“To be able to live a long, active, energetic life – few things will matter more than good posture.“ Roger Sperry Ph.D. (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1981)
Your mother was right! Good posture is vitally important to your good health and wellbeing. Mothers and teachers from the fifties were well known for their admonitions of “Sit up straight!” “Don’t slouch!” – somehow mothers always know what’s best and we know for sure your posture is powerful!
In this week’s Ridiculously Simple Steps To Transform Your Health (and Life) we consider the famously wise words of Socrates who said “If you would have health, look first to the spine”, your mother, like Socrates, knew just how important your posture was, and still is! Unfortunately traditional medicine seems to have forgotten this one vital fact that your nervous system (housed in the moving bones of the spinal column) controls and co-ordinates virtually every other cell, tissue, muscle, gland and organ in the entire body, which is why the spine is so important to your health. Clinicians and researchers throughout history have placed posture at the very foundation of physical health. Hippocrates (440 – 377BC) saw the spine as central to the treatment of ill health and reputedly used spinal manipulation to correct dysfunctions in the body. Roger A Sperry Ph.D (Nobel Prize winner in Physiology and Medicine 1981 has been quoted as saying – “the more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy available for healing, metabolism and thought.” Did you know that an adult human head weighs approx. 12 pounds (5.4kg), or the same as a light bowling ball – imagine that weight pulling your head forward if you are not standing/sitting upright. It is not hard to understand the impact this could have on your health over time. No wonder people feel tired and fatigued since poor posture means your body has to work harder to maintain function. Doesn’t that just make you want to sit up straight?
Good posture can be defined as proper alignment of the body. From a side view, your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle should all line up. When this happens, the three curves of the spine are right along the body’s centre of gravity and there is no uneven pressure on nerves, discs or muscles. During the last thirty years of practice in chiropractic clinics, it has been interesting to note the increasing prevalence of Forward Head Posture – especially in children and young people which we believe is a direct result of the modern age. With the introduction of hand held computer games, more time spent on the computers which are often laptops and viewed in the looking down position, hours spent texting, slouching in front of TV etc. it is no surprise that this is happening. Children were once very active, running and playing, hanging from trees, jumping and swinging all day, every day, using their posture for sport and play and there has been a distinct decrease in this kind of activity, which we believe has had such a detrimental effect on children’s posture. This observation is purely anecdotal and has not been conducted as a scientific study, however we believe “as the twig is bent, so grows the tree”!
Research shows that our posture also conveys a lot of information to the world around us about our mental and emotional health and how we perceive ourselves. A low self image can contribute to poor posture. By simply paying attention to the way we feel about ourselves and improving our internal dialogue and becoming conscious of how we stand and sit, it becomes possible to improve our posture.
Dr. Rene Cailliet, director of Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of California decided that posture, and especially Forward Head Posture was so important to health that he documented the following:
. Incorrect head position leads to improper spinal function. . Forward Head Posture can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal load on the cervical spine
. Forward Head Posture results in loss of vital capacity. Lung capacity is depleted by as much as 30 percent. Loss of lung capacity leads to heart and blood vascular problems.
. The entire gastrointestinal system is affected, particularly the large intestine. Loss of good bowel peristaltic function (regular bowel movement) and evacuation is common to people who suffer from Forward Head Posture.
. Forward Head Posture causes an increase in discomfort and pain. Freedom of motion in the first four cervical vertebrae is a major source of stimuli that causes production of endorphins.
. Forward Head Posture causes loss of healthy spine-body motion. The entire body becomes rigid as the range of motion becomes diminished.
Oxygen, glucose etc - nutrients vital to the brain, are transported from the body to the brain through the Cerebrospinal Fluid, and this transport is compromised if Forward Head Posture is present, therefore it is not hard to understand why posture is so vital to our overall health and wellbeing.
Dr. Roger Sperry, the 1981 Nobel Prize recipient for brain research, has demonstrated that ninety percent (90%) of ALL the energy output from the brain is used for posture alone – keeping the body upright under gravity. Only ten percent (10%) has to do with thinking, metabolism, and healing. We understand therefore, that better posture frees up energy for your body to do all the processes it needs to do – thinking, healing, metabolizing, digesting, reproducing – just living!!
Through taking action to do this one Ridiculously Simple Step To Transform Your Health (and Life) you will be giving yourself a special gift – developing better posture through awareness and practice, practice, practice to improve your overall health and wellbeing.
There is much you can do for yourself, however our Chiropractors are here to help you every step of the way. Phone Chiropractic Life 88 Portland Road, Hove BN3 5DL for your Free Consultation.
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