Remedial Massage to help with Postural Imbalance By Rakhee Dodhia
When we talk about posture, we talk about the body being in alignment and all the muscles, joints and ligaments working as they are designed to – in balance. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many of us and repetitive patterns, an example of this is sitting at a desk all day; this can have a negative impact on the body and cause improper posture, where the muscles are used inefficiently.
At some point in our lives, most of us will be prone to some sort of postural imbalance, but if left untreated this can have a debilitating effect on our musculoskeletal system. While this doesn’t happen to everyone, for many of us as we get older, repetitive bad habits such as slouching can lead to postural imbalance and dysfunction. If we allow this misalignment to go on for long enough, it can have a significant impact on the spine and joints, which can cause more problems down the line.
Postural imbalance usually results in some muscles being underutilised and therefore weakening, while others are put under extra demand to compensate for the weakened muscles. Over time, the unused muscles can become shorter and tighter which then start to pull on our joints and bones. After a period of time, this can result in general pain, headaches and back pain.
For example, by sitting at a desk all day, working over a computer can, over time, cause our heads to move forward as they migrate over our computers, sometimes known as Upper Cross Syndrome. This results in round-shouldered, head forward, hunched appearance. The front muscles, including the pectoral and anterior muscles, are being pulled too tight from the forward motion, whilst the mid to upper back muscles, including the erector spinae, trapezius and rhomboids are all being lengthened and become weak. This can be very uncomfortable and not only cause tightness and pain in the neck and shoulders, but it can lead to tension headaches as well.
Regular remedial massage can help to loosen and relax your muscles and help to allow the body to return to its natural state of balance, providing relief from the overused or weakened muscles. Massage therapy can also increase the range of motion in joints, thereby lessening their load.
Techniques may include trigger point therapy, muscle energy techniques and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation stretches which are an excellent way of increasing mobility. Your therapist may also suggest stretches and exercises for you to do at home as well as suggesting other forms of therapy such as yoga, to help promote better posture and balance or Pilates, to help to strengthen your deeper core muscles around the spine in order to give the larger external phasic muscles a break from overuse.
An accredited remedial massage therapist will assess your body, to observe muscular dysfunctions. Based on what they find, they will then tailor their treatment to your individual needs, helping to lengthen these contracted muscles and, over time, improve these dysfunctions and by extension your postural alignment.
Think of massage as a (lovely) way to ‘oil’ the body by balancing the length, tone and functionality of the soft tissue, with a long-term effect of more flexibility and mobility!
About The Author
Remedial Massage Therapist
Sacred Space Healing
Rakhee is a Remedial Massage Therapist, with a practice in Bilgola, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. Of Indian origin, Rakhee, grew up surrounded by the ancient healing world of Ayurveda and has developed a keen interest and practice of the same.