The Truth about Good Posture & the Products That *Actually* Improve It
We consulted the experts.
How many times in a day do you find yourself practically lying on top of your keyboard as you type out an email? For us, it happens way too frequently. So much so that we started to consider hitting “Shop” on all of the posture products that pop up on our Instagram feeds. But before shelling out money for devices we can’t even pronounce, we decided to consult a few experts. We reached out to Pilates instructor Erika Bloom, chiropractor Dr. Zev Mellman, and acupuncturist and founder of the Gokhale Method, Esther Gokhale. They gave us the 411 on all things posture, their thoughts on all of the products hitting the market, and a list of the go-to products they use to help clients.
Founder of Erika Bloom Pilates
On what affects posture the most:
“It’s never one thing, and it’s different for everyone, but the three main points of focus should be the balance of the fascial system, spinal alignment, and breath. The spine should have length while maintaining its natural S-shaped curves. So many people focus on shoulder positioning, but this is a misunderstanding of how our bodies naturally function.
“Breath is important because the muscles of respiration are our deep core muscles. Connection to and proper patterning in these deep core muscles is an essential part of living with beautiful, healthy posture. On top of that, we can open up our ribs with proper inhales—this length and space lets us sit and stand tall with ease.
“Balance in the fascial system is the overall principle that governs posture and alignment. Fascia is the connective tissue web that permeates and surrounds every structure in our bodies. Addressing it through bodywork and movement is how we improve issues in the body that hinder good posture. These issues are unique to each individual but can include tightness or weakness in the feet, hips and glutes, psoas, and neck.”
Her thoughts on the influx of posture products in the market:
“Postural correction is so individual. It’s not about one ‘right’ position or even about a position at all—it’s about finding the right balance in your structure. This is different for each person, and the journey to get back from bad posture needs to be individualized. In general, products are not the answer. However, I think the new awareness that posture is so important and should be paid attention to as part of wellness is right on.”
Her favorite posture-correcting product:
“The Pilates Parasetter is one of my secret tools to help clients find the ideal spinal alignment. It brings awareness to the deep spinal muscles, to the natural curves of the spine, and to the relationship between the back of the head and the sacrum. Anywhere from just lying on it and breathing, to adding it to advanced exercises can make changes that improve alignment significantly.”
On what affects posture the most:
“Posture is more than cosmetic; it’s the foundation for strength and energy in our body. The top four posture killers [are] looking down for prolonged periods of time, stomach sleeping, exercising incorrectly, and one-sided repetitive [activities] like [carrying your] bag on the same side for years. Constant stress levels put the brain and body in a defensive state and over time can also wreak havoc on our back health and posture.”
Tips he suggests:
“First thing, we should be getting adjusted to reduce spinal stress and irritation while maximizing our spine’s natural shape and movement. Second, I recommend people dial into active movement as much as possible. Lastly, we know that shallow breathing reduces oxygen throughout our body and creates fatigue, so I recommend people practice breathing techniques to combat stress and re-energize the body.
“I swear by a wobble ball, which is an over-inflated balance disc. I sit on this daily and bring my spine through various movements to keep my spinal discs healthy. I also love using products that reinforce the natural neck curve to give my nerve system cushion and support.”
Founder of the Gokhale Method® & Acupuncturist
Her thoughts on if it’s ever too late to fix your posture:
“Loud and clear, absolutely not! Of course, it is great when young people learn the Gokhale Method® as a preventative, future-proofing measure, or simply because they want to look, feel, or perform better. But many of our students come to the course in their middle years and experience huge benefits. All it takes is consistency. We also have many seniors who take our course, and the results can be transformational for them, especially in terms of confidence with mobility and walking.”
Her favorite posture-correcting products:
“Where props are helpful, we encourage people to use household items like pillows, cushions, and towels. That said, I have designed [particular] items to help people attain certain benefits and improve on the generally counterproductive shape of most chairs and car seats. I am particularly proud of our Stretchsit® Cushion and our Gokhale Pain-Free™ Chair. We have recently added the Gokhale™ Roller to our range, which, combined with the Method, works beautifully to help restore spinal mobility and remove curvature in the upper back.”
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