7th October 2013
Postural Stress: Reduce pain and prevent strain with massage
“Almost half of all workers in France, or 8.4 million people, are exposed to at least one type of severe postural or
articular stress, affecting more than two thirds of manual workers and one in five professionals.” (http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/ewco/2006/05/FR0605NU05.htm
The focus of 2013 Massage New Zealand Awareness Week (MNZAW) (Monday 14th to Sunday 20th October) is Postural Stress. Promotional events are being organized around New Zealand by Massage New Zealand (MNZ) members to
educate about the benefits of massage therapy treatment to prevent and reduce pain from postural issues.
Massage can help to reduce the impact of poor posture by releasing the tight muscles. It is very important learn how to
correct your posture. This is best done in a postural assessment, during which your therapist will assess the alignment
of structures of your body. It is important to strengthen areas that are weak and stretch areas that are tight.
Research shows that inefficient posture can lead to a wide range of conditions. For example, postural experts have
linked severe gastrointestinal symptoms to poor posture (the alignment of the skeletal frame determines the alignment of
the internal organs). Improving posture can help to resolve severe stomach and bowel problems.
Forward Head Posture (FHP) may result in a decrease of up to 30% of lung capacity, mostly through inhibiting some of the
anterior muscles of the neck (hyoids and anterior scalenes). Carrying your head forward prevents these muscles from
lifting the first rib during inhalation. By straightening the shoulders, the ribcage is opened and the lungs have room
to fully inflate. This allows for easier more effective breathing.
Over time poor posture results in pain, muscle aches, tension and headaches, and can lead to long-term complications
such as osteoarthritis. Forward head carriage may promote accelerated aging of intervertebral joints resulting in
degenerative joint disease, mostly due to losing the natural curve of cervical spine.
Regular massage is the most effective way to combat the effects inefficient posture. It can relieve symptoms and prevent
further damage, and empower you with the knowledge to correct your own posture.
Massage New Zealand can be contacted on 0800 367 669.