet together, your heels and back body flattened against a wall. Most people can do this easily enough and the task is to stay there for a few minutes feeling how can you flatten yourself back against the wall and also stand as tall as you possibly can?

When you have achieved this to the best of your ability, maintain that posture as you go for a walk. If you can do this regularly you will work out the actions required to regain this pose which I describe in simple terms:

  • When standing, have your feet parallel to each other and the weight balanced comfortably over both feet and your toes soft. (Is best to do this barefoot.)
  • Tone the muscles in your legs as though you are trying to push away from the floor,
  • tuck your tail bone under to reduce your lumber curvature,
  • breathe deeply and open the chest as best you can and at the same time roll your shoulder blades back and down so that your hands hang comfortably by your sides.

Adjusting your head or actually your neck is a little trickier.

  • When you are standing as tall as possible and you are sure of your balance,
  • tilt your head back slightly so that your gaze comes toward the ceiling.
  • Then keeping ahead where it is in space,
  • lift up through the back of your neck to bring your chin down.

With practice you can do this anywhere and if you must wear any particular shoes, high heels or otherwise, at every opportunity take some time to walk barefoot. If you can do this, overtime many health problems will simply evaporate.  Good posture as one of the most overlooked aspects of healthcare and yet it's something you can do for yourself and doesn't cost a cent.

Posture affects your mentality, so be firm and upright, and you will feel the difference!

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2 comments to Posture and Health

  • Buffy

    Body language is closely related to posture — the way we move our bodies affects how others see us as well as our own moods and habits. In terms of scientific research, the two overlap quite a bit. This isn’t too surprising that our posture and body language affect our thoughts.

  • Elly

    Because the long-term effects of poor posture can affect bodily systems (such as digestion, elimination, breathing, muscles, joints and ligaments), a person who has poor posture may often be tired or unable to work efficiently or move properly.

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