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.