principles of postural alignment therapy
Posture isn't about sitting up straight
When you saw the word 'posture' you probably automatically sat up straighter and put your shoulders back. The problem is, that was a conscious movement and not the way you naturally hold yourself in your daily life. You won't keep it up if it's a conscious movement - it needs to be subconscious, comfortable and natural.
Posture is so much more than sitting up straight. Your posture is your body's ability to hold itself in functional alignment and with a full range of movements at each joint.
Postural Alignment Therapy reawakens the deep muscles which have fallen asleep (and have forgotten how to allow functional, pain free movement) and quietens those which are on fire from compensatory movements (taking on extra responsibilities because of the sleeping muscles). Once you have reached this status quo, sitting up straight will be your subconscious go-to and no big deal.
The human body is perfect by design and age isn't a factor in musculoskeletal function
Humans aren't weak. Humans are strong, movement machines capable of great feats.
Your back isn't painful because you're getting old. Your knee doesn't hurt because you like to run. You hurt because of our sedentary, modern 'non-human' lives which create dysfunctions and cause uneven wear and tear in our joints.
We are animals and, once upon a time not so long ago, we lived like the animals we are perfectly designed to be. We don't anymore and this is why we hurt, not because our bodies are misbehaving or are 'bad'. They are behaving perfectly, according to the variety of load and demand we put upon on them. If we moved sufficiently throughout our entire lives, we wouldn't suffer the majority of the pains we suffer as we get older (and blame on age).
There is a reason that rural, traditional communities in developing countries have almost non-existent problems with any type of muscloskeletal pain (regardless of age) and it is because they continue to live like the humans we are designed to be.
The body wants to (and will) heal if given the right environment and stimuli
Every cell within the body has the ability to repair and regrow. Cells make up our systems, which make up our bodies. If all our cells constantly renewing and regrowing, why shouldn't your musculoskeletal system renew and regrow too?
Outdated science tells us that worn out cartilage and bone don't grow back and this is why people are told they need hip/knee replacements or spinal surgery. This simply is not true. Too often, the dysfunctional environment that houses the affected joint isn't corrected (even after surgery) and the misalignments continue to wear down at the cartilage and bone. It is not because they aren't regrowing, it is because they are still being worn down!
We need to correct this environment and bring back even, functional loading to your joints. This will allow cartilage and bone to grow back.
Address the true root cause of your pain, not just the painful symptoms
Why do painkillers, steroid injections and/or surgery largely fail? Because they only treat painful symptoms, and do not delve into root causes (which don't necessarily hurt and are often located separately to the painful symptoms). They can actually make things worse, as they mask how much pain you're in and make you move in exactly the same way that you did before the intervention - this creates a bigger problem at the root cause of the issue!
Really ask yourself WHY you have the pain. 'Age' or 'just have been born with a bad hip/knee/back' aren't good enough answers. If they were, everyone of your age would suffer exactly the same symptoms or you would have had chronic pain since birth.
The body in its functional, aligned state would not start loading unevenly and causing pain. It's not 'just the way you are' or even very complicated, its caused by unnatural muscle tensions normally caused by our Western lifestyles. This is great news! Why is this so great? You have the power to do something about it!
The whole body works as a connected unit
Too often, existing pain rehabilitation methods treat parts of the body, or a muscle, in isolation. This doesn't seem right to Postural Alignment Therapists, as we know the whole body and our internal systems are all intrinsically linked and related.
It is literally impossible to isolate and treat just one area, one muscle or joint, when the ability of that area, muscle or joint is dependent and linked to the position and functionality of the rest of your body. You cannot 'strengthen' a knee (for example) without considering how that knee relates to the rest of the body. Neck pain could be caused by an old ankle injury that didn't set properly. Headaches can be caused by the position of your spine. Wrist ache can be caused by the position of the pelvis. It may seem crazy but it is not when you consider the whole body is intrinsically linked.
We use gentle movements and exercises to get the whole body firing its kinetic chains in unison and don't simply focus on the area that presents with obvious issues. The "knee bone connected to the thigh bone" etc song has never been more apt!
Sporty people regularly suffer chronic musculoskeletal dysfunctions
Do you have a car? Do you have a computer/TV? Do you have a desk job? Do you buy food from a supermarket? If you have answered yes to any of those questions it is likely your body is not receiving its daily movement quota, even you do go to the gym.
You can play sports, be very fit and muscly but have no integral, postural strength and flexibility. The more aggressively you train in a specific way which only works certain parts of the body repeatedly, the harder you feed dysfunctions and the harder you will eventually 'break'. Sports don't cause problems (unless you're in a ruck in rugby!), but the body you bring to the sport can cause major problems.
Too often I hear people say "Running is bad for my knees." We need to adjust our mindset on this. Running is NOT bad for knees ... IF the body attached to these knees is aligned and fully functional.
If you look at the woman in the picture, of COURSE running is going to be bad for her because her legs are not loading in the correct manner at all. If she did some work on the muscles around her pelvis and hips, she could really improve the way her legs impact the ground.
We are accountable and responsible for our own health
It is too easy nowadays to get anything you want at the click of the button. We live in a fast, consumerist world. This also translates with our attitude towards our health. We expect some professional to help us out with a magic cure, then we get exasperated when the cure doesn't work and you're back to square one two weeks later.
There is no magic cure when it comes to your body, although with Postural Alignment Therapy you may be surprised as to how immediately you feel the positive effects. If you have been alive for 30/40/50/60/70 years, you are living with a body that has that many years of ingrained habits to work with when it comes to your pain rehabilitation. You will need some perseverance. Your body needs YOU to be a willing participant and cheerleader for its recovery.
Postural Alignment Therapy will not work fully unless you're prepared to put the leg work in outside of your sessions. I am not pretending to be a miracle worker, I am merely your coach. YOU will work your own miracles. Your body doesn't want to be in pain, it wants to be better. Postural Alignment Therapy is a client-centric therapy model because no one knows your body as well as you do and everyone's body is a bit different!
Are you ready for Postural Alignment Therapy?
Regardless of whatever age, shape, size or level of pain someone is in, Postural Alignment Therapy is for anyone who can answer yes (truthfully) to these questions ...
Am I willing to take responsibility for my own health?
The fantastic thing about Postural Alignment Therapy is that it empowers YOU to get yourself out of pain. I will not be waving a magic wand or 'doing' anything to you - you're responsible in making yourself better. I will be instructing you through a bespoke routine (a bit like Pilates) of gentle movements to start to restore functionality back to your body. Whilst I respect limitations and pain, I don't respect excuses. I only want to work with people who really want to make themselves better. If you have 10 minutes spare per day to watch TV or be on social media, then you have 10 minutes to help yourself reduce your pain!
Am I willing to do my routine most days (if it gets me out of pain)?
At our appointment, I will cater the length of your bespoke routine as to how much spare time you have to get yourself better (and also show you how to perform the moves in your routine). However, I can't make you do anything after our appointment is finished. The more you do your bespoke routine in your spare time, the better the results. Bearing in mind you might have 75 years of muscular habits to undo, this is not a quick fix (but you may be surprised at how quickly you'll see and feel results)!
Will I keep Ellie updated with my progress?
This is a mutual process and I need my clients to keep me in the loop with how they are feeling, what progress they are making and if they feel like anything isn't working for them. As you improve, we will switch the routine up to match your progress. First we focus on 'straightening' any wonky bits and after you're straight, we focus on building strength into your new found functionality. It is very common to tweak a routine if it too difficult or you don't think it's working. I am always here to give any extra guidance as necessary, but need to know if there are any problems or questions!
I am not sure if I am ready yet ...
If you're not quite sure if you are ready yet or are a bit unsure what Postural Alignment Therapy is all about, why not come along to or book in a talk, workshop or free 15 minute phone consultation? This will help introduce you to the methodology behind Postural Alignment Therapy, explain what happens in a 1 on 1 session, you can ask me questions and also you'll hopefully get some immediate results for you which will inspire you to want to continue!
I'm not a Doctor and I'm not a Physio ... I 'just' teach people to move correctly.
Have a particular symptom or condition you’re trying to deal with? Curious to understand the link between your posture and chronic pain? Want to improve and optimise your sporting performance through moving more functionally and eliminating compensating movement patterns?
Contact me today to see how Postural Alignment Therapy can help you (or your family, friends or employees) help yourself back to your natural functional alignment and maximum health.
I offer free 15 minute phone consultations to clarify what Postural Alignment is all about and to see if it is the right treatment for you. Fill out the form below to get in touch.
Based upstairs at Bevere Cafe & Gallery, WR3 7RQ.
Skype appointments also available.
Appointments by prior arrangement only.
Mondays - 9am - 8pm
Tuesdays - 9am - 5pm
Wednesdays - 9am - 5pm
Thursdays - 9am - 8pm
Fridays - 9am - 5pm
Occasional weekends and other time slots by appointment.