Using Unawareness of Balance to Build Posture Consciousness
If you take posture pictures, you know people are astoundingly unaware of their posture—but did you know they are equally oblivious of their balance?
They are, and it’s not surprising, since posture and balance are different facets of the same function – Locomotion. Every step we take we are balancing on one leg…and then we switch to the other.
TRY THIS: BestPosture
– Stand tall and lift your left foot, balancing on your right foot.
– Notice how you have to shift to keep your balance. You should be able to balance for 30 seconds before putting your foot down.
– Repeat with your right foot.
If you notice a significant difference in your ability and the effort required, your left and right side muscle patterns are not symmetrical (matched).
Posture it isn’t just about how you look. People with visually uneven or crooked (“bad”) posture FEEL like they are standing straight even though a mirror or an objective photograph tells a different story.
When the muscles on the left and right side of the body are functioning differently, problems accumulate. Since an indicator of weak posture is poorly matched left/right balance, then strengthening the symmetry of left right balance while maintaining body alignment is the first step towards strengthening posture.
MARKETING TIP: Repeat the BestPosture TryThis AFTER treating the patient/client. Manually unlocking a joint with a chiropractic adjustment or releasing a soft tissue restriction (mucle, fascia or ligament) is changing something in the kinetic chain.
When treatment results in someone “feeling better”, there is usually a corresponding improvement in function…eg Balance. In other words, bilateral symmetry of balance function is an indicator of a bio-mechanic improvement.
My personal experience is mostly with chiropractic spinal manipulation, but CPEPs who are soft tissue based – from hands on massage to those using an instrument such as Graston or FAKTR — also report seeing dramatic post-treatment improvement in functional symmetry.
A CLINICAL IMPLICATION: Isolation of a function allows focus and then strengthening of that function. Weight-lifters and other athletes use the technique of focusing on one muscle or motion to strengthen that muscle or motion.
Across sports, physical training is often a process of inhibiting a compensation. “Don’t bend your knees” or “Don’t shrug your shoulders” are cues when someone is doing an exercise to push them away from their customary pattern of movement to a different, often unfamiliar pattern… one which stresses less used (or completely neglected) links in the kinetic chain.
These links may be muscle fibers (contracting subsystem of motion), ligamentous or fascia (connecting subsystem ) or the efferent nerve fibers controlling that arc of motion (control subsystem).
SO, in addition to re-training the kinetic links of muscles, ligaments and fascia, training towards symmetry in a new pattern of motion stimulates the afferent arc of the control subsystem with new proprioceptive and kinesthetic input, facilitating and strengthening new neurological (control subsystem) reflexive arcs.
OBSERVATION: There is strengthening power of isolation, and focusing on one muscle or pattern can be used to strengthen that muscle or pattern. Therefore, strengthening symmetry of balance is a strategy to strengthen symmetry of motion… and of posture. That exercise is Best Posture Stork, which we’ll talk about in a future PosturePractice Newsletter (click to subscribe).