The Science of Posture Change

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You’re not naughty, or flakey, or lacking in discipline. If you’ve been trying to shake the slouch purely through memory then chances are you are still slouching right now.

This is why: Posture is not under your conscious control. Not really. It is a motor pattern, a largely unconscious arrangement of your body that feels normal. Whenever you’re not consciously telling yourself to straighten up, your body reverts to the posture that feels familiar. If that’s a slouch, that’s what your body does. Nothing draws your attention to the fact that you are slouching because you’re doing just what your unconscious mind expects. With our busy lives it’s likely that your unconscious mind is in charge of your posture 99% of the time.

This can’t be achieved by remembering to straighten up because doing so just doesn’t access the right area of your brain. Trying to remember to straighten up involves using your conscious mind. Control of your posture happens in your unconscious mind.

This is how I stumbled across real-time biofeedback as a critical tool in posture change. Real-time biofeedback trains your posture whilst your conscious mind is thinking about something else, and that’s the key. You can read more about BackTone and why it works here.

I think it’s important to tell patients that slouching isn’t the result of poor self control. It’s very difficult to change your posture cold turkey, but with the right tools and understanding it can be nearer than you think.