How Massage Addresses Hidden Posture Killers
Apr 30, 2014 06:07PM
● By Wendy Halfpap
Poor posture is noticeable in people of all ages and lifestyles. Many are not even aware of their posture and are starting to hunch at a young age. Proper posture is shoulders relaxed, brought back so that they are in a straight line with the ears and hips. There are natural curves to the back, but some are exaggerated due to imbalance. Massage therapy can correct many postural imbalances and help people look and feel better.
With the many activities, demands and tasks to be completed in a day, achy muscles and energy drain are not surprising. The primary target of stress is the upper body, especially the back. Working at a computer for too long without a break to stretch can stiffen the back and neck quickly. Driving long distances fatigues back and leg muscles. Constantly bending to lift children or complete other household tasks can stress the entire back. Imbalance also occurs when too much weight is placed on one side while toting a heavy load, such as groceries, a laptop or even a purse.
Emotional stress can change the body’s posture; as the sympathetic nervous system engages during the “fight-or-flight” response, the muscles stiffen in defense. No one can stop living or moving, but the secret to feeling good rests in properly maintaining the body. Excessive curvature is called hyperkyphosis when seen in the upper back and hyperlordosis in the lower back. An effective massage treatment will first address the muscle group primarily causing the dysfunction.
In the case of low back pain, the center quadriceps, or thigh muscles, can be too tight. These are postural muscles that specifically help us to stand up straight. Once these muscles are smoothed out and relaxed, they start to lengthen and shift the body to an upright position, relaxing the overstretched low back muscles.
Upper back pain can be due to tight pectoral or chest muscles, which cause the back to roll the chest inward, creating a hunch. The neck and head may also be pulled forward. Massage therapy loosens the neck muscles to bring the head back, and relaxes and lengthens the pectoral muscles to bring the shoulders back. Finally, the back itself is treated to smooth out knots and release any residual tissue restrictions.
Just one massage therapy session can make individuals feel taller, younger, stronger, lighter and happier, which boosts their confidence.
Wendy Halfpap, a licensed massage therapist trained in several techniques, including craniosacral therapy, works at Active Body Wellness, LLC, 10620 N. Port Washington Rd., in Mequon. For more information, call 414-721-6942 or visit ActiveBodyWellness.MassageTherapy.com.