Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Postural Analysis Matters
What is Posture? The
term posture describes the relationship among various parts of the body, their
anatomical arrangement and how well they do or do not fit together. Our body has many tools to help us control
our upright posture, but many of these tools are a function of our subconscious
mind, leaving us vulnerable to developing poor habits that compromise our
posture, alignment and balance.
The Importance of
Postural Assessment Just as doctors use X-rays, CAT scans and
MRIs to evaluate, educate, design customized treatment plans and document
progress, a body worker or massage therapist should include postural analysis
when doing a client intake. By doing a
postural assessment with a new or existing client, you will be able to create a
personalized treatment plan based on physical evidence that reveals imbalances
in the body. You will also be able to
review your findings after a series of treatments to see where progress has
been made and where adjustments to treatment may be necessary.
As a client of bodywork,
this should be just as important to you as it is to the provider. With this kind of postural assessment you
gain awareness of areas that have become weaker over time and can now start
moving and exercising with intention to strengthen those areas. Awareness of your imbalances will help you to
change bad habits and learn new ways of moving that will cause less pain and
stress, especially as we age.
Another reason, and perhaps
the most important, is to save you time and money. When your therapist does a postural
assessment, they know exactly where your imbalances are and have the ability to
recommend a specific treatment plan and exercises to alleviate your pain and
discomfort. You also have more awareness
of your body, which will help you make healthier choices. After a prescribed time period, a follow-up
assessment should be done to evaluate progress and make necessary adjustments
to the treatment plan to reach your health goals.
Advantages of Postural
Alignment As we age, our
posture becomes more and more important.
What starts out as tightness in the pectorals and chest area, will
eventually lead to rounding of the upper back and the stooped position that we
see in many elderly women. There could
be many factors contributing to this particular imbalance in the body, a couple
being your work environment or injury.
Another possibility is self-image.
I had a female friend who was over 6 feet and had always been taller
than her other classmates growing up.
She had adopted a hunched posture to appear less tall than she actually
is. In the long run, a postural
imbalance like this will continue to weaken back muscles and tighten neck
muscles causing the curvature of the spine to become exaggerated and compromised,
leading to pain, discomfort and the possibility of arthritis and other
Get a Postural Assessment
Now Everyone seeking to improve their health, so that they can stay active
well into their old age, should be asking â??how can I prevent this from
happening to me?â? The answer, get a
postural assessment. Have your therapist
document with pictures and on paper, so there is a record of the findings and
they can explain them to you. Decide on
a treatment plan together. Both self-care,
including specific exercises, and treatments with your body worker or massage
therapist will be of benefit. Then
re-assess your postural alignment in 2-4 months to see what progress has been
made and where strengthening and adjustments to your treatment plan are still