Stress-Free Posture And Body Mechanics: Part Two: A Modern Posture





Posture tells a meaningful story of who we are. Modern posture is less dictated by social strictures than in previous times. We are also in the process of adjusting our behaviour to adapt to new physical demands and stresses. A time of change offers opportunity to make new choices that are more authentic, based on knowledge, understanding, and informed choices that effectively address the related issues.




Popular North American posture is more relaxed, and we value comfort and individual expression more than previous, dominant social standards of deportment. Our social history tells the story of how we have struggled for the freedom of personal expression, for generations. 

Technological development is a major catalyst as well. Conducting business is possible now without physical human contact, and this is changing the way we behave. Portable devices mean we're not just sitting at desks anymore to work.




However, this is not the whole story. It isn't only about what we do, it is also what we are not doing, that is causing us physical stress. Neglect of basic health habits directly affects the health of our soft tissues.

What is Connective Tissue?
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Our connective tissue gives us structural support, and our body aesthetic appeal; it is also actively and intimately involved in the health of every cell and physiological function, contains active agents of the immune system, and is integral to disease containment. 

Loose areolar connective tissue is immensely hydrophilic (able to store large quantities of water) because of the high content of hyaluronic acid. It is this hydrophilic quality that makes loose connective tissue the site of all fluid exchanges in the body. 

Connective tissue also has an abundance of capillaries that supply avascular tissues with nourishment. 

Structural integrity, the health of all cells, and optimal physiological function depends upon basic health habits.

We are slow to appreciate that new demands require new skills. The skills required for a healthy, happy, and successful life, like the basic health habits, and stress-free posture and body mechanics, are all learned skills.


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Fascia, Structural Integrity, and Gravity

Every object in the universe is motivated by gravity. Gravity is a force of attraction. The force of attraction is greater or smaller dependent on size and distance, but the force is present everywhere.

Gravity is a factor in our physical well being. Our physical body is subject to the same physical laws as all physical structures on earth. 

A structure that is not in a balanced relationship to the pull of gravity will topple over due to the immensely greater magnitude of the earth than any object upon it.

Seismological engineers know that the structural integrity of a building requires a mobile foundation and flexible supports. Rigidity spells disaster in an earthquake. This is true for the human body as well. The more resilient and flexible your body, the more secure the relationship with gravity.



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Ida P. Rolf, Ph. D., was the first person to articulate the idea that gravity could support human structures. She called it a more human use of human beings. Dr. Rolf developed a series of soft tissue treatments called structural integration, working from the premise that our bodies are plastic, and with help, can be returned to a balanced relationship with gravity. Rolfing and the related NISA address structural integrity in three areas: foundation, dimension, and  core. 

What is really happening in our bodies can best be explained by the term tensegrity, coined by the architect Buckminster Fuller, as interpreted by Deane Juhan. He noted that the vertical plane of the skeletal structure is dependent on tensional forces generated by fascia, the tone and contractibility of the muscular components, and the hydrostatic pressure of fascia. The skeletal structure, position, and motion are determined by the guy wires (myofascial tissues) attached to them, not the spine. 


The integrity of a tensegrity unit depends on the tensional force of these soft tissues, not on the compressional strength of the skeleton. More weight is borne by the connective tissue system than by the skeleton. This changes when there is misalignment, and undue stress and strain then occurs on the less resilient joints and joint tissues as a result.


 Tensegrity
It is the connective tissues,
in the activity of balance and counter-balance
which support our body in an upright posture - 
much like tent guy wires - 
not the spinal column or the tent poles.


Every muscle cell is surrounded, bundled and grouped into functional units by fascia, and it is ultimately the fascia that determines the function of muscles. Fascia also forms tendons that attach muscle to bone, and ligaments that attach bone to bone. It covers muscles, bones, nerves, organs, and vessels to a cellular level. Malfunction of the fascial system due to trauma, strain, poor health, postural stress, and inflammation can have far-reaching effects throughout the body, both systemically and structurally.




The conflict of the human body involves the structure as an aggregate of units. Any misaligned arrangement of these segments will cause far-reaching fascial strain. Three-dimensional symmetry along all three major axes, not just the vertical, is the solution. 


Our Body is a 3-Dimensional Structure 
in a 3 Dimensional World



The Story of A Soft Tissue Injury and Recovery

One winter, six years ago when I was 47, I took a classic tumble down my front stairs on the ice. It was forceful enough to fracture my elbow and dislocate my shoulder. After the reduction procedure, I planned a unique program of rehabilitation that was contrary to the directions of the sports medicine doctor. I modelled it after physical therapy treatment for soft tissue injuries that were being done in Denmark.

The first week focused on recovery. There is a lot of swelling and bruising with this type of injury. I iced rigorously. I also continued to use the arm as much as possible as I took care of necessary household tasks and personal grooming. The sling which the doctor had instructed me to wear for three weeks, with the arm immobilized, came off after the first day. This small demand on the injured tissues, even that early in recovery, did not harm the injury further. 





The second week I ceased the ice and introduced heat, passive range of motion exercises, and massage. The third week I started active range of motion exercises and exercising with weight, and continued the massage and heat treatments. 

I was back to work after five weeks of rest and rehabilitation. I was back to full time capacity by week ten. I lost no range of motion or strength of the injured arm. The movement, heat, exercise, and massage had aided and increased the healing process.

Re-injured

This week, I re-injured this shoulder during a misadventure with my garbage cart. It felt like the third week of recovery from the original injury. All of the abductor muscles were affected and the arm became immobilized.

Once again, my rehabilitation involved normal daily use and activities, with daily range-of-motion movement, heat, and self-massage. By day five, full-range-of-motion had been restored, and I went bowling with my family, using the right arm, my dominant side, that had been injured.

The resilience that has been created in my body from the consistent practice of basic health habits allowed my body to return to normal function quickly. This experience indicates to me what is possible at the advanced stage of 54, if you are healthy.
   





Conclusion 



    The human body is designed to move. It has remarkable ability to be conditioned and to rise to any physical challenge and demand. These qualities give us clues about how we can prevent and treat soft tissue dysfunction. 

    The human body cannot be conditioned to like sitting, but there are simple, easy solutions to help this and all of the issues involved in our modern lifestyle. 

    Soft tissue health and integrity, and stress-free posture and body mechanics depend on the consistent practice of basic health habits.



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    Body Language

    Changing your body is the simplest, most direct route to changing your life, and by extension, changing the world. How we use our body tells the story of our life if we know how to read and understand it. 

    When posture and body mechanics are being changed, the central nervous system is being reeducated to the new feelings that go with the improved body alignment. This initially causes a conflict between what the nervous system has become used to and accepts as normal, and the improved alignment, which the nervous system interprets as improper. The new, transitional alignment may even be less stable, temporarily. 


    Do You Know?

    Edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the interstitium, which are locations beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body. It is clinically shown as swelling. Generally, the amount of interstitial fluid is determined by the balance of fluid homeostasis, and increased secretion of fluid into the interstitium or impaired removal of this fluid may cause edema.

    Cutaneous edema is referred to as pitting when, after pressure is applied to a small area, the indentation persists for some time after the release of the pressure. Peripheral pitting edema is the more common type, resulting from water retention. It can be caused by electrolyte dysfunction, dehydration, systemic diseases, involved in pregnancy, either directly or as a result of heart failure, or local conditions such as varicose veins, thrombophlebitis, insect bites, and dermatitis. Non-pitting edema is observed when the indentation does not persist. It is associated with such conditions as lymphedema, lipedema, and myxedema. Kwashiorkor edema is caused by extreme malnutrition in children.


    Interstitial Fluid (tissue fluid) is a solution that bathes and surrounds the cells of multicellular animals. It is the main component of the extracellular fluid, which also includes plasma and transcellular fluid. The interstitial fluid is found in the interstitial spaces, also known as the tissue spaces.


    Interstitial Fluid Exchange


    On average, a person has about 11 litres of interstitial fluid, providing the cells of the body with nutrients and a means of waste removal.

    For important information please read HEALTH COACH: Water, Electrolytes, and Ions

    Somatotropin is a growth hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration, and it has a powerful effect upon the connective tissues. It directly stimulates the fibroblasts and mast cells of the immune system, increasing the production of both ground substance and collagen fibers. The growth hormone produced by recombinant DNA technology has the approved generic name somatropin and the brand name Humatrope. 

    The inhibition of this pituitary secretion has to be carefully timed and controlled, or the whole body or parts of it will continue to grow.

    The adult body secretes a smaller amount than a child, but it remains necessary to stimulate fibroblast activity for tissue repair and to strengthen fascia and tendons with an increase in muscle bulk.









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