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Checking Your Posture: A Wholistic View From Head to Toe II

BY Justin Flinner, LAc, MAc, Dipl. Ac.

What Bad Posture Does to Your Body Our posture determines not only what types of aches and pains develop, it also affects specific aspects of our physical and mental well-being, such as our breathing, our digestion, our balance, and not to mention, our mood. Emotionally, if you feel constantly depressed or upset, your posture will change to reflect this. And by holding on to this emotional stressor, you will find yourself letting go of "good posture." In Oriental medicine, posture will determine the quality of Qi and Blood circulation throughout the body. In the example above, Jennifer experienced one-sided neck pain that began to radiate to other areas like her upper back and affected the big picture of her overall posture forcing her to reposition her body more so to one side rather than being balanced in the center. She allowed for weakness to develop on one side and severe regional tension on the other. Needless to say, the quality of Qi and Blood circulation easily transformed into stagnation and excess on one side with a deficiency on the opposite side. Had we not addressed it when we had, it might have reached the point of stasis or an even worse condition.

Correcting Posture From Head to Toe As an acupuncturist, I am always analyzing my patients' posture every time they come for treatment. If something stands out, I tell them directly, and we work on it from head to toe. We look together at how they stand, how they sit, and how they walk. When they lie down on the treatment table, I observe what position they place themselves and also where they end up (on the table) by the end of the session, if the tools being used are not forcing them to remain in one position. Understanding one's posture is the key to understanding one's health. And healthy posture is the gateway to good health in addition to providing you with more energy. Here are a few basic tips for examining posture from head to toe. You can easily do these yourself or prescribe them to your patients. Head: Raise the crown of your head (not your chin) as if a string is attached pulling your head upward. Shoulders: Regardless of where your shoulders rest, gently raise them up, push them back slightly, and rest them down comfortably in their new position. Pelvis: Roll your pelvis forward (from the bottom) as if someone is pulling your tailbone from back to front while you gently contract your abdominal muscles to lift the front of your pelvis. Hips to Toes: Relax your hips and rotate your feet until your toes point forward and your feet are parallel with each other. How do you feel? If you feel slightly uncomfortable, that sounds about right. You probably need a little more practice to help your body adjust to this new "normal." But over time, you will notice a significant difference in how you feel, the amount of energy you have, and maybe even how you look! Don't believe me? Go look in the mirror.

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