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We often assume that we can improve our usual posture by remembering to straighten up. However, this approach rarely works because our habitual posture is not controlled by our conscious thinking. Our posture is controlled by unconscious, complex brain processes that run in the background.
When you perform any action like walking, working at the computer or sitting in a chair, your brain plans and coordinates a series of muscle movements to achieve the action. In most cases this happens automatically: you are not consciously aware of the process and you are not consciously aware of how your muscles are working to perform the action. You just think “I’ll sit in that chair” and your brain delivers the complex pattern of muscle movements, or ‘motor plan’ to achieve the goal of being seated in the chair.
As you sit down on the chair your brain constantly monitors how the planned muscle movements are going in relation to the goal, using a stream of sensory information coming back from your body. You are not aware of any of this happening unless the sensory feedback alerts you that something’s not quite right. Perhaps the seat cushion is much deeper and softer than you anticipated – or it is not firmly attached. You become aware that something’s not quite right and your brain adjusts it ‘motor plan’ to correct things.
This process happens extremely quickly - in real time, and it’s based on very accurate information about how your body is moving and positioning itself. Obviously it is important for the feedback to occur in real time, so that your brain and muscles can adapt immediately. Your brain then learns from the experience and may use a slightly different motor plan the next time you sit in that particular chair.
Posture happens the same way. When you perform a task, your brain and body deliver the posture that it thinks is ‘usual’ for whatever task you are doing. It happens at an unconscious level.
By providing real-time feedback, based very specifically on the slouching or curvature of your upper spine, BackTone interrupts your body’s habitual posture control mechanisms, re-setting your body’s motor patterns and muscle memories.