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 Osteopathy: Posture and Correct Body Use 

The Effect of Wearing High Heels:
  1. Head forward of its centre of gravity
  2. Thoracic area of spine rounded
  3. Lumbar area hollowed
  4. Pelvis rotated forward and abdominal area sagging
  5. Shortening of posterior leg muscles.
Correct Posture

When standing, the crown of the head should be the highest point, not—as is most common—the front of the head. When sitting, the spine should be supported and not allowed to sag. The slope of the upper leg, when sitting, should be from the knee to the hip. That is to say, the knee should be higher than the hip. If this is the case and the buttocks are well back in the chair, the spine will be relaxed and supported. The feet should be so placed that by leaning forward from the sitting position and then straightening the knees, the upright position can be achieved with a minimum of effort. Crosslegged sitting produces twisting strain on the pelvic-lumbar area. It will do no harm for short periods but the danger exists of a habit pattern developing which can help to produce permanent changes in the low-back area.

When walking the head should be held 'tall', not held forward of the centre of gravity of the body. In this way the head becomes less of a heavy weight, which appears to be in danger of falling off its perch on the neck, and more of a 'balloon' floating above the erect body. Think of the graceful movement of a cat or of a ballet dancer; in both examples the head leads and the body appears to follow. Contrast them with the sagging, heavy, round-shouldered appearance so often apparent to any observer. Not only is the appearance so much more pleasing but the effects on general health and energy are demonstrably improved. Bending is essentially produced by the flexion of the knees and hips. A minimum of spinal movement should be required to get down to lift or move an object. If this could be clearly understood and practiced there would be a great reduction in spinal problems.

In one-sided, repetitive activities such as digging or sweeping every effort should be made to break the pattern frequently so that other muscles can be used, and those involved in the repetitive movement given a rest.

In one's work it will pay dividends to examine the way simple repetitive activities are performed. For example, I know of a case of severe neck pain which was produced by the habit of holding a telephone receiver between ear and shoulder, thus tilting the head to one side and leaving both hands free. This, when repeated many times a day for some years, resulted in chronic strain.

Ideal Sleeping Position
Sleep should be on a firm surface. The ideal position is to lie on one side with the head on one medium pillow which is pulled well into the angle between neck and shoulder; thus the head and neck are supported and not allowed to sag or become pushed to one side by too thick a supporting surface. The knees should be flexed so that the lower back is resting in a slightly rounded or neutral position. Sleeping face downwards is undesirable because of the effect on the low back as well as the necessity for the head to be turned to one side.

(Excerpted from Osteopathy: A Complete Health Care System )
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 About The Author
Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MROA practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the ...more
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