In the Digestive Health- Part 1 post, I wrote about digestion and the brain and our connection to food. In this post, I talk about how lack of structural alignment affects digestion.
I’m trained in four types of abdominal therapy. I can do an awesome colon massage if I do say so myself, but if I send you out the door after your treatment without some alignment education, I feel like I’m doing you a disservice. In fact, alignment is so important no matter your reason for bodywork is, whether it’s back pain, neck pain, prolapsed uterus, constipation, painful periods, or fertility. Think about it this way, if I help to restore proper blood flow and function to your colon through manual therapies, but you leave my office and sit slumped at your desk all day, you may create excessive intra-abdominal pressure interfering with blood, lymph, and nerve flow as well as internal organ motility. This can cause slowed down digestion, and increased gas, bloating and pain.
Please read on, because I wouldn’t want you to return to your desk and try to obtain “good posture” by lifting your chest up (which is the automatic thing people do when trying to “correct their posture”). This thrusting (see IceMan below) creates stress in the thoracic vertebrae and can lead to a host of other issues. Ribcage thrusting can also add unnecessary stress on the nerves that innervate the internal organs and abdominal muscles as well as increase chances of a hiatal hernia.
Correct alignment during sitting starts with a neutral pelvis. *See below.
Sitting slumped in a chair or walking around with a tucked pelvis cancels out all your hard work. Awareness is key. Don’t get me wrong just because you’re now sitting on your sit bones and not slumped doesn’t mean you’re all good. The frequency of sitting also matters. Vary your position throughout your day. Check out my Dynamic Workstation.
Below you will see a Restorative Exercise for digestive health. This is one of my favorite RE moves; it’s called the spinal twist. This exercise not only massages the colon and gets blood flow through the area, but it also lengthens the muscles that rotate vertebrae, elongates the psoas, lengthens the shoulder girdle and deeper abdominal musculature and compresses the abdominal aorta.
Recline on the floor with a neutral pelvis
Pull the right knee toward the chest flexed at 90 degrees
Drop the knee to the floor by rotating the pelvis to the left
Keep your right arm, rib cage, scapula and wrist on the floor (don’t force it, it may take time)
Breathe for one minute in this position
To come out straighten your leg and roll back to starting position
Repeat on opposite side
Want more? Here is your homework: Click on the banner below and take Katy Bowman’s “Just a dab of abs“, “Let’s do the twist” and “Twistin’ the night away” Alignment snacks. At $5 a piece, these recorded classes are a bargain and yours to keep on your computer to do any time.
If you liked this post, please share it with whoever is in the cubicle next to you. Trust me, you both will benefit from being spared the fermentation effects of a cramped colon due to poor alignment.