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HuffPOst Article regarding significance of posture on mental and emotional health May 21, 2015

Posted by jeffrooney in Depression and posture, Posture.
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Here is a good article exploring an often overlooked aspect of posture health – the corollary effect on mental and emotional health. For us posture therapists this awareness has been noted for years of seeing from experience the connection between the posture profile and emotional profile. The weakness of the article in my opinion is the opportunity is not taken to mention specific disciplines dedicated to posture health like The Egoscue Method or PTX Therapy and others, referencing only general things like strengthening the back and yoga instead. That said it is worth a look and reports some very relevant research on the matter.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/edith-ismene-nicolaougriffin/sit-up-straight-the-menta_b_7338440.html

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More on the Perils of Sitting and the Posture Solution April 30, 2014

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Movement, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy, The Human Body, Uncategorized.
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On my website I have a short article called “Achy From Sitting Too Much – Try These Exercises” about the problems associated with too much sitting in our society and beyond. I just came across a very detailed account of this problem in an article at Mind Body Green where it publishes an info graphic from FastCompany. Both websites are new to me but I am glad to see this problem get more attention. See below:

Just from the time I wrote the article a few years ago to now things have apparently gotten much worse in this regard. See how your own experience stacks up to these statistics in the info graphic.

In my article I point out that the “design requirements” of our human body are not at all met by the preponderance of sitting, computer use and so on. Our bodies get bent out of shape as muscles are disused and our bony frame misaligned, causing us much grief.  Hey, we evolved as upright beings after all! This all reveals the need to give the body the physical stimulus that is lacking in the sitting posture.  The exercises at the bottom of the article are examples of using posture alignment therapy developed by Pete Egoscue to do just that. Give them a try and tune into the muscles that are being used throughout. This routine won’t solve all your problems but give a sense of using postural muscles meant to get daily use. Feel free to contact me if you need more specific input.

In the meantime – stop sitting so much and get more active, your body will love you for it!

3029424-inline-p-1-3029424-work-smart-why-your-job-could-be-slowly-killing-you-infographic

From Mark Sisson – 15 Reasons to Sprint January 22, 2014

Posted by jeffrooney in Athletic training, Fitness, Posture, Weight Loss Research.
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From Mark Sisson – 15 Reasons to Sprint

I am in agreement with Mark. Good thing about him is he always backs up his arguments with pretty good data. This is really a simple way to add a whole lot to your fitness and well being without lots of time commitment – it is the regularity that counts.

By the way, he doesn’t mention it but I will. If your body is properly aligned there is even more bang for the buck. Every step becomes part of your therapy when your joints are stacked properly. If for example, a knee or hip position is out, sprints may be objectively “good for you” but won’t feel that great, especially afterward. So with that caveat check out Marks post for more reasons why sprinting and interval training in general is a good practice. If you are wondering about your own alignment see my earlier post about how to evaluate your own alignment. Let me know what you find.

Ten Easy Ways to Check Your Posture Alignment August 20, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy, The Human Body.
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You may be new to this idea but it is quite likely that if you have muscle or joint pain the ultimate cause is your posture alignment. This is the first in a series of posts I will make about this subject. My idea here is to help to facilitate your ability to become the driving force in evaluating posture and knowing the steps to be taken to change it and hence resolve the source of your pains or physical limitations.

So first things first. You get to  use your own eyes, and perhaps those of a friend or partner to help. So often when people come to see me for a first appointment for posture alignment therapy they are surprised to see from the evaluation pictures things they could see by  looking in a full length mirror! Knowing what to look for really helps. What I am looking for are asymmetries and distortions from the common standing anatomical posture of the human form(see below). We are not talking brain surgery here. Two eyeballs and a reasonably functioning brain will suffice.

Freddie

So slip off your shoes, wear a pair of shorts and a tank top (guys can slip off your shirt, females can use a sports bra if you like).  Lets walk through ten easy steps at determining your posture. Take a piece of paper and jot down your findings.

1 – So just stand up, gently march in place. Stop and look down at your feet. What are they doing? Are they both pointing in the same direction, is one off to the side, etc.? Does one foot seem more forward than the other

2 – Still in the same standing position. Close your eyes and take note which foot bears more weight. Secondly, where in each foot do you feel the weight, at the forefoot or heel. Don’t think about it just jot down your immediate impression.

3 – Next take a look at your knees. Are you bowl legged or knock kneed? Are the knee caps pointing in the same direction (imagine your cars headlamps – they should be pointing straight ahead like that). When looking down does one knee look more forward than the other?

4 – Now take your thumbs and place them both on the very front edge of your “hip bones” the boney protrusions at the very front of your pelvis. You may have to dig around for them but I am talking about the very front not the top edge. In any case it is like you are hugging your hips with thumbs facing forward. Now look gently down. Do you see one side of the pelvis going more forward than the other? Now look in the mirror. Is one hip higher? If you have sciatica this could be a big part of the reason.

5 – Now look at your hands. Do you see the back of the hands forward, are they different from side to side? This is a major indicator of shoulder position. Is one hand more forward and also is one lower than the other when you look in the mirror?

6 – Now looking at the shoulders, are they level? Is one more forward relative to the other? Are you able to lift the arms up toward the ears easily and evenly from side to side? If not is it less easy on the side that is more rounded forward?

7 – You still with me?! Now if you noted that you felt more weight on one side at your feet versus the other now take a look at your upper body. Is the upper body leaning more to that side? If you have foot, ankle, knee or hip problems a big component of the solution is getting the upper body more symmetrical so that the load bearing is more even to the lower extremities.

8 – Now lets note what the head is doing. Most of us in our culture have a distinct forward head that is not our birthright. To check this have your friend view you from the side or simply stand with your heels, butt and shoulders to the wall. Now take note of what effort it takes to position the back of the head to the wall. If when you do that the head seems to point your eyes upward your head is significantly more forward.

9 – Next pull out a chair and gently get yourself on the floor. Put both legs up on the chair with knees hip width apart. Scoot your butt right up to the edge of the chair so that your hips and knees are at 90 degrees. Here we can clue into a number of things. One, what is your immediate feel to your backside, is it even on the floor or different from side to side? If you noted earlier that one side of the pelvis was more forward than the other side does this correlate. Next, is your low back or lumbar spine have an arch or is it flat? This will likely tell you that your pelvis is either tipping too far forward or tipping back and is not in its neutral position. This deviation can be at the root of many problems.

10 – Lastly, lets get you up and walking. When you walk are the feet doing the same thing? Just walk your normal pace, taking note of your sense of balance. Now take your hands and put behind your neck and pull your elbows back. Walk again. Any difference in how you feel. Is it easier or harder, better or worse balance? If it seems to give you more balance, why do think that might be?

Well there you have it folks. You just went through some of the paces I use to evaluate clients posture in a session. I do more than this but I want you to see that it is straight forward and common sense oriented. Any asymmetries noted (and they may surely add up and have consequence) are part of the big picture of your body’s stature and the framework for how your body functions or doesn’t function. They will tell the story of your body and why things are going awry. At bottom this could well be the explanation for hard to treat conditions that have been illusive to the medical and even alternative medical community. It may be hard to fathom nowadays but in many ways taking note of what a persons knee cap is doing is a window into the status of a hip joint dysfunction, without X-rays and MRIs.

Let me know what your findings are and if this helps to connect the dots between whatever your pain condition is and what your body is doing. Now if it looks pretty disturbing don’t jump off a cliff, just get ready to do some work to change it! Muscles move the bones. So if they are putting them in the wrong place the right physical input can put them in the right place, if not ideally, at least to the point of giving you the best possible functioning body so that you can enjoy your life.

Stay tuned for more on posture as the source of many common pain conditions, limitations and effects on athletic performance.

Mark Sisson’s Recent Post About Workout Recovery August 15, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Athletic training, Exercise, Fitness, Movement, Nutrition, Posture.
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Mark Sisson’s Recent Post About Workout Recovery

As usual a pretty informed piece from Mark Sisson on the constituents of “recovery” with any exercise program. Use his 7 point recovery evaluation for your own exercise efforts and take stock of what is deficient. Then make some effort on this aspect and take note of the changes in how you feel.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget the posture component of your workouts. One point that is a little different on the posture component is that in many ways muscles that function to align our body are meant to be “on” basically all the time. So this means that they need some daily input. Thinking in terms of the Paleo paradigm one could say that our ancestors always got the postural input by virtue of daily activity. Now we don’t – we have to basically supplement our lives with meaningful physical activity that serves our whole body’s needs and requirements. That’s the conundrum of our culture. More on that later…

Perils of Forward Head Posture February 13, 2013

Posted by jeffrooney in Alternative health, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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Perils of Forward Head Posture

Something I have been doing for quite a while is a google alert for the word “posture”. So every other day I get an email in my inbox that has all the articles or links to something regarding posture. This helps me see where things are going in the human population with posture alignment issues. Here is one from today’s entry on Forward Head Posture

See if it applies to you! If so, let me know if I can help you get started doing something about it.

Exercise, Human Evolution and the Brain – more research on the connections! December 27, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Brain Health/Body Health, Egoscue, Exercise, Fitness, Posture, Running related.
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My Egoscue colleague from Portland, Matt, posted this interesting article from the NY Times over the past weekend. Take a look:

By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, in the New York Times

“Anyone whose resolve to exercise in 2013 is a bit shaky might want to consider an emerging scientific view of human evolution. It suggests that we are clever today in part because a million years ago, we could outrun and outwalk most other mammals over long distances. Our brains were shaped and sharpened by movement, the idea goes, and we continue to require regular physical activity in order for our brains to function optimally.”

Click link for more –

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/exercise-and-the-ever-smarter-human-brain/?ref=health

More on the Perils of Sitting – New York Times Article December 2, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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images-1I just read an article in the health section of the December 2 Sunday NY Times with more to offer on the modern perils of sitting too much. It is called “Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics”.  The gist of it is that more research is confirming what many instinctively feel is harmful with being stuck in a chair for hours on end. Here is a quote:

“The research comes more from observing the health results of people’s behavior than from discovering the biological and genetic triggers that may be associated with extended sitting. Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.”

A solution that has emerged is the now booming industry of ergonomic desks that are adjustable to an upright position allowing the computer user to stand or even walk while working.  I would say that is a positive step.

Of course, I have an additional or even should I say alternate solution ~ exercise for the integrity of your posture.  See my tab “Try These Exercises” on my website http://www.empoweredbodysolutions.com for a short routine to give postural input to your body when sitting too much. It is short enough to do at work if your situation allows. Let me know if it helps

Move it or Lose It – Nourishing Your Posture! November 9, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue, Movement, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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One of my favorite sections of the “Pain Free” book by Pete Egoscue is the chapter on shoulders and common problems we posture alignment therapists see involving the shoulders. He offers the observation that in our society the shoulders are “in a box” with increasingly limited range of movement. It’s as if an invisible barrier prevents our arms from moving every which way they are designed to move. He talks about how our shoulders are both a ball and socket joint and a hinge joint offering an extremely broad range of movement possibilities.

Well that invisible barrier is very tied to the device I am using to write this post – the computer. It has my arms hugging my sides, only partially extended in a forward hinged position. Or maybe it’s the driving or any number of limiting uses of the full range our shoulder design allows. Guess what common shoulder position we see in almost everyone who comes in for a therapy session? Rounded forward of course!  That rounded position then becomes a curse should we decide to throw a ball or reach overhead for something – finding ourselves straining against the limits the changed positioning allows.

Then the other thing that is intriguing in this chapter is that one of the most important exercises used to restore proper shoulder position is his most famous “ecises” called the supine groin progressive which is all about restoring proper hip positioning from side to side. Hmmm, makes you wonder about how the hips and shoulders are connected?

So here are some things I want you to ponder from page 144 of Pain Free by Pete Egoscue:

When Was the Last Time You…

Got down on the floor?

Hung by your hands?

Crawled on your hands and knees?

Threw a ball overhand?

Threw a ball underhand?

Climbed a tree?

Bore weight over your head?

Reached behind you left and right?

Whirled your arms at the shoulder sockets?

Shoveled?

Climbed over a fence?

Climbed under a fence?

Stretched on tiptoes?

Raked leaves or grass clippings?

Pushed a heavy object?

Pulled a heavy object?

Swung a bat with both hands?

Swung a stick or a racket with one hand?

Carried more than ten pounds in each hand?

Lift more than 20 pounds with both hands off the floor?

Delivered a forceful blow with your arm and hand?

Held both arms up and out to the sides?

Put both your hands on top of your head?

Balanced on one foot?

Balanced on one foot atop a bench, log or stump?

Walked up a flight of stairs?

Took more than one step at a time (ascending and descending)?

Danced?

It’s quite a list isn’t? If we don’t use all the muscles involved in these and many other types of movements we are capable of by design then of course our body will begin to conform to the limited demands and become increasingly dysfunctional. It will become mal-positioned in its structure and then lots of problems start cascading.

Two things I recommend. The first is to get a copy of the Pain Free book and study it. The second is to start doing as many (and more) of the activities I just listed. They don’t have to be done all at once. Just consciously begin to engage in the kinds of activities and movements that utilize this wonderful body we are gifted at birth. Remember – move it or lose it!

Improve Golf Swing Without Touching a Club – The Secret Revealed November 3, 2012

Posted by jeffrooney in Egoscue Method, Fitness, Golf, Posture, Posture Alignment Therapy.
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http://www.stack.com/2012/10/16/golf-swing/
This is a great article from John Elder of Nashville Egoscue. He explores a premise in our alignment therapy work that – it is the body that you bring to your activity that is a key starting point. So he elaborates a bit on this theme and then gives 3 short exercises to use to set up your body for the golf game and beyond. Don’t be surprised when your game improves – it is your body that just got better!

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