Smorgasbord Health Column – Alternative Therapies – The Alexander Technique – Part Three – Standing, Sitting and Walking Correctly by Sally Cronin


On Friday I covered some of the methods to determine if you have a particular problem area in your posture and they way that you move. Posture, Back Pain and Ergonomics

Just a reminder of some of the back pain statistics in the UK alone… if you take a look at your own country’s data, you will find that there is the same kind of numbers.

In a paper published by the World Health Organisation it mentions the number of work days lost in a year due to back problems in the UK alone as over 100 million.  

“Low back pain is the single biggest cause of years lived with disability worldwide, and a major challenge to international health systems. In 2018, the Lancet Low Back Pain Series Working Group identified a global problem of mismanagement of low back pain.WHO

Apart from the pain and stress to the sufferer there is also the fact that it is also one of the leading causes of painkiller addiction. Especially as most painkillers are ineffective.

The best way to use the Alexander Technique is under the guidance of a qualified teacher on a one to one basis. They can assess your postural problem areas effectively and guide you into the correct way to sit, stand and walk to minimise your pain and improve your mobility.

Here is a very useful link which will show you where your nearest Alexander Technique Teacher can be found worldwide: Alexander Technique

You can help yourself and I am just going to talk you through some sitting and standing techniques to help improve your posture. And I have also found some videos that might be helpful.

Bad Habits.

It is so easy to slip into a bad habits and before you know it you are sitting, standing and walking incorrectly as your normal fall back position. It does mean that it can be difficult to encourage your muscles to return to the correct position as it can cause discomfort initially.

In the post I recommended that you walked towards a mirror and noted areas of the body that appeared to be out of kilter… Such as an foot turned outwards or a slouch. The same applies to sitting and standing where you can observe your now natural posture, and where you need to adjust your frame.

Walking

After walking towards the mirror or towards an observer and having noted where you are out of alignment, you can now make small adjustments.

Practice in front of a mirror preferably at the end of a corridor or at least 10 to 12 ft away.

  • Aim to keep the balance of your head on top of the spine, looking straight ahead and with your shoulders relaxed.
  • As you walk towards the mirror focus on transferring your weight onto alternate feet pointed forwards.

Practice several times a day until this becomes your new natural way of walking.

There might be some initial discomfort as muscles relearn their purpose but after a few weeks, you should notice that your original pain has improved.

Sitting

There are certain habits that cause pain and constricted breathing.

  • If you habitually sit with your legs crossed then you will twist your pelvis and lower spine.
  • If your desk and chair are not properly aligned you will find that your head is down, stretching the muscles in the back of the neck unnaturally for several hours a day, leading to pain in that area, but also into the shoulders and causing headaches.
  • If you are slouched forward over the desk you will be compressing the stomach and diaphragm resulting in restricted breathing, less oxygen into the system and headaches and fatigue.
  • It is also not natural to sit ramrod straight for several hours at a time as that too can cause a curve that stresses the muscles each side of the spine.

How to improve you sitting posture

  • Bend forward from the hips if you are writing at a desk rather than slouch and make sure that the arm you are using to write, or both to type are not tensed in any way.
  • Aim to sit with your head balanced comfortably at the top of your spine and if you are using a computer looking straight ahead at the screen so that you can type and read without putting your head in a downward or upward position.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Sit with your knees slightly apart and both feet firmly on the ground also slightly apart.

Getting in and out of a chair.

Again it is important to use a mirror to identify how you are sitting and standing up from a chair. It is an action that we will repeat many times during each day and if you continually abuse certain muscles it will lead to pain.

For example:

  • Watch to see if you throw your head back when you sit down,
  • Do you stick your bottom out resulting in an arch to your lower spine?
  • Or when you stand up, are you jutting your head forwards and up, folding your body and then straightening up?

How to improve this simple action.

  • Aim to keep your neck and spine in alignment and bend at the hip, knees and ankles as you stand.
  • Imagine that you are going into a squat position as you sit down and stand.

Here are three videos on the technique.. I suggest that you browse through the many on YouTube to find those that might address your own personal areas of concern.

An IntroductionRoads To Bliss

Sitting at your computer Adrian Farrell

Walking Bill Connington

I hope you have found this useful and that you will explore this amazing technique further. Thanks Sally

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Your feedback is always welcome and if you do find that following any of the posts that I have shared are beneficial then it would be great to hear about it. If you have any questions you can email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – November 15th – 21st 2020 – Aretha, Alexander Technique, Christmas Book Fair, Reviews and Funnies


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Nothing really new to report this week on the home front as we have both been getting on with projects. I have been completing the first few rounds of editing on my new collection due out we hope in December, and also working on a couple of projects next year. It is the 25th anniversary of my weight loss and I will be releasing a new edition of my weight loss book Size Matters, updated and with new material. I also have a novel on the go which has been so long in the writing it will need completely updating to be current.. so plenty to be getting on with.

I did give myself a haircut this morning..I take care of the front and David tidies the back. One of the benefits of having very short hair. Our lockdown ends on December 2nd but we don’t know what restrictions will be in place in the run up to Christmas. My hairdresser is likely to open for extended hours but I am sure will be slammed to get everyone who needs colour and highlights in during that four weeks.

The days of popping in to have a wash and blow dry are gone, at least around here so that they can fit in the cuts and longer appointments. I don’t think my hair looks too bad but there again I had to do it without my glasses on and haven’t dare look in the mirror since!!!

Anyway.. with a mask and a hood because of the weather, only David is seeing my haircut these days and it is something he will just have to live with……

As always my thanks to William Price King for bringing music into our lives and Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye for her wonderful funnies to brighten our days. I am also grateful for all your support and comments during the week. They certainly keep me motivated.

William Price King with Soul singer Aretha Franklin – The Early Years

Life’s Rich Tapestry – #Dogs – An Ugly Mutt by Sally Cronin

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford – The American Connection

January 1986 – New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns and Halley’s Comet Part One

#Fantasy – Allies and Spies (Unraveling the Veil Book 2) by D.Wallace Peach…

Past Book Reviews 2019- A Bit About Britain’s History by Mike Biles.

Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Romance – Skating on Thin Ice (The Men of Warhawks #1) by Jacquie Biggar

Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Verse – Doggerel: Life with the small dog by Sue Vincent

Guest Interviews – Open House 2018 with Author Sharon Marchisello

#Space Eloise de Sousa, #Fantasy Paul Andruss, #Teddybears Frank Prem

#Paranormal #Romance Mateo’s Law by Sandra Cox

#Release – Post-Apocalyptic Murder Mystery Terry Tyler, #Reviews – Writers Lizzie Chantree, Memoir D.G. Kaye

New Author in the Cafe – #Family – The Sum of our Sorrows by Lisette Brodey

Christmas Book Fair – #Africa Ann Patras, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

YAParanormal A.J. Alexander, #FamilyDrama Judith Barrow, #Urbanfantasy Anita Dawes

5 Exercises to Test the Age of Your Body

Alternative Healing Therapies – The Alexander Technique – Part One – #Backpain #Flexibility #Headaches

The Alexander Technique – Part Two – #Posture, #Backpain #Ergonomics

#Aromatherapy -Versatile Lavender – Skin care, headaches, insomnia, first aid and fleas

November 17th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Hibernation and Doctors.

November 19th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Cocktails and Weird Facts..

Guest presenter D.Wallace Peach – The Love of Dogs

with host Sally Cronin – Cats with attitude and notes to the teacher…

 

Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the round up.. As always your feedback is much appreciated.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – Alternative Healing Therapies – The Alexander Technique – Part One – #Backpain #Flexibility #Headaches by Sally Cronin


A couple of weeks ago I looked at one of the most common health conditions we suffer from which is not going to be reduced by working from home.  common-conditions-a-z-working-from-home-backache

In the next three posts I am going to introduce you to a technique which has helped me over the years that you might find useful. As we get older we do tend to lose our flexibility, and posture unless we make an effort to keep supple.

I am nearly six foot tall and I was tall as a child. I towered above my primary school friends and my temptation was to slouch. However, when I was seven I was enrolled in ballet classes at my school in Malta. There was a fierce, elderly French ballet teacher (she was probably only 50!) But to us she was appeared to be a witch with a stick that used to tap in time to the music and be raised in frustration at the tubby attempts at grace by her pupils.

Two things that I took from those ballet classes over the next year or so, were to stand tall and correctly and to do the splits.  The second physical talent came about with a little assistance from ‘Madame’… We had done our barre work for the session and then she told us that we needed to be more flexible as ballet dancers and that we should be able to do the splits. I managed to get down to about 4 inches off the floor and was remarkably proud of myself. I looked around the room and found others in a similar position and then found a hand on my head and a gentle push (would not be allowed today), and I found myself fully extended and touching the floor.

I have not tried the splits for some years, but I have been known to cast all caution to the winds when infused with tequila or other numbing agent and showcase my skills. Today I would need a tackle and hoist to get up again off the floor!

All this leads me to some very hard-hitting statistics on back pain in the UK alone.

In a paper published by the World Health Organisation it mentions the number of work days lost in a year due to back problems in the UK alone as over 100 million.  

“Low back pain is the single biggest cause of years lived with disability worldwide, and a major challenge to international health systems. In 2018, the Lancet Low Back Pain Series Working Group identified a global problem of mismanagement of low back pain.WHO

Over the years I have experienced back pain, shoulder pain and headaches that are work and stress related (certainly several hours a day online is a contributory factor), but this technique has given me a tool to use instead of pain medication. It has certainly made me aware of my posture and how it impacts many other physical functions within my body.

The Alexander Technique.

The originator of this technique is Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor, who found that his career began to falter as he lost his voice on stage. He consulted doctors but they could find neither the cause nor the cure for the problem.

He noted that he seemed to improve with rest and was away from the stage, so decided to find out what event was taking place when in a role, that might be causing the problem. He acted out his current stage role in front of a mirror and noticed that a remarkable physical change took place. He seemed to shrink in height and had difficulty in breathing. He reasoned that the stress of remembering lines and then projecting them to the back of the theatre, was causing him to tuck his head into his chest, putting pressure on his vocal chords, tightening his throat which in turn interfered with his breathing. Clearly his mind and body were combining their efforts when stressed and he needed to develop a technique to overcome this.

Alexander continued to observe his physical reactions to stress and correcting his posture and breathing, resulting in the return of his voice on stage. He also understood that others in the profession would also be experiencing the same problem, and in 1904 he went to London where he was in high demand by his fellow actors. He moved to America and his technique became internationally recognised. He further astounded the medical profession by recovering from a stroke at 78 years old to regain full use of his body and brain function.

His technique is now taught all over the world by actors, singers and dancers, as well as millions of men and women in all walks of life, who have felt the benefit of the ability to harness the mind and body connection.

On Friday I will be sharing some of the techniques you can adopt when standing and sitting to help ease or prevent back and neck pain, headaches and improve breathing and stress.

In the meantime it might be a good idea to test the age of your body with regard to flexibility. Do not try to push your body where it does not want to go.. Here is an extract from an article from an excellent site which has 5 tests you can try to test just how flexible you are.

5 Exercises to Test the Age of Your Body

Let’s check your shoulder joint flexibility.

5 Exercises to Test the Age of Your Body© depositphotos

Was it easy? Congratulations! Either you’re doing well or you’re young.
“I did it, but it was rather challenging.” You need to practice more.
If it was very difficult, carefully grasp your elbows with your palms behind your back. Stay in this position for a few minutes. Practice more if you don’t want to experience frozen shoulder symptoms.

Check your spine flexibility along with the other tests: Brightside – 5 Exercises to test the age of your body

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020

Your feedback is always welcome and if you do find that following any of the posts that I have shared are beneficial then it would be great to hear about it. If you have any questions you can email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Smorgasbord Health Columns – Alternative Healing Therapies – The Alexander Technique – Part One – #Backpain #Headaches #Posture


I am nearly six foot tall and I was tall as a child. I towered above my primary school friends and my temptation was to slouch. However, when I was seven I was enrolled in ballet classes at my school in Malta. There was a fierce, elderly French ballet teacher (she was probably only 50!) But to us she was appeared to be a witch with a stick that used to tap in time to the music and be raised in frustration at the tubby attempts at grace by her pupils.

Two things that I took from those ballet classes over the next year or so, were to stand tall and correctly and to do the splits.  The second physical talent came about with a little assistance from ‘Madame’… We had done our barre work for the session and then she told us that we needed to be more flexible as ballet dancers and that we should be able to do the splits. I managed to get down to about 4 inches off the floor and was remarkably proud of myself. I looked around the room and found others in a similar position and then found a hand on my head and a gentle push (would not be allowed today), and I found myself fully extended and touching the floor.

I have not tried the splits for some years, but I have been known to cast all caution to the winds when infused with tequila or other numbing agent and showcase my skills. Today I would need a tackle and hoist to get up again off the floor!

All this leads me to some very hard-hitting statistics on back pain in the UK.

Back pain statistics in the UKThe Norfolk Clinic

  • The condition affects people in all age groups but the over-50s are worst hit
  • Almost 10 million Britons suffer pain almost daily resulting in a major impact on their quality of life and more days off work
  • Up to 28 million Britons are living with chronic pain, new estimates suggest
  • Around 5.6 million working days in the UK are lost each year due to back pain, second only to stress,
  • Around 4.2 million working days were lost by workers aged 50-64 alone in 2014
  • Health experts say chronic back pain is made worse by our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, with the average Briton spending almost four hours a day at a computer

Over the years I have experienced back pain, shoulder pain and headaches that are work and stress related (certainly several hours a day online is a contributory factor), but this technique has given me a tool to use instead of pain medication. It has certainly made me aware of my posture and how it impacts many other physical functions within my body.

The Alexander Technique.

The originator of this technique is Frederick Matthias Alexander, an Australian actor, who found that his career began to falter as he lost his voice on stage. He consulted doctors but they could find neither the cause nor the cure for the problem.

He noted that he seemed to improve with rest and was away from the stage, so decided to find out what event was taking place when in a role, that might be causing the problem. He acted out his current stage role in front of a mirror and noticed that a remarkable physical change took place. He seemed to shrink in height and had difficulty in breathing. He reasoned that the stress of remembering lines and then projecting them to the back of the theatre, was causing him to tuck his head into his chest, putting pressure on his vocal chords, tightening his throat which in turn interfered with his breathing. Clearly his mind and body were combining their efforts when stressed and he needed to develop a technique to overcome this.

Alexander continued to observe his physical reactions to stress and correcting his posture and breathing, resulting in the return of his voice on stage. He also understood that others in the profession would also be experiencing the same problem, and in 1904 he went to London where he was in high demand by his fellow actors. He moved to America and his technique became internationally recognised. He further astounded the medical profession by recovering from a stroke at 78 years old to regain full use of his body and brain function.

His technique is now taught all over the world by actors, singers and dancers, as well as millions of men and women in all walks of life, who have felt the benefit of the ability to harness the mind and body connection.

Next week I will be sharing some of the techniques you can adopt when standing and sitting to help ease or prevent back and neck pain, headaches and improve breathing and stress.

©sallycronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook fromhttp://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

And Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4: http://www.moyhill.com/html/just_food_for_health.html

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com. I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally