How Massage Can Improve Posture
“Our necks and backs hurt, and poor posture is the No. 1 culprit,” says Janice Novak, M.S., author of the book, Posture, Get it Straight!
Poor posture is one of the signature physical patterns that reflect our lifestyle and our stress. While it can be an inherited disability, it most often is the result of developed bad habits in daily living.
Today, you are asked to adapt to a world that operates against the natural tendencies of good posture in your body. At work, you are often hunched over a desk, staring at a computer screen for extended periods of time. You endure long commutes to that desk job and when you are at home, you may end up slouching in front of the TV or adding more computer hunchback time as you try to unwind.
Physical patterns developed in response to retained emotional tension can also result in poor posture. As you unconsciously rush through each day coping with an increasingly long list of daily stressors, your body becomes the embattled site of chronic muscle tightness, knots, and firing trigger points that translate into body imbalances.
Poor Posture Hurts Your Health
- Low energy, frequent headaches, recurrent illnesses due to compromised immunity, digestive issues, and reduced flexibility are just some of the unwanted side effects of imperfect posture.
- Slouched or hunched postures cause poor circulation that reduces the flow of lymph, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
- Contracted muscles are also unable to process adequate hydration and energy, which eventually causes the muscle tissues to become hard and fibrous resulting in obstructed movement.
- Overworked muscles that become tight can actually pull bones out of alignment, which results in pain and other more serious problems.
- When working on a computer, the head tends to lean toward the screen, which pulls the shoulders and neck forward. This contracts and tightens chest muscles and painfully affects the proper functioning of the long muscles that connect the sternum, clavicle, and temporal bones.
- Long periods of being seated can weaken abdominals, misalign the pelvis and tighten hip flexors.
- Interconnective soft tissues in the body can transfer tightness from one area to the adjacent muscles, which can throw posture off balance.
Extended periods of poor posture can impact the quality of your life and, as you age, the health problems can worsen.
How Massage Can Support Better Posture
Massage can be a crucial pathway to returning your body to stasis. Your massage therapist will evaluate your gait, look at your musculoskeletal construction and will assess any mechanical or soft tissue patterns in order to repair postural imbalances.
- soften the hardened fibrosis of the muscles that have been habitually contracted, allowing them to relax and supporting the bones to move back into place.
- target and lengthen specific muscle groups such as chest and the muscles on the front of the neck as well as hip flexors to bring the body into proper position and release pain and restore proper movement
- Deep tissue and Swedish massage techniques improve circulation, and encourage relaxation and aids in letting go of emotional stress that increases body tightness.
Benefits of Healthy Posture
Balanced posture in the body restores the movement of energy throughout the body, which results in heightened efficiency in all body activities.
Regular deep tissue therapeutic massage sessions can help maintain structural well-being.
Improved posture and regular massage supports less joint and muscle pain, fewer headaches, more energy, and better digestion and stronger immunity.
Attention to posture assists in developing a heightened awareness of your body and its movement whether sitting, standing, or walking.
Your movements, emotions, posture, and sensations are all part of the body awareness that give rise to your health, well-being and strength. It takes attentive listening to your body, unwavering effort, patience and practice to change old postural imbalances and establish new, healthier habits.
Massage has the ability to re-educate your body toward improved posture. When you add this to your commitment to constant physical self-awareness, you can enjoy the benefits of lasting well-being.