Posture is a crucially important component to understanding what pain is and how it is created in the human body. Since Rolfing® Structural Integration directly affects one’s posture, this article will help you recognize certain aspects of postural problems as well as some of the things Rolfers™ will do to help you with the pain relief and management.
What is Posture?
Most people think of posture as the body’s alignment or position when sitting or standing still (i.e. head up, shoulders back). However, it can also be described as a response, not a static or perfect shape, but an expression, a story.
“Your posture is often a result from your interactions with the world around you. It emerges out of how you orient yourself to the events of your life, how those events feel in your body, and how you move toward or away from the people or things involved. In time, your responses program the way you stand and move.”(Bond, 2007)
Dysfunction in the body
Efficiency, use, and posture of the body directly affect the health of the nervous system, circulation, digestion and other organs; it also correlates to an expression of mood, feelings, and personality. If we are not balanced in respect with the force and flow of gravity, as in an aligned and supportive relationship, as we age, these imbalances can become fixed. Fixed patterns of misuse drastically affect the fall of our health physically, emotionally as well as spiritually and creatively.
Healthy posture is characterized by an easy fluidity, an effortless grace, and a lightness of being. How our joints limit or allow movement tells us a story of how capable our body is of a posture, such as being able to comfortably sit at our desk, or perform “downward facing dog” in yoga. Belief systems also play an important role in how we hold these restrictions in our unconscious ability to move our bodies. Rolfers look at the body in movement to determine patterns of dysfunctional mobility and to help clients move easier through life.
“Many people think that their problems will be solved if they buy the right equipment and have it adjusted to the correct height and location. Unfortunately, even with the best workplace setup, bad posture often occurs.”(Mitchell, 2007) The activity of changing your felt perception with gravity and the world around you is what makes good posture sustainable. No amount of “sitting up straight” or positioning your shoulders back will correct your postural problems. Training is necessary for a person to experience what healthy posture feels like. In my Rolfing practice I focus on perceptual, spatial activities for my clients, in addition to manual Rolfing therapy. This creates options for growth and poise as a natural, lasting and comfortable expression.