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Base-Line Healing

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Posture = The position of your body.

So what is a good posture?

A go-ogle search for "good posture" returns lots of results (and side-view illustrations) but no clear winner in the definition department:

Standing up tall. No slouching when sitting.

Positioning of the head and joints.

The correct curvature of a neutral spine.

Alignment of various parts of the body.

i.e. A lot of talk about the spine and positioning of the head and joints but there is a lack of emphasis on what's responsible for the positioning of our body, on what creates our posture - our muscles.

Muscles position our bones.

Muscles create our posture.

Posture can be:

  • Passive posture. The positioning of your body when you're not thinking about it. The brain-body functioning at a subconscious level.

or

  • Active posture. Conscious thought about "how you are holding yourself". Using voluntary muscles under voluntary control to improve your positioning.

Posture can be improved by consciously working with the right muscles - the five main muscles of movement - for a sufficient length of time so that an active posture becomes the passive norm.

the 5 main muscles of movement

The main muscles should 'take the strain' of movement, not our lumbar (lower back) muscles.

The spine is positioned with the correct curvature, known as a "neutral spine", when the main muscles of movement are fully utilised and the body is aligned.

skeleton seen from the side. Showing the rectus abdominis muscles at the front of the abdomen between pelvis and chest, like a band of muscle that is attached to bone either end but otherwise is not near other bones. These are the muscles that should support the body, not the spine. When the rectus abdominis muscles are fully extended and active the lower spine is positioned correctly and not under undue tension or stress. The rectus femoris muscles run down the front of each thigh, crossing the hip and knee joints. Strong poles of muscle to connect the legs to the torso, aligning the hip and knee joints. The rectus abdominis and rectus femoris muscles attach to the pelvis at the front at approximately the same level when viewed from the side. The gluteus maximus muscles, large and powerful at the back of the pelvis, extending above and below the level of where the rectus abdominis and rectus femoris attach to provide the link between base-line and legs. The trapezius muscles from the back of the head to midback, sculpted muscles that influence the positioning of the upper spine.

Postural Assessment.

The body provides more sensory information about its posture than can ever be supplied by someone else's assessment.

Becoming aware of this sensory feedback regarding your position and motion is the basis of conscious proprioception - the connection between body and mind - so you can feel your posture for yourself.

conscious proprioception

Self-awareness facilitates self-correction of posture.

Micro-adjustments in positioning too subtle to appreciate on clinical exam can have wide effects throughout the body (everything's connected) which can be felt when the body-mind connection is strong.

Focusing on your Base-Line muscles at the center of your body is the key to developing this skill - our core pillar of strength from where the rest of the body extends.

Base-Line muscles

Find your Base-Line.

Feel for yourself.

human figure seen from the front, looking up the body with the baseline muscles shown.  The pelvic floor muscles forming a basket at the base of the body.  The solid foundation from where the rectus abdominis muscles extend. The rectus abdominis muscles are like to 2 parallel stacks of panels of muscle that go up the from of the abdomen from base to mid chest. The body's core pillar of strength either side of the linea alba the body's baseline for alignment.

Posture & Movement.

Posture isn't static and a good posture means we also move well - free and unrestricted through a full range of natural movement.

full range natural movement

To make improvements to your posture you need to become aware of your main muscles of movement and where they are in relation to each other - whatever you are doing and whatever position you are in. Feeling for balance between left and right sides and your state of body alignment.

body alignment and balance

skeleton and the main muscles of movement shown from the front demonstrating how they align the body by arranging our midline anatomy on the median plane. The rectus abdominis muscles when fully extended and engaged straighten the linea alba our primary guide for body alignment. The spine, shoulders, hips and knees are are all in the correct relative positions and the body is balanced left and right sides.

Explore your range of movement, supported by your Base-Line muscles.

The roll-down action was my go-to move but do whatever feels feels right to you. The more you work with your main muscles the more progress you will make.

the roll-down

Learning to use the right muscles brings an understanding of what a good posture is. The body feels strong and comfortable. Movement flows easily through a full range of natural movement.

We are constantly on the move even when trying to be still. As we breath, as our hearts beat ...

Stillness is finding the perfect oscillation for equilibrium.

Classifications of Posture.

An Ideal Posture.

With an ideal posture stresses are distributed and dissipated in the best/safest/most efficient manner for the activity being undertaken. The body is as strong as it can be.

There are many disciplines that represent ideal postures, demonstrations of the body's capabilities when it is functioning at optimal. For example:

  • The asanas of yoga - snapshots of the body with a full range of natural movement. Poses that can be perfected when the body is truly balanced.
  • Pilates, tai chi and other internal martial arts, ballet, other forms of dancing - all demonstrating the grace and freedom of movement possible with dynamic alignment.
showing a lot of poses of the body, some asanas of yoga.

A Functional Posture.

A 'functional posture' is what the brain/body uses day-to-day when an ideal posture cannot be achieved. (when the main muscles of movement are not adequately used and physical restrictions are present on the body).

A functional posture at its most basic:

  • Keeps our eyes level (maintaining horizontal equilibrium in visual input).
  • Keeps us facing/moving forward.
  • Puts the body in a position to do the task at hand.
  • Adjusts body position to bear external stresses as they are applied.

Subconscious adjustments are made throughout the body - twists, kinks, tilts and compressions - as the brain sees fit, using 'mimic muscles' in an attempt to compensate for misusage in the main muscles, but the body is imbalanced and imbalance leads to further imbalance.

Anticipatory Posture.

When faced with a task, the brain/body prepares by activating muscles into an anticipatory posture. "Bracing yourself".

An anticipatory posture should be the ideal posture for the activity - using the main muscles of movement to their full potential - but if that is not achievable the body braces into a functional posture with the use of mimic muscles.

Becoming aware of anticipatory postures and the activation of mimic muscles is important to correcting the dysfunction. Breathing with your Base-Line and focusing on the main muscles of movement will facilitate the correction of bad postural habits that have developed.

breathing with your Base-Line

Keep thinking about how you use

your 5 main muscles of movement

to improve your posture.

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BETTER POSTURE = LESS PAIN.

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