by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© October 2020, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
Defining Perfect Posture
II. POSTURE CONCEPTS
III. ABNORMAL POSTURES
IV. POSTURAL CORRECTION
Benefits Of Correction
Other Methods Of Correction
V. RELATED TOPICS
Posture is a large topic. Correct posture is most helpful for healing and development. It is needed for proper breathing, to allow energy and blood to flow easily to all the organs, to prevent compression of the spine and the organs, and more.
DEFINING PERFECT POSTURE
The spinal column is a tensegrity structure. This term was coined by R. Buckminster Fuller and means a structure that combines tension and compression elements in special ways to give it a lot of strength and flexibility with low weight.
Experts differ somewhat as to how the human frame should look. Perhaps there are different perfect postures for different personality types. However, most agree that:
- The muscles should be relaxed,
- The head erect and straight,
- The ear, the shoulder and the hip should be more or less in a straight line.
- The back should not have a torque, or twist, and should be straight, not scoliotic (sideways curved) nor too kyphotic (bent over). The lumbar and cervical curves should be visible.
- The hips should be neither tilted forward nor back, nor too open or too closed.
- The chest should be rounded, but not overexpanded or collapsed.
- The shoulders should hang down, and slightly rounded – neither too high, or too straight, or too rounded.
- The feet can point inward a little, but not outward.
- The arches of the feet should be a normal height, neither too high or too low.
II. POSTURE CONCEPTS
1. Poor posture has many causes. These include physical, emotional, mental, social, soul reasons and others.
2. General weakness of the muscles and fatigue are important causes of bad posture in many people.
When the body is weak, certain muscles are used incorrectly to hold the body upright and this alters normal posture.
3. Tall people sometimes hunch over in order to fit in with others, or to work or live in homes and work places that are designed for shorter people. People who are shorter often have better posture because they stand up straighter to make themselves a little taller.
4. Chiropractic problems can cause many postural problems, and the converse is also often true.
A person may hold a certain posture to avoid pain, or because they simply cannot stand up straight due to subluxations of the spine.
5. Breast size and weight affects posture in many women. For example, some women prefer to hide the breasts by hunching over. At times, larger breasts help posture because one must stand up fairly straight to be comfortable. Occasionally, a badly-fitting bra can affect posture.
6. Adhesions definitely affect posture. Over time, bad posture also contributes to adhesions. For details about this important subject, read Adhesions.
7. Bad habits of sitting, standing, sleeping, riding in cars, carrying a purse on one shoulder, and possibly other habits can cause bad posture.
8. One’s attitudes can affect posture. For example, a person with low self-esteem may not feel confident standing up straight. Arrogant people may stick out their chest in an abnormal way.
9. Traumas such as accidents, injuries and psychological traumas definitely affect posture. The direct cause of the bad posture can be mechanical, biochemical, psychological or perhaps other. For example, intense fear often leads to a cringing posture. Other types of trauma can lead to a torqued or twisted posture.
10. Copper toxicity and zinc deficiency are associated with scoliosis and perhaps other postural abnormalities. Copper affects the bones and the connective tissues such as the tendons and ligaments that hold up the body. Copper imbalance or zinc deficiency is one cause of poor posture.
11. Toxic metals often affect the posture. They can damage the kidneys, for example, which leads to a need to bend the body forward, often seen in older people.
12. Postures can either yang or yin in macrobiotic terminology, or some combination. Yang is more closed, hunched, full and/or compressed. Yin postures are more open, arched, empty and/or extended. This might include a sway back, for example.
III. ABNORMAL POSTURES
Most people’s posture is not that good. This section describes the most common types of postures that one sees, and some of the causes for them.
1. Cringing posture. This is a common posture. The head is forward and the shoulders and back are rounded.
It can come from copying the posture of a parent. It can also arise from stress in one’s home or elsewhere during childhood. It can also be due to muscle weakness or “breaking the neck”, a maneuver during a rape that damages an intervertebral disc in the neck, usually on the left side.
Cringing posture is more yang or closed.
2. Open posture. (includes sway back and a large or bulging chest). This is more yin and sexy.
3. Hunched posture or kyphotic. This is related to the cringing posture, but can be caused by other factors such as osteoporosis, rape, height over about 6 feet on earth, or perhaps other diseases.
4. Bent or scolosis. This is common in taller people, and those with high tissue copper.
5. Extended posture. (often a dancer). This is a more expressive posture. Think of a ballet dancer with pointed toes.
6. Torqued or twisted posture. This is a yin posture, seen commonly in tall people and those with copper imbalance. Scoliosis is always present to some degree.
7. Narrow body posture. This is often due to nutritional deficiencies. Weston A. Price, DDS wrote about it extensively. The dental arch is narrowed, as are the shoulders and hips.
8. Upward-moving or uptight posture. This is usually due to trauma in early childhood. The shoulders are stuck in a raised position, and chest is usually collapsed (pigeon breast), and the hips are often closed and stuck in a forward position. This is related to and similar to a cringing posture, but does not involve the neck as much.
9. Sagging posture. This is a more yin, general weakness of the body. It is not seen as commonly on earth.
10. Fighting posture. (as taught in T’ai chi and other martial arts). This is not a normal posture, and must be learned in a martial arts class with a good teacher. The entire spine is relaxed and slightly rounded in a concave way, including the neck. This transmits subtle energy downward most easily, enabling a person to resist attack better, and to fight back better, as well.
11. Reduced lumbar and neck curves. This is a common posture, seen in short people, and in many who are uptight and possibly cringing.
12. Tall person’s posture. Tall people are often embarrassed by their height. They tend to hunch over, and to have flatter feet, which reduces their height, as well. The hunch is usually just in the upper back, not the whole spine.
13. Short person’s posture. Short people often have good posture in an attempt to stand up taller. Some have the expanded chest and hips open to look bigger and more threatening. The feet may also turn inward to give the person a little more height.
14. Thyroid type posture. (usually a slow oxidizer). This is a tall, slender build, usually with a more linear shape.
15. Adrenal type posture. (usually a fast oxidizer). This is a shorter, stockier, thicker body.
16. Knock-knee posture (usually bone problems such as rickets).
17. Stuck in sympathetic dominance. (compression of the spinal sympathetic nerves of the lower back and neck and upper thoracic area.
18. Flat feet. (can be part of the tall person’s posture, or can occur by itself as a muscle and tendon weakness or some other compensation.)
19. Collapsed. The tissues are flaccid or weak, leading to a relaxed, but exhausted look to the body. This posture is associated with copper toxicity, nutritional deficiencies and psychological depression or other mental and emotional problems.
20. Body shapes. These include:
A. Apple shape (large trunk and thin arms and legs),
B. Pear shape (most weight low on the body with thin arms and heavy legs and hips)
C. Linear body (progesterone-dominant shape and often more closed hips).
D. Curvy or voluptuous (higher estrogen in relation to progesterone and usually an open posture).
IV. POSTURAL CORRECTION
BENEFITS OF POSTURAL CORRECTION
Some people believe that postural correction is too much work. However, correcting the posture is well worth the effort and expense. It can:
1. Improve balance
2. Prevent some falls, some of which are fatal.
3. Enhance oxygenation of the body.
4. Enhance nutrition and metabolism
5. Enhance self-esteem greatly as one looks better and feels better
6. Enhance athletic performance and even performance of simple tasks such as getting out of bed properly.
7. Prevent muscle strains and pulls.
8. Prevent and correct aches, pains and disability.
9. Prevent some medical emergencies and surgeries.
10. Extends life.
The pulling down exercise. This is an important part of all development programs. One moves subtle energy downward from the head to the feet with one’s mind.
Then a fascinating phenomenon occurs. Subtle energy moves straight upward by itself from the feet to the head. This will help you stand up straighter.
IMPORTANT. Don’t try to make the energy move upwards! It happens by itself and eventually you will feel it. Just move energy downwards or from the head to the feet.
For details, read The Pulling Down Exercise.
This, by the way, is a reason trees can stand up when they don’t have deep roots. They move energy downward and a reaction takes place that supports their upward growth and vertical position.
For this reason, sitting under a scrub oak tree, or any tree, is an ancient development technique. According to the legend, Gautama Buddha used this method to reach “enlightenment”, another word for a developed state.
This concept is also very basic in some martial arts such as tai chi. One only moves subtle energy straight downward. Then the energy automatically comes back up and can be directed out the hands or feet to strike an attacker.
Walking with a book. A very simple and helpful exercise is to walk around your home with a hard cover book on your head. This will automatically assist posture.
The thumbs exercise. When you walk, point your thumbs forward and slightly downward. This will help correct posture to a degree.
Walking along a line. For example, in a home, walk along a grout line on a tile floor. This can help posture to a degree.
The neck pull. This can be very helpful for some neck and back problems. For more on this exercise, please read The Neck Pull on this site.
The Open Position Procedure. This is a newer healing procedure that some people find very helpful. For details, read The Open Position Procedure.
OTHER METHODS OF CORRECTION
1. The development program. This is extremely helpful for correcting all postural problems. It does this by renourishing the body, removing toxic metals, balancing the chemistry, and making the body more yang when it is too yin.
Also, the spine will loosen and adhesions lessen after a number of years on the program.
Procedures such as the red heat lamp sauna, foot reflexology, the spinal twist and the pushing exercise are very powerful for correcting many imbalances at deep levels. Many of our clients report drastic improvements in their posture using just this program.
2. Exercise. Be careful with exercise of any kind. It can change posture, but can impose new tensions on the body. This is a problem with yoga and physical therapies of all kinds.
We do not recommend most yoga, as it is often too strenuous and often cause soft tissue damage by overstretching some ligaments. Never bounce with yoga, and preferably do not use it except for very gentle, restorative yoga. The same is true for pilates.
Stretching exercises. Be careful, as it is easy to pull muscles and tear ligaments with these exercises. Only do these very gently.
Relaxation exercises. These can be helpful in conjunction with the other methods discussed in this article. By themselves, they are usually not that effective to correct the posture.
3. Visualizations. Very helpful is to visualize a string or wire holding up the head and the rest of the body hanging down like a limp puppet from this string. I think this is the best visualization for excellent posture, although there are others. Visualizing while walking slowly and deliberately is excellent postural training.
A martial arts fighting stance is also fairly good, but hard to maintain easily and hard to visualize.
4. An inversion table. This device helps to gently stretch out the spine and can assist posture in this way
5. Other machines or tables. There are other devices that some people like, such as an arched padded metal device that one lays in, to help relax and stretch the spine. The chi machine is another that may help some postural problems.
6. Sleeping without a pillow, on your back. Sleeping on the stomach is always bad for posture. Sleeping on the back without a pillow is usually best for posture.
7. Professional therapies. Rolfing, structural integration, Hellerwork and the Alexander technique are among the bodywork methods used to help posture. They can help but be careful with any professional bodywork. Women may not be safe and must partially undress for rolfing and structural integration.
Some massage, chiropractic, emotional release, movement therapies, and physical therapies are also helpful, but usually not quite as much as rolfing and structural integration.
We don’t recommend most physical therapy because it can impose a different posture using muscle tension. This works quickly, but leaves the body with a new set of tensions, in most cases. The goal should be to release tensions, adhesions and imbalances, not impose new ones.
Always check out any professional before having sessions. Some are not clean, spread disease and women may not be safe.
V. RELATED TOPICS
1. Retracing during a development program. As one heals the posture, at times it will bring up old traumas, memories, feelings and thoughts. This is normal, and should not be a concern. The feelings and thoughts will pass.
2. Uneven correction during a development program. This can be a problem when correcting posture or structure. It often occurs during a development program, usually after a number of years on the program.
One side of the body, for example, or one part of the spine may relax, while another does not relax at the same time. This can pinch nerves, stretch muscles, and unbalance ligaments, all of which can cause pain.
There is no way to completely prevent this. The best answer is to continue the development program and use the spinal twists, chiropractic or osteopathic care, foot reflexology on the spine and elsewhere, or other natural therapies to help loosen and balance the spine.
3. Importance of a multi-faceted approach. In my experience, postural problems often require several types of therapies in order to heal the best and at a rapid pace. In almost all cases, nutrition, structural work, exercises and visualization are all helpful and often needed.
4. The time factor. Undoing some postural problems takes a number of years, even with a complete development program and professional help. This is the nature of the body structure.
While some imbalances may go away quickly, one must plan for a long-term process. In particular, unraveling tight muscles and even moreso, stretching out adhesions is a slow process.
To read more about posture, read Tight Tissues, Pelvic Syndrome, Adhesions and Hips on this website.
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