bad posture, breathing and digestion

Bad posture, breathing and digestion

I was in a yoga class recently where the teacher spoke in depth about the effects of slouching and bad posture on digestion.  It is a concept I had heard about before but I had forgotten how serious of an issue it can be for some people.  After the class was over the wheels in my brain were running at full speed thinking of all of the times I have witnessed this issue with my clients.  Massage can do funny things to people sometimes including moving things around in the tummy causing gas at inopportune moments.  But there is no reason to be embarrassed!  As your therapist, I understand what is happening and feel good about the fact that I am helping your body find space to function as it needs to.  You may be thinking to yourself  “how the heck can my posture effect my internal organs?!”  Let me walk you through it.

What I mean by bad posture 

  • Slouching

  • Wearing “shoulder earrings” or hunching your shoulders up to your ears

  • Cocking your neck to one side or looking down too much (pulled forward neck)

  • Standing with all of your weight to one side or the other or sitting in an unbalanced way such as crossing your legs

How bad posture can negatively effect your health

  • Jaw pain-Many of us clench our jaw when we are  stressed but it isn’t the only time that jaw tension is created.  Having your head and neck pulled forward, looking down too often or having your head tilted to one side or the other can have major effects on the level of relaxation in your jaw.  Jaw tension can cause headaches, neck and shoulder pain.

  • Digestion and breathing issues-As I mentioned above, digestion can be greatly effected by bad posture.  When you are in a slumped forward position it shortens the muscles in the front of your body, including those in your rib cage and abdomen.  When your rib cage gets out of wack it can restrict the spaces where your heart and lungs live which means your body cannot function efficiently and you may even begin to feel pain with taking in full breaths.  When your abdomen is restricted it places pressure on your gastrointestinal tract and can cause feelings of discomfort and bloating effects.

  • Limited range of motion-Shortened tight muscles can lead to all sorts of issues, including an inability or lack of ability to move in ways you would like to.  This becomes more and more true as we age which is why it is so very important to address the issues early, but it is never too late!  A limited range of motion or restricted movement is frustrating and scary, it can cause us to be injured more frequently and easier and it can limit our activities and even lead to surgery.

A few ideas for correcting bad posture

  • Pick one issue and focus on it

    for instance, if you have a slouching problem you most likely have a pulled forward head and shoulders, an improper alignment of your spine as well as many other issues.  For the next month choose one of those things to focus on.  Start by pulling your shoulders back and down or “taking off the shoulder earrings”.  Make a concerted effort every time you remember to fix this one thing in your posture.  If you work out, add one exercise to help correct these issues in your posture.  Once you feel you have mastered this move on to the next issue.

  • Think of your body in terms of becoming stacked, when your body is aligned it actually takes less energy to function and you are stronger.  Practice stacking your body one time per day by starting with your feet planted on the ground, knees over the ankles, hips over the knees and pelvis in a neutral position (not tucked and not stuck out), ribs and tummy pulled in but relaxed, shoulders over hips and head directly between the shoulders with a long straight neck.  Look at yourself in the mirror from all angles and make adjustments where necessary.  Hold this position for a few minutes to get your body used to the feeling.  Doing the same thing with sitting can go a long way as well!

bad posture, breathing and digestion

  • Stretch and exercise-I know, it is definitely not our favorite thing to hear but seriously, it is so necessary.  You don’t have to become a world famous athlete in order to be healthy.  A little goes a very long way, so why not just start somewhere, even if that means 5-15 minutes a day?  If you slouch or sit a lot the front of your body’s muscles are shortened and tight while the back of your body’s muscles are over stretched and weak.  Begin by stretching the tightest or most shortened muscles and working to strengthen the muscles that have been overstretched.  A good massage therapist, acupuncturist, physical therapist or other expert in this area can help you find the regimen that is best for you.

  • Get body work!  massage, acupuncture and most other forms of body work are focused on helping you find balance and peace in your body as well as your mind.  Getting regular treatments can make a huge difference in finding a place of health and efficiency in your daily movement patterns.  Need help finding what is right for you?  Send us an email to or schedule and appointment online today at!

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Thanks so much for reading and have a wonderful week!

Massage for Back Pain

Back pain is one of the leading reasons that people miss work and go to the doctor in our country, in fact 8 out of 10 people experience back pain that interferes with their daily tasks.  More an more people are seeking massage for back pain relief and there is good reason for this, it really works!

massage for back pain

I once had a client come in who could not stand up straight and could barely handle any pressure at all during his massage.  Even starting with the lightest touch combined with focused work I was able to help him find relief.  This particular client needed very regular treatment, two 60 minute sessions per week for one month, in order experience a full recovery.  It is important to remember that every situation is different and it may take you more or less time to become pain free, you may also need to combine therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic or physical therapy in order to become completely rehabilitated.  For extreme cases or if you are unsure about the cause of your pain we do recommend getting a check up at your doctor’s office just to make sure there are no other and more serious underlying causes for your back pain.  I have seen massage postpone and prevent surgeries and relieve countless other issues surrounding pain and anxiety.  No matter what, you can count on the fact that massage is a low-risk therapy that almost always gives you some benefit, therefore I ask:  what do you have to lose?

How does massage for back pain work?



Curious about what type of massage is right for you or how often you should receive massage for back pain?  Click HERE to learn more about our recommendations.

Have questions or concerns about getting massage for your particular issue?  Hit us up, this is our specialty and we are more than happy to help you find the path to freedom from pain!  Email us at or give us a call at 503-473-8515.  Ready to book: Check out our online scheduler

Tips for staying healthy, strong and flexible as you age

Tips for staying healthy, strong and flexible as you age

Recently I have had quite a few clients presenting concerns about how to keep their bodies healthy, strong and flexible as they age.  And after a recent conversation with a client on this very topic I thought to myself: “who doesn’t want a fit body to carry them through the many adventures we all hope to embark upon in life?” It seems that we are expected to accept that a bucket of ailments, pain and failing systems are just a normal part of getting older.  I beg to differ, while wrinkles and grey hair might be something most of us will eventually experience, inflexibility and muscle pain can be helped!  As we age our bones begin to lose density and our muscles become weak and more stiff but there are a few things you can start doing right now to prevent these issues and keep your youthful self glowing.  Already there?  Don’t worry we can help you reverse the aging effects too!

First things first, it’s time to self assess and I mean be real with yourself and don’t make excuses, for the purposes of this article we will just address the muscles.  Ask yourself these questions:  What areas of your body have been most abused by sports, injuries, stress patterns, repetitive strain, etc…?  What is most likely to, or has already begun to, wear down and stop working properly causing inefficient movement patterns and pain?  Look in the mirror, is one shoulder higher, is your neck cocked slightly to one side?  These are all things that are good indicators in deciding where to begin this important self-care work.

After you have created a short list of things you would like to improve here are a few steps to help you find the right path:

  • Take the next step in self assessment by looking at your lifestyle:  what small changes can you make everyday to help yourself stay or become strong and flexible through the years?  It might be as small as changing the bag you carry everyday, adding in a morning stretching routine or getting a new chair at the office.  Don’t underestimate the details!  The tiniest things can often make a huge difference!

  • Get help from a professional.  A personal trainer, physical therapist, chiropractor or a massage therapist can help you further identify areas of imbalance and use their specific area of expertise to help you find an exercise or treatment plan to obtain the results you desire.  You may need a team of people in the beginning to find what works best for your particular situation.  This can feel like a big commitment, but remember:  Without a healthy body it will be difficult to enjoy life and I am certain that this is each of our goals, YOU ARE WORTH IT!

  • Commit to your own well-being by making your body a place where dis-ease cannot thrive.  Drink plenty of water, Sleep 8 hours a night, Move!, Eat delicious and healthy food, Find peace by doing things that make you feel good,  de-stress your life by getting rid of things that are not serving you and your goals.  Always have fun, learn and grow.

It can be difficult in our culture and busy lives to feel comfortable giving to ourselves and finding the time to build in a self-care routine.  My advice is to take one day at a time, make small changes as you go and celebrate the victories as they come no matter how small they may be.  I believe that if you use these tips as a guide along with your own intuition gathered by listening to your body that you will find the years beginning to melt away.