Remember your Mum telling you to sit up straight or to stop slouching?
Poor posture can really affect your body and your muscles.
There are lots of different ways of improving the way you stand and sit, but one little known way to improve your posture is massage.
1. Massage Increases Your Range Of Motion
If you’ve noticed that you are numb, stiff or have limited mobility, all of these can be because of bad posture.
As slouching or even sitting in an awkward position can affect the biodynamics of your body, this can affect your range of motion.
When you’re sitting slumped over a desk or standing with a curved back, over time, your body will start to get used to this misalignment.
Then, your muscles will feel tense and you could experience pain.
It can also lead to particular longer-term conditions such as thoracic kyphosis and lordosis.
Several studies (including one in 2013) noted that poor posture can severely limit the range of motion your body has.
Regular massages can help, especially if you have shoulder flexion and abduction.
For office workers, a regular seated chair massage can help with poor posture caused by sitting in front of a computer too much.
2. Massage Can Ease Muscle Tension
When posture is poor, muscles will automatically tighten to increase the stability of the person’s core.
And although this is your body’s natural reaction, it results in a restricting movement and produces muscular knots throughout your body, as well as cramping, leading to muscle pain.
This constriction is most likely to happen over time, rather than immediately. Because of this, you need a therapy that will gradually improve it, in a way that’s as soothing as possible.
A 2019 article looked at this claim, confirming through in-depth research that tension in the body, along with poor breathing and stress has a direct impact on your posture.
Massage therapy helps in a couple of ways.
Relaxing the tense muscles through the use of long strokes and mild pressure (or deeper pressure in some circumstances), the body will no longer be forced into a painful contracted state – allowing you to sit or stand comfortably with a straight posture.
This is particularly helpful for those who have to work at a desk for long periods of time or who don’t move much.
3. Massage Reduces Pain
Poor posture can lead directly to joint stiffness and muscle tightness, resulting in an increase in pain around the body.
Whether this is in the lower back, neck, shoulders or another part of the body, it can make movement uncomfortable for many people.
This is where massage therapy comes in. By targeting specific muscle groups in the body, it allows for natural realignment.
Through massaging, sore muscles will be stretched and toxins such as lactic acids will be pushed out – causing an improvement in lymph fluid circulation.
Using a variety of techniques, an experienced massage therapist will be able to target exactly where you are feeling pain and help to relieve it.
A 2011 study in particular discovered that massage is particularly useful for those suffering from chronic low back pain. Further, this randomized controlled trial investigated the impact of massage therapy on posture and gait-related parameters in individuals with chronic neck pain. The results indicated that massage therapy led to improvements in posture and related parameters, including increased neck range of motion and reduced forward head posture.
4. Massage Can Improve Your Circulation
As poor posture directly changes the natural alignment of the spine, it can result in blood vessel constriction.
Cutting off the blood supply to the muscles, several prominent conditions can occur, such as deep vein thrombosis and high blood pressure.
It can also lead to pooling of fluid in the hands and feet and fatigue.
A proven way of improving circulation is through the use of frequent massage therapy.
Using hands-on pressure regularly, it will move the blood more freely throughout the areas of the body that have been affected by the bad posture and constricted connective tissues.
Improved circulation will bring the rich blood supply to damaged, stiff or tense muscles.
This will help to promote healing of the muscles, and improve overall body function.
In a 2014 study conducted by the University of Illinois, supported the theory the massage is an effective way of increasing the blood’s circulation in the body.
Of course, alongside massage therapy, you should also follow a balanced diet and ensure that you exercise regularly (and to rest if you face an injury).
5. Massage Can Help Lengthen The Body
When you have bad posture, your body will start to curve and you’ll find that it’s misaligned.
Misalignment typically can come in the form of an inclined pelvis, rounded shoulders or an inward or outward curvature of the spine.
Having a body out of alignment can lead to muscle weakness over time which can lead to pain.
Although trying to correct your posture like trying to sit correctly is helpful, massage can also help realign your body.
Helping to realign the shoulder blades and spine, it makes sitting and walking more comfortable.
One study showed that massage can help lengthen connective tissues that were restricted or shortened.
So if you are struggling with improving your posture, and you are finding the advice “just stand up straight” isn’t working, perhaps consider a series of massages to help re-balance your body. It maybe just the kick start it needs to realign.
6. Massage Can Help Balance
In this study, This research examined the effects of massage therapy on balance and postural stability in older adults. The study found that after receiving a series of massage therapy sessions, participants experienced improved postural stability, which can contribute to better overall posture.