Instructions

Purpose:

To steadily improve posture and maintain the results. Also used in the treatment of head, neck, shoulder and arm conditions.

Results:

Assists in slowing, arresting, or reversing the slumping forwards of the upper body that tends to occur during the day.
The body position and movements help retrain and expand ribcage breathing, bringing the upper trunk and shoulder girdle upwards towards the head and backwards. This face-up position uses gravity to passively stretch the arms and shoulders upwards near the head and backwards behind the trunk.

How to get into position:

  • The roll should be at least as long as the distance between your tailbone and the top of your head (approximately 36 inches).
  • Lay the roll on the floor or other firm surface.
  • Lie on your back face up on the roll so that it rests along the spine from your tailbone to the top of your head.
  • Slide your feet away from your buttocks until the legs are straight and resting on the floor. If necessary move your feet wider apart for more stability.

What to do:

  • Relax your back and let gravity move your shoulders backwards towards the floor.
  • Begin to breathe deeply and slowly.
  • As you breathe in, expand the ribcage as much as you can. Expand it in all directions that are possible and raise the whole ribcage upwards towards your head. Minimize the use of your diaphragm.
  • As you breathe out, attempt to keep the ribcage in the raised position (towards your head and neck), while contracting your abdomen and the muscles around your waist. Use your hands to push inwards on your lower outside ribcage as you breathe out as far as you possibly can. Follow the inward collapsing movement of your ribcage with your hands.This encourages a deeper breath in afterwards.
  • Once you are breathing in this way, draw your shoulders down towards your hips and hold them there, the same with your shoulder blades.
  • Holding shoulders and shoulder blades in that depressed position, now turn your palms up towards the ceiling and begin to stretch your arms slowly out from your sides.
  • When stretching your arms out to the side, parallel to the floor, experiment with a number of arm positions.
  • Arms can be moved anywhere that is comfortable in a range between hanging backwards out to the side, or up near the side of your head. While reaching out towards the tips of your fingers, arms can also be rotated and stretched in the palm-up and palm-down position for several seconds at a time.

How to end the stretch:

  • Slowly, move off the roll onto your side. Rest for a few moments.
  • Sit up slowly. Pause while sitting. Check that you are not dizzy. Stand up when you feel ready.

How often, for how long?

Once a day for 3 minutes in the first few days. Later, it can be done twice or more a day, for longer periods if you wish. The body adjusts to it. To get extra postural benefits, increase stretching time to 5 or 10 minutes.

                  Cautions

  • If your neck is not comfortable, rest the nape of your neck, just below the base of the skull, on a small soft cushion. This supports the natural curve in the back of the neck. If the top of your head feels too far back, increase the thickness of the cushion.
  • If you have back problems, or if your back hurts when laying your legs straight out, then place a soft cushion under the back of the knees to ease back strain. This supports the natural curve of the low back. You can also place a cushion under the low back itself, if needed.
  • Always breathe steadily and continuously. Do not hold your breath.
  • During the first week or so, do not lie on the roll for longer than 3 minutes during a session. Once your body is used to it, then you can increase the amount of time for each session and the number of times a day that you do it, if you wish.
  • If you have arm or shoulder problems, or if you have pain when you stretch your arms out to the side, at first do not extend the arms out to the side or above the head. Simply rest your arms at your side. Then experiment with moving the arms out from the body, bit by bit, without inducing pain.
  • If you feel pain, muscle spasms or cramps during a session, move to stop the pain, or stop the exercise. When you begin the exercise again, then you can reduce the degree of postural correction by laying the roll on a soft bed to do it. Later, after repeated sessions, you can then lay the roll on a firm surface again, for a more vigorous stretch.
  • Any new position, exercise or stretch can result in aches and pains when doing it for the first time. To begin with, wait 24 hours before you decide whether or not the exercise has produced any aches or pains or muscle spasms. Be cautious at first until you know how your body is reacting.

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