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Is Your Stretching Regimen Helping or Harming You?

October, 2016

Stretching is a common prescription to help with back pain. At https://www.healthoutcome.org, the world’s first crowdsourcing platform to rate medical interventions, stretching is the 6th most commonly used intervention, after physical therapy, NSAIDs, heat, rest, and cortisone injections. On a scale from 0-5, stretching (rated 2.6) is the 5th most highly rated intervention after Postural Modification (3.8), Yoga (3.1), Supplements (2.9), Weight Loss (2.8), and Meditation (2.7).

 


Back pain caused by tight muscles is common

 

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How to Bend and How Not to Bend

February, 2017

Round-backed bending is ubiquitous in modern urban culture. It damages the back. Recognizing this, many health advocates recommend bending at the knees. Done to excess or with poor form, this damages the hips, knees, ankles, and feet.

Surprisingly, poor bending form abounds even in fitness and wellness classes.


An insistence on touching the toes can be counterproductive and result in damage

People sometimes equate being able to touch the toes with flexibility. An imprecise  and insistent pursuit of this kind of “flexibility” causes disc damage, hyper-extended spinal ligaments, and a lot of pain. Let’s examine do’s and don’t’s in bending more closely.

DO

  1. Come close
  2. ... Read more

How to Sit on the Floor, Part 2: Squatting

June, 2019

This is the second post in our multi-part series on floor sitting. For Part 1 on floor sitting, click here.

Why squat? Squatting isn’t something we do much in industrialized societies beyond childhood, but if you can do it healthfully, it is an eminently practical posture for resting the body while keeping the backside elevated off the ground and the clothing clean, as this woman from Orissa demonstrates.


This woman from Orissa demonstrates a healthy, full squat with foot arches intact and a long, straight spine.

It is also the posture used for toilet activities in places with floor toilets, a trend which has recently made its way to the industrialized realm in the... Read more

How to Sit on the Floor, Part 3: Sitting with Legs Outstretched

September, 2019

This is the third post in our multi-part series on floor-sitting. Read Part 1 on floor sitting and Part 2 on squatting!

It’s very common for women in Africa to sit with their legs outstretched. I’ve seen rows of women use this position to spin yarn, engage in idle chatter, sort items, and more. I’ve seen babies massaged by women using this position both in Burkina Faso and in the U.S. by a visiting Indian masseuse who does traditional baby massage in Surat, India. In Samiland I saw this position used to bake bread in a lavoo (a Sami structure very similar to a teepee).

... Read more