Posture is often overlooked as a health concern, but a person's posture has a direct effect on his or her breathing, organ function, and muscle integrity. With the majority of American adults confined to desk and chair for 40 hours of the week, attention to posture is crucial for optimum health. In Chinese medicine, correct posture is considered necessary for the proper flow of qi (the life force that traverses each living thing). TCM practitioners believe that good posture provides for not only the proper flow of qi, but of blood as well (leading to better brain and organ performance).
Poor posture is related to several TCM problems (such as back pain and other forms of musculoskeletal imbalance), and is sometimes believed to cause them. Consequently, practicing good posture can enhance a TCM treatment (such as acupuncture), while poor posture can inhibit results. Due to the active lifestyle common in their patients, ancient Chinese medical practitioners did not have to deal with patients' poor posture nearly as often as practitioners do today. Similarly, Liver Qi Stagnation was also not as common a problem in ancient China as it is today; it is believed to be closely related to posture. Liver Qi Stagnation refers to a pattern of disharmony in a person that is characterized by pain in the chest, the abdomen, the head, or along the Liver channel. Also associated with this disharmony are feelings of stress, agitation, or anxiety. Liver Qi Stagnation directly coincides with posture problems, and helping the latter can greatly improve the Liver channel - alleviating muscle pain as well as mental tension.
Acupuncture is a great place to start working on one's posture. A practitioner can discover which muscles or channels are most affected by an individual's physical stance, and can thus recommend which areas are in greatest need of improvement. Some patients have a slightly higher left or right side of the body, others tuck in the pelvis (as all small children do), or thrust out the chest too much, while still others primarily have problems in the neck/ upper back region, where slouching is the most common. Each imbalance in a person's alignment will have a different posture reform remedy. And each posture reform remedy can be enhanced with acupuncture or a high impact massage, such as the Asian Tui Na massage technique.
For more information on posture and its relation to health and TCM, please call (800) 729-0941, or visit us at www.pacificcollege.edu