Posture and George Washington
“Sit up straight!” I am sure I have heard this at least a million times in my life. I am not sure if your family was like mine or not, but we grew up with a copy of Emily Post’s book, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home, on our fireplace mantle, and it was referenced frequently in order to help me to become the person that I am today. (You can download the book from the link above, 1922 edition.)
Emily post is not the only person of antiquity that discussed the importance of posture though. The first president of the United States, George Washington, was known for his perfect posture, and the manner in which he carried himself. Author A.J. Jacobs, when writing his book, “My Life as an Experiment,” spent a month following the concepts from George Washington’s list of life advice, The 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. As part of his month long experiment, he met with George Washington’s interpreter from Mount Vernon who once again reinforced Washington’s stance on posture. When someone follows the example of Washington’s posture, a change begins to develop within them. Confidence increases, self worth improves, and hormonal changes take place.
Lower Your Stress, and Increase Your Sex Drive with Posture
Social psychologist and Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, Amy Cuddy, shared some of the research findings behind posture and hormonal changes in a TED talk in June 2012. From a social standpoint, we know that how we present ourselves effects how others perceive us, but it can also effect how we see ourselves. Her research demonstrates that even if we do not feel confident, when we alter our posture, by placing ourselves in a “power pose,” our hormones begin to shift within us.
Changes in posture resulted in hormonal changes among the participants. The participants with a “power posture” experienced about a 20-percent increase in testosterone, while those that took on a “defeated posture” had about a 10-percent decrease in testosterone after maintaining their posture for two minutes. The stress hormone cortisol also demonstrated changes when the posture was altered to “power” and “defeated” positions. The “power posture” people experienced about a 25-percent decrease in cortisol production, while the “defeated posture” participants experienced a 15-percent increase in cortisol.
Cortisol is released in times of stress, injury, and poor posture situations. Increased cortisol will lead to weight gain, hormonal imbalance, fatigue, poor sleep, impaired healing, and a wide variety of other symptoms.
Correcting Poor Posture
Doctors of chiropractic have a strong reputation of helping individuals improve their posture. Poor posture can affect a variety of systems in the body. The Journal of the American Medical Association’s article, Posture in the Aging and Aged Body, states “Deviations in the body’s center of gravity caused poor posture, which resulted in intestinal problems, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, osteoporosis, hip and foot deformities, poor health, decreased quality of life and a shortened life span.”
Improving our posture is more than creating a good outward appearance for other people. Great posture is a sign of health, and can affect quality of life and our life span.
In addition to chiropractic care, quantum neurology rehabilitation is used in our office in order to help patients improve their posture, while helping them to overcome their symptoms. In a previous post on back pain and posture, I posted a “before” and “after” picture of a woman that had one quantum neurology correction at a tennis match. This woman not only reported significant changes in pain (6/10 to 1/10), but also demonstrated improved posture.
Through chiropractic and quantum neurology care, we are able to begin the process of improving posture. Specific exercises at home are able to reinforce the corrections made in the office, and accelerate the long lasting changes in posture. Jeff Roberts from Collective-Evolution has put together a great post that demonstrates six postural abnormalities, along with the exercises that can be used to start creating permanent changes.
Take control of your posture today, and change your health. Chiropractic care, quantum neurology, and home exercises can start you on the process for restoring hormonal balance, increasing self confidence, decreasing aches and pains, and living longer.