Thursday, June 4, 2009

Posture or Acture?

We have all heard that non-neutral postures are associated with a higher incidence of work related injuries, but what does that really mean to us?

First of all, I believe the term posture to be inaccurate. Words are very powerful in terms of their effect on us. This is one of those cases.

And what the heck is non-neutral!?

Posture contains the root word “post”. The idea of a “post” implies a static position. This couldn’t be more inaccurate!

Posture relates to action, not to the maintenance of any given position.

Proper posture, then, should be dynamic!

Dr. Feldenkrais, who we’ve written about many times here before, actually coined the term “Acture” to refer to the body’s positioning.

What, then, is proper Acture, and how does it benefit us?

Proper acture, he stated, would give you the ability to move in any direction without preparation.

You are not coming from a place of having to “get out of your own way” to initiate action.

That is, if you have chronically held muscular contractions (think holding your abdominal muscles in for that “flat tummy” look), you have to work against those patterns in order to accomplish what it is that you’re trying to do.

I would then think that non-neutral means that you aren’t holding chronic muscular contractions that don’t serve you.

A neutral posture would then be described as having the skeleton aligned in such a way that would enable it to support the majority of our weight in our dance with gravity.

Sounds all well and good, but what does that feel like?

You see, unless we know what something feels like, we can’t integrate it into our daily actions.

We will go about our daily activities utilizing those muscular patterns that we have learned up to this point because they feel “right” to us – regardless of how inefficient they may be.

Telling someone to sit up straight, or stand up straight, or to “lift with your legs” doesn’t do them any good because if they have to consciously correct themselves, they will return to their habitual patterns because those feel “right” them. They don’t have to think about them.

Providing experiential learning experiences for people, then, is the ONLY way to facilitate changes in our Acutre (or posture if you still want to hold onto that term).

People need the feeling of what efficient movement is like for them.

As similar as we all are, we are all very, very different.

So providing an environment to enable individualized learning to better understand what efficient movement feels like is essential.

Essential to you and your employee’s health.

Essential to you and your employee’s productivity.

And essential for the health (and the bottom line!) of your business.

The question is, are you or your company neglecting this essential?

I hope not, because in a economy like the one we find ourselves in now, it will be those companies that take care of those essentials who will come out of this economic mess the strongest.

What are you doing to take care of the essentials in your business?

Start paying attention to yourself and the way you move more. Do you notice any chronically held contractions that you have to work against to initiate action? Let us know what you find out about yourself!


Chad Estes
Movement Specialist

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