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Author Archive | Nicholas Barbousas

Posture, Body Reading, and Myofascial Release

Posture, Body Reading, and Myofascial Release

An excerpt from Techniques For Movement (TFM) Manual I:

The TFM manuals are used within the TFM Learning workshop series that focuses on Posture Assessment, and the practical application of Myofascial Release for the manual therapist.

Structure and slouching

“Posture is holding your structure as well as you can. When the structure is properly balanced, good posture is natural. A man slouches not because he has a bad habit but because his structure doesn’t make it easy for him not to slouch.”

Ida P. Rolf

What exactly do we mean when we assess ‘Posture’?

To stand before a mirror, or a thera­pist, is to capture a moment in time; one possible postural event that draws with it all the limitations and possibilities that we possess. Posture can be considered finite – it is a statement stamped as a moment, a single possibility, reflecting the thoughts, emotions, and physical capacity available in that moment in time. To truly explore and unfold the potential in another, it is important to focus on what is possible (Structural Integration), not just what has come (dis-ease).

Structural Alignment

Structural Integrity is our underlying level of organization. Our structure and the degree to which we maintain structural integration allows for the various possibilities of movement that we have at our disposal. Structure precedes movement/function, and informs the composi­tion and shape of our posture. By improving our underlying structure we are improving our movement potential, and consequently improving our Posture.

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Onions are not just for eating! Part II

For the Manual Therapist

Intention key to any therapeutic process
If we continue on with our theme of the onion layers, we see how attempting to ‘dig’ deep to achieve release for the sake of release alone, we may be moving our clients away from integration and towards an unstable and unsustainable state. Working with the appropriate Myofascial structures (layers) allow the therapist a great opportunity to introduce lasting change to a client.

Within any therapeutic intervention it is necessary to remember:

Do not remove something at a local level if you haven’t got something better to put in its place.

Too often therapists seek random local changes without looking at the larger implications that can come from release work. Consider the ‘long game’ approach and how you (the manual therapist) can add to structure and therefore function with every intervention.

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Onions are not just for eating!

 

Working through layersIn integrating structure and function via the myofascial system, it becomes necessary to work the superficial ‘layers’ before you can proceed deeper.

Clients can sometimes feel impatient with the degree to which change occurs or goals are met to completion. Quite often it’s the last ten percent of change that takes ninety percent of the time to resolve. Working with the body is like peeling away the layers of an onion. It becomes important to remove one whole layer of dis-ease before moving onto the next. This ‘ideal‘ is a cornerstone of the therapeutic process, whether you’re receiving a treatment, conditioning your body through resistance training, or taking control of your diet.

 

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Five quick steps to guarantee better posture

Five quick steps to guarantee better posture.

A balanced body is a study in patience

Balancing on a balance beam

The whole notion of “perfect posture” can drive us into a spin. Too often we rely on feedback from others or our reflection in a store window to affirm that we are doing OK.  Does the cautionary whisper from a parent to not slouch really work? Or is it just a change for a moment in time before we lapse back into our comfort zone when the coast is clear?

When considering the five steps below, don’t be too hard on yourself. Understanding how you live in your body is an ongoing process that requires time and sometimes more than a little help from others. Use this as a starting point in your inquiry and you may find yourself motivated to take your understanding to the next level – seeking out a health care professional who focus’ on working with posture.

Before you start:

·      Relax your whole body. Give yourself some slack and take a pause from any ‘doing’ activity. Try to let the images and movement come naturally.

·      Don’t force any movement. The moment you feel as though you are starting to impose yourself on the activity back off and try again. Allow the movement to occur gently and with as little force as possible.

·      Allow yourself time to ease into your body. As already mentioned take your time and be more ‘allowing’ of the movement.

·      Finally, place no judgement on what is right or wrong, there is only how you do today. With every attempt at doing these steps you will find things a little easier. Your understanding of your body will become clearer, and you will find you become more aware than before.

1. Feet:

Foot and tripodFind a point of balance between the balls of the big, the ball of the little toe, and the middle of heel.

Do you stand evenly and balanced on your feet? When standing we place our weight on the balls of the big toe, little toe, and middle of the heel. Whether you are too far forward, back, or out to one side, your weight to some degree will fall through these points.

For more information on the feet

2. Knees:

Pelvis and lower extremityThink of your knees as the headlights of a car, facing forward in the direction of movement.

When standing can your knees aim straight ahead, or do they turn in or out? The knees are affected by what occurs above and below them. Once you find yourself balanced on your feet, focus on where your knees face. Gently, allow your knees to face forward.

For more information on the knees

3. Hips:

Line up your feet and knees with the pelvis above.

When standing do your hips lean across towards the left or the right, or can the pelvis sit comfortably over both your legs?

Find a comfortable position at your pelvis where your lower back is allowed to gently curve forward – naturally.

Does your pelvis tip too far forward exaggerating the curve of your lower back or does it tuck under removing the curve all together?

For more information on the hips

4. Shoulders and arms:

Allow your shoulders to gently ease down and forward with your arms resting evenly and easily by your side. Keep your hands soft.

Do your shoulders sit comfortably on your rib cage, or do they feel as though they are lifting to your ears?

You want to feel as if your hands are resting in the front pockets of a pair of trousers.

For more information on the shoulders and arms

5. Head:

Unique direction of movement

Imagine that a large helium balloon is attached to the crown of your head via a piece of string. Feel the lift this will give you.

Is your head and neck balanced evenly between your shoulders lifting you tall?

Allow your eyes to face straight ahead. As a rule of thumb, there is a tendency that where the eyes go the head will follow.

For more information on the head

 

If in doubt go without!

If you find you are in any discomfort or unable to follow through with any of the steps then stop. Do not attempt to push through with the movement. You can only work to the degree to which your body allows you.

 

These five steps are not an exhaustive list of how to find the ‘perfect’ posture, but an introduction into what is possible. Certain possible steps were omitted to not confuse the basic goals and directions of movement sought for. If you have any questions or wish to contribute to this inquiry please feel free to add your opinions below, or email.

 

 

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