It's time to get caught up on our series The 3 Biggest Mistakes you can Make with Postural Therapy.
Mistake # 3 With Posture Alignment Therapy
You tried a menu out of one of the books on your own without the help of a Certified Posture Alignment Specialist. While trying the menu of exercises you:
- experienced discomfort or sensations you were unfamiliar with, and/or
- struggled (getting into or doing) the corrective exercises
As a result simply gave up on postural therapy, blaming the methodology without investigating further (why).
Boy oh boy. This one is a doozie! Here is the big idea. As wonderful as free exercises and self-help books are, there is no substitute for expert coaching! Never.
Postural therapy works. But unfortunatly things get easily lost in translation. Even with the best of intentions (looking at the photo(s), reading and following the directions), things can still go wrong.
I've seen it many times.
Every once in awhile I'll get an email or a new client in my studio from someone who has been struggling on their own working out of Pain Free or the free exercises I have on my site and challenged me as to why it they weren't providing pain relief. My favorite one is "your exercises don't work!"
They are naturally disappointed. I totally understand. Postural Therapy offers hope that your body isn't broken, and if given just half a chance it can heal if we give it the proper attention. So when the "magic" doesn't happen right away, some disillusion sets in.
Here's a few things to remember about Sample Menus:
- Pain is Pain - Listen to Your Body! | We never coach our clients to work through old symptomatic pain. If you can't get into the exercise, or something doesn't feel right, STOP! Most likely it's your position, not your condition, meaning that it is the body going into the movement and not the movement itself that is the problem. Your body is telling you that something isn't right. Listen to your body! It is saying that you need a modification, completely different sequence of exercises or coaching to get into and out of the exercise correctly. If postural therapy makes sense to you, hire a pro. We know what to do to help.
- Samples are Just That | Free exercise downloads and menus out of Pete's books are what works in general for the affected condition/area. They show you how simple, yet profoundly easy postural therapy is. The exercises and menus certainly do relieve pain, however, they are not customized for an individual's unique postural presentation.
- One Size Does Not Fit All | While very effective, I have no way of seeing your posture, assessing your needs, designing a menu specific to the client, teaching the client how to set up, get into and out of the exercise correctly, or provide modifications if necessary.
What I call Posture Distortion (aka Kinesthetic Dysfunction) is a funny thing. When the body is performing correctly and exsists close to it's "blue-print design" we will have a great sense of Kinesthesia (Awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body by means of sensory organs (proprioceptors) in the muscles and joints) source Google.
I believe that each person doing postural therapy sample exercises on their own goes into their exercises truly setting up and performing the exercise correctly in their minds eye. I see this all the time when I teach.
The problem is that your posture is imbalanced. You have what is referred to as Kinesthetic Dysfunction "the inability to sense your body accurately."
This means that you are operating on sensations that are incorrect. While your mind is telling you that everything is set up correctly, the body is giving different information. In a fantastic article, Your Body Knows by Craig Williamson, he writes:
"When there is kinesthetic dysfunction, you cannot accurately sense whether certain muscles are relaxed or tensed; you cannot correctly sense how much effort your muscles are making. As a result, tensed muscles remain tensed, and sooner or later the tension becomes painful. And as long as your kinesthetic awareness is dysfunctional, you cannot improve the way you carry and use your body.I have observed that kinesthetic dysfunction commonly occurs in people with chronic muscle tension from pain reactions, injuries, poor body alignment or prolonged psychological stress."
So when a disappointed person emails of comes in the first thing I have to look at is how they are setting up the exercises to see if kinesthetic dysfunction is to blame. Most often it actually is. I've seen all sort of wild thing with even the most basic of exercises static back. Yes, people can actually do static back incorrectly, or need a modification for it. I'm not kidding!
This is why Hiring the Services of a Posture Alignment Specialist maximizes your experience.
Not only will we make a menu specific for your postural needs and stages of progression out of pain, but we will teach you how to do your menu. From the set up, the sublties while in the exercise and all they way to what to expect and feel as you go along, well help you trust your body again.
You have to remember that you're starting postural therapy with a body that is out of balance in every plane that it exists in. What feels level in your imbalanced body might not mesh with how the exercise feels for a time.
Having someone to guide you in the direction of your goals and give guidance for success is one of the greatest decisions a person who is looking to do posture alignment therapy to alleviate chronic pain can do for him/herself. Working with a coach helps you to set up for success!
Other Benefits of Hiring a Certified Posture Alignment Specialists:
- It's All About You! | We will modify you menu as needed. Never ever are you asked to work through old symptomatic pain. A Certified PAS can change your menu as necessary to set you up for success!
- Trouble Shoot Common Problems | You have someone to connect with before your follow-up appointment. We are here to trouble-shoot and answer questions. I personally coach my clients to reach out and connect with me mid-week to ensure that they feel confident in their menu. If they don't we can connect via Skype to check alignment, drop into the studio to do a quick question/answer, and at most, schedule a menu review session where a client can practice his/her menu with me at a minimal training time cost.
- Coaches Coach | You have a motivational and accountability partner
- Learn From Experience | Your performance and results are more productive becuase you learn methods and successful tips and tricks from a seasoned professional of the trade
- SMART Goal Planning | You'll receive realistic expectations for progress in your postural therapy as well as help with setting and achieving goals
- Create New Posture Habits | a Certified PAS will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you focus on positively changing your thoughts, actions and habits until your new posture becomes your new habit.
So there you have it. The Three Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Doing Postural Therapy.
Of course, I'm sure I've only scratched the surface, but in my opinion, these are the three things that I see most often in private practice. If it describes you, know that I'm not wagging my finger at you. I want you to get better and it's my deep hope that this series will encourage you to make a positive change for the better. Because when you balance the body, you relieve the pain.
We're in this together and I am here to help!