By the end of the day we are stressed and devoid of strength. The physical causes? Hours of activity in which we mechanically repeat actions that worsen our posture and our mood. Leaving mental and physical balance nothing but a vague memory
by Antonella Quaranta
Dr Luca MARIN
Istituto di Cura Città di Pavia (Hospital) (Pavia)
With the Gruppo San Donato experts we look at how to put good intentions into practice and immediately change our posture and breathing.
Doctor Marin, how can we improve or regain mental and physical well-being?
“To combat everyday stress we need to take some time for ourselves: even just five minutes a day, at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the day, can be enough to recover our physical perception and learn to relax body and mind”.
Are there any exercises that can help us to relax and that you use in your work as physiotherapist with the Gruppo San Donato?
“There are lots of exercises that can be helpful; the most commonly used are those based on breathing and posture control. During clinical practice we try to ‘tailor’ the most suitable exercises to the person according to their needs”.
What does postural gymnastics mean?
“The term ‘postural gymnastics’ has various meanings and encompasses multiple methods. Generally speaking, we could say that it refers to techniques and exercises aimed at the awareness and improvement of the positions assumed by the body, both in static situations (e.g. sitting at a desk, driving, standing for long periods) and in dynamic situations such as load handling or the activities of daily life”.
What does it “treat”: for which conditions and illnesses can it be of help?
“Its therapeutic purposes range from problems with the spinal column, due to incorrect posture or to adolescent pathologies (e.g. scoliosis, common in students), to those in other joints. Shoulder, hip, knee and ankle problems often originate with the posture”.
Who is it suitable for: who is the typical patient?
“The population for which it is suitable is large and varied. We can say that it covers the entire lifespan. Taking age as the parameter, in Pavia we have had requests to correct the posture of children, who can present paramorphisms (incorrect postural positions, ed.) and dysmorphisms (pathological postural positions, ed.) connected to growth, as well as requests to alleviate disorders of the older population. The work we do with the elderly serves mainly to combat the positions that worsen the quality of their life, including the problem of correcting a hunched back and walking with bent knees. As physiotherapists we are also sought out by many kinds of employees who are sedentary for much of their working life (office workers) or conversely who are excessively subject to lifting or moving heavy weights (usually builders or movers, but not only)”.
Who is it not suitable for: are there any contraindications?
“Physiotherapy requires a medical certificate. So a prescription is needed even for postural gymnastics conducted for rehabilitation in a hospital gym: the preliminary examination by the medical physiatrist will highlight any contraindications. Generally speaking it is suitable (and can be suited) to all”.
Are there different types of postural gymnastics? Does this technique take inspiration from other disciplines (e.g. yoga, pilates, martial arts)?
“There are numerous schools of thought, and consequently there are several types of exercise. Postural gymnastics certainly takes inspiration from other disciplines. The use of breathing can be traced back to yoga and to other eastern disciplines such as tai-chi and qi gong. The exercises have developed over time to conform to new scientific evidence and make use of the machines and equipment present in gyms”.
Translation: TDR Translation Company
Editing: Arianna Derossi