The Language of the body: POSTURE

Posture is a word that comes from Latin ponere, which literally means “to put”. It is related to how we position, or collocate our bodies in space. Subconsciously, we all know that good posture is somehow better, healthier than “bad” posture. We do not know exactly why, but instinctively we know that a certain body simmetry when comparing left to right, paired with standing upright (chin up and shoulders back!) is definitely…better.
However, what is it that affects our posture and why do some people have better posture than others? Does it affect how the body works or is it merely an aesthetic aspect of our bodies? What does somone’s posture SAY about that person, and why?

Human posture is an expression of a series of important internal processes (both physiological and psychological). It tells the world around us if we are in touch with ourselves or if we have lost touch with ourselves; it tells the world how well we are coping with life’s daily stressors; it communicates a state of mind, a feeling in a much more direct way than actual language. It is the modality through which the body communicates outside what’s going on inside.

Moreover, if we want to consider posture as a language, it would be by far the most direct form of language; communication experts know that “saying” with the body is way more relevant than what we say with actual words. Just imagine a man saying he’s very excited and very happy, with the best tone of voice but while looking down, head forward, shoulders inward, slouched upperback. What he is actually saying wouldn’t sound true, right?

By looking at someone’s posture we are looking at their biography, their physical and emotional history. It is the present expression of their past and – to a certain extent – of their future. Why their future? Simply because “bad posture” is an adaptation which will unavoidably lead to unpleasant consequences.
The body itself is designed by nature in a certain way, respecting certain structural laws and proportions. And not for aesthetic reasons. The link between physiology (how the body works) and structure (how the body looks) is a very straightforward one. With poor posture, the body works poorly. Full stop. 
With poor posture, breathing functions are reduced, digestive functions could be affected; migraineslow back painneck painnumbnessthoracic pain: all of these could be simply the way your body is telling you (or rather screaming at you) your posture is not good.

What is it then that leads people to have poor posture?

First, our bodies are not designed to sit 8 hours a day. That will modify our posture on its own, and not in a good way. The consequences of sitting for too long are dramatic: reduced disc spaces, glutes weakness, upper cross syndrome, and so on. We are also not designed to drive for long hours, to eat the food we eat, both in quality and quantities. We are not designed to travel in airplanes, trains, to walk on concrete and so on. We are not designed to be constantly bombarded by social media, news, mobile phones, pollution.
Structurally and physiologically our bodies do not differ very much from the homo sapiens of 5000 years ago. But what about the world around us? What about the air we breathe, the food we eat, the lifestyle we have?

Second, as mentioned earlier, posture could be an expression of a range of internal feelings sometimes suppressed by the conscious mind: anger, being overwhelmed, depression, narcissism, sadness, etc. The most common example is muscle tension accumulated on the upper trapezius muscles, above the shoulders. What can we do then?

The first step is to become aware of our posture, and a mirror won’t be enough. What everybody else says, won’t be enough either.
Get yourself checked by a posture specialist who will be able to advise on how to improve and correct bad habits which lead to bad posture.
At Alive Chiropractic we can offer a quick postural assessment, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. Chiropractic care is great to regain contact with your body, and to re-establish a healthy connection between your body and your mind. 


Dr. Edoardo Elisei DC

Alive Chiropractic LTD
1C Crown Gate Square