By Lisa Buchan, 13 August, 2017
We spend a lot of time as massage therapists telling our clients to work on their posture, that the pain and the tension they feel for example in the upper back is a result of tightness at the front, we try to educate you on which muscles are doing what, give you exercises and stretches or refer you to classes such as yoga, pilates, the list goes on.
Did you know that we have myofascial lines running through the whole length of the front of our body, the back, the side, plus many other lines. When one of these myofascial lines tighten up for whatever reason it affects your whole posture, including the lines opposite or adjacent.
Myofascia is a connective tissue. Connective tissue forms every bone, ligament, tendon, cartilage, joint and fascial sheet within your body. It has several essential roles in the body, structural and cellular, but basically holds us together. Myofascia is the inseparable combination of muscle and fascial tissue which is a continuous, complex and dynamic network through the whole body. “It binds every cell in the body to its neighbour”(1) and has the “ability to store and communicate information across the entire body”(2).
When under stress these myofascial lines will adapt to their new position and remain there, but do not despair with bodywork, exercise, stretching and increasing your awareness and knowledge of your body these dysfunctions can be remedied.
Now here’s something to really think about........the human body has all its sensitive and vulnerable organs towards the front of the body, open and exposed to the environment. Compare to a dog for example who has their vulnerable area facing towards the ground, nice and protected from potential attackers and with their four limbs surrounding to add more protection. When the human body is under stress, whether perceived or actual its reflex will be to flex at the front through the Superficial and Deep Frontal Myofascial Lines to protect themselves. As the body rolls inwards to the front in a hunched position then the neck needs to flex and then hyperextend to enable clear vision, note again in the quadruped the head and neck is forward and lifted.
So it seems that although human beings have evolved remarkably there is still an inherent instinct to assume the position towards being on all fours with neck hypextended to protect ourselves and be alert. No wonder it’s so hard to get that perfect posture!
Can you imagine what it’s like for the person who suffers from chronic depression, anxiety and extreme stress, their body would be permanently in this stress reacted position......and then can you imagine what it may be like for this person to have this all released, something worth thinking about.
So what does this mean?
It means that there is no quick fix or magic pill to improve your posture, just a lot of hard work and increased awareness. It means working on your stress levels, anxiety, stretching the correct areas, reading, exercising the correct exercises and bodywork such as massage and chiropractor (massage can work on the superficial and deep lines of the fascia and muscles while chiropractor on the myofascia specific to the joints of the body).
I encourage you all to read more about your body to get a better understanding of how it works and be open to having areas worked on that you normally wouldn’t, such as the abdomen, hip flexors, anterior rib cage and chest, only of course if this is where the dysfunction is showing in your posture.
It is a lifelong job maintaining your body but it is so worth it!
(1) Anatomy Trains – Thomas W Meyers, chaper 1
(2) Anatomy Trains – Thomas We Meyers, chapter 1