The Laws of Posturology are fundamental truths regarding posture and balance that are widely accepted throughout the field.
To understand the law of Posturology, you must first understand the prefixes’ post‘ and ‘-sture.’
The word ‘posture’ comes from the Latin word for stand or position.
As a massage therapist who works daily on clients in chronic pain and dysfunction, I love to continually study the body and understand HOW and WHY the body responds the way it does to hurt.
Through intense study with the “masters of massage,” I have come to understand the complex nature of the body and its magical healing components. I come from an IT background, so I love that the body is logical – it does what it needs to do to maintain balance and harmony.
Pain – Spasm – Pain Cycle
We teach the “Pain – Spasm – Pain Cycle” as one of the first things relating to pain treatment.
Basically, “something” injures the client – whether trauma-related or funky. It doesn’t matter what it is – the client has pain that causes them to guard and protect the area. Lack of movement causes a lack of blood flow and a local chemical build-up in the area (trigger point), resulting in more pain and spasm.
This vicious cycle will continue until there is an intervention of some sort to stop the pain cycle from repeating. It’s important to note that this cycle could continue for years – even from whiplash from a car accident 20 years ago.
Scar tissue is a natural part of the healing process, and it should be noted that scar tissue is weaker than the original tissue it replaces. When muscle tissue sustains damage, fibrous scar tissue replaces it. This is what I call “muscle enemy #1.”
Scar tissue in the body is very invasive; it pulls from the area around it and restricts the movement of the joint. It can bind many muscles and connective tissue layers, causing varying degrees of limited motion and pain. Think of scar tissue like a snag in a sweater – it pulls fibers around it, causing the snag to grow.
The symptom picture of scar tissue looks like this:
- Impaired range of motion
- Circulation problems
- Nerve impediment
The Laws of Posturology
The law of Posturology, as I said earlier, I am passionate about understanding HOW and WHY the body responds to pain. Once you grasp the laws of pasturology, it’s easy to see the how and why. Scientists call this area of research Posturology – which is the “science of human balance in every physiological condition.”
The coolest law of all the laws is called the “Righting Reflex,” – which dictates our ability to remain upright to maintain a sense of balance. In other words, this law explains how your head will adjust (by tilt or rotation) so that your eyes remain level with the horizon.
Now, because of the Righting Reflex, there are physical forces applied to the body which CAUSE the pain response – and these physical forces will always do their thing because of gravity:
Now, let’s put this into terms that you might be more comfortable with:
- You’ll feel “compressed.” compressions cause wear and tear injuries – such as disk bulges, SI Joint problems, hip degradation, and pain.
- Torques – think of it like a wet towel being squeezed for years – over time, torque wears down the discs causing Degenerative disc disease.
- Shearing causes facet problems, spinal cord pinching, and derangement of discs.
Perhaps you’ve been to a doctor who tells you that you have a bulging disc between L4-L5 and that surgery may be the only option. I look at the bulging disc as a symptom and NOT the problem. As a bodyworker, I look at my clients’ postures and work at getting them back in order, and we find that, in most cases, the pain problems resolve.
All of these posture patterns lead to something I call “Structural Sickness,” – which manifests in all kinds of syndromes, including:
- Physical pain
- Nerve impingement syndromes
- Visceral (organ) pain and dysfunction
- Hormonal imbalances
You can eat well, exercise frequently, be emotionally open, and so forth, but sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes body structures get so out of place that the only way to get you back is to pull them back physically.
My kids make fun of me for always looking at people’s postures. I can’t help myself. I am a student that constantly studies. So, straighten up – someone’s watching!
Shari Aldrich, LMP, owns the highly successful Integrative Health Clinic in Olympia, WA, which includes massage and chiropractic care. She also owns Bodymechanics School of Myotherapy & Massage and Olympia Fit Body Boot Camp. Shari believes that her primary duty is to educate her patients about their suffering – and she is currently writing two books on the subject. For more information, please visit her blog at www.shari-fit-touch.com or e-mail her at [email protected].