Posture Therapy Wedges

The body will start healing itself as soon as it’s in balance and there is no longer more stress on one side than the other.

Posture Therapy

Most injuries or illnesses are a direct response to an imbalance in the body. Correct the imbalance and you are on your way to a positive frame of mind and pain-free living. ! All it takes is a rubber wedge or few pages of the Yellow Pages paper in your shoes.

In a perfect world, you would be able to bend equally far on the right and left, your shoulders and hips would be parallel, your legs would be the same length, all your bones would be correctly aligned and your muscles, as well as connective tissue, would have equal tension.

CylclingUnfortunately, few of us live in this perfect world, especially runners or cyclist who try to juggle a busy career and family life with daily training. We all have to deal with daily stresses at work, at home and on the road, often leading to a disruption in the natural equilibrium of our bodies. As a result when the body is out of balance, more often than not, injuries follow.

I believe that the body’s nervous system responds to emotional, physical, nutritional and energetic stresses in a predictable manner.

Only when the body is in balance, can one expect fewer injuries

We can compare the human body to a triangle, with each side representing a different part of our lives. All these aspects of our lives are connected.

  • One side represents the structural aspect, such as the road we run on, the type of shoes we wear, the position we sit in at our desks, and the physical injuries we have picked up over the years.
  • The second side represents our biochemistry, such as possible allergies, supplements we take, nutrition and medication.
  • The third side represents psychological aspects – how we think, feel and react.

 

The History of Posture Therapy

Posture Therapy or Balancing the Body, is a technique that was developed by Dr Ron Holder, a South African Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologist who was known to work with top sportspeople (Francios Pienaar, one of South Africa’s most successful Springbok rugby captains. South Africa’s former world champion high jumpers Hestrie Cloete, Jacques Freitag and, long distance runners Zola Budd and Elana Meyer and javelin thrower, Tom Petranoff.

Dr. Ron Holder became famous for the wedges after he fixed Zola Budd in the 80’s when she suffered from a chronic hip injury.

He also made the front page in some British newspapers when he managed to get Linford Christie back into the 100m final at the World Athletic Championships in 1995 after he injured his hamstring in the semi-finals. One of the tabloids showed a full page caricature of Linford on the back page the morning after the race, running with Yellow Page telephone directories strapped to his feet!

He also made the headlines when he was the official chiropractor (using mainly yellow page wedges) of the Springbok rugby team at the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

During his time with the South African rugby side at the World Cup, Holder analysed tapes of New Zealand’s mountainous winger, Jonah Lomu, before the final, and concluded that opponents had been trying to tackle him on his strongest side, where his balance was best. The South Africans were advised by Holder to run round Lomu and hit him from the other side. It worked.

Dr Holder believed that when the body is balanced (not leaning more to one side or the other) it is able to heal itself.

It’s not magic but science, just biomechanics

I have had the honour and opportunity to study posture therapy with Jenni Rorrison, also known as the “yellow pages lady”, who has spent over 20 years perfecting the art and science of balancing the body’s alignment. We use kinesiology (muscle testing), massage, and supports which are specially made wedges made from pages of the ‘yellow pages’ telephone directory which are inserted into clients’ shoes. The pressure of the wedges or pages in the correct area of the feet/foot helps to realign the body to its natural equilibrium.

Jenni Rorrison was a South African runner who was on scholarship for cross-country when she suffered a back (sacroiliac joint) injury. Six months of physiotherapy and other types of rehabilitation and no running did little to relieve the pain and aggravation in her back. She had to give up her scholarship. She got to see Dr Ron Holder who identified the problem. He cut up some old telephone pages and prepared a wedge for her to wear inside her shoe. Three months later, she was running pain-free and able to compete again.  Jenni decided immediately that she would train with Holder and help others with this simple balancing technique.

What is Posture Therapy?

Trail RunningYou are training for race, but a couple of weeks before, you run on a severe camber and start feeling a slight twitch in your calf muscle. At the same time, you are stressed at work, which causes your adrenalin levels to increase. Your brain and spinal cord release neurotransmitters depending on how you think and feel. If you are stressed, it can have an influence on, for example, your hormones and digestion.

The membranes around your brain and spinal cord also control tension of the cranial bones in your spine and the posture of your spine.

Now combine the emotional stress you feel at work or home with the slight niggle in your calf muscle and you will have thrown your whole body out of its natural equilibrium. Loading your body in different ways can lead to many problems.

Injuries are a response to an imbalance. If you run, cycle or train with an imbalance, it will cause certain muscles to become tighter and others to become looser – resulting in your body moving further and further away from equilibrium.

Balancing the Body

By using the body as an indicator through kinesiology (muscle-testing) we can achieve a structural, biochemical, psychological, energetic balance, and overall optimal health.

Manipulating the nervous system helps the body release the bad habits and postures that are the result of repeated and long-term stress. This approach to healing integrates the nervous system to return to optimum function, and facilitates the body’s ability to heal itself.I follow a holistic approach to healing and believe in ‘curing the cause, not the complaint’. One of the first books called The Body Doesn’t Lie by John Diamond was written on kinesiology and promotes the concept that the body is a self-healing organism that needs to be working at its optimum.

Through our nervous system and muscle testing, we can find out what is wrong with the body and what the best ways are to correct it.

Posture Therapy is for Everyone

Posture therapy is not only for sportspeople.. Everyone can benefit, no matter what your age. While we are young, our bodies are more able to adapt but as we get older we may find that we could do with a little more support.

How it Works

I include kinesiology, body alignment and life coaching in my approach, which help the body recover from illness, emotions and injury by restoring its energy balance.

Kinesiology is a way of getting your body back in balance.

  • An initial assessment which analyses your stance/posture and combining this with muscle-testing (Kinesiology) an individual tends to lean more to the left or to the right.
  • Tests will be performed by asking you to push your arms up against mine. This is an easy and quick way to establish on which side of the body your stresses lay.
  • Next test with your shoes off, you reach as far as you can down the side of one leg, then the other. If an imbalance exists, the one arm usually travels further down than the other.

Different thickness rubber wedges (or a wedge made from layered Yellow Pages pages) helps to correct these posture problems. We will experiment with different thicknesses of the wedge until we find the right balance, making tiny adjustments until the “weak” muscle indicates strong. We then tape the wedge together with duck tape and fix it to the bottom of the insole of your shoe.

The wedge, which fits into the shoe of the weak leg, helps to change the behaviour of the muscles. This would realign the body, and release the pressure on the muscles, and in turn relieve any pain and discomfort. Only when you are balanced, can you use your body effectively. With time and as your body adjusts, we adjust the wedge accordingly, bit by bit, to make the wedge thinner.

By specialising in “Kinesiology”, I believe that many injuries among the average person and sports performers and athletes derive from them being imbalanced.

Balancing the body can help the average person and athlete to release pain, and prevent future injuries or emotional imbalances such as:

  • Back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Headaches
  • ITB injuries
  • Neck pain
  • Shin splints
  • Shoulder pain
  • Testing running shoes
  • Correcting bike seat (road or mountain bike)
  • Suppressed emotions
  • Illness
  • And many more

As your body adjusts over time, we will take the wedge out and adjust the height of it. You will wear them inside your everyday shoes and trainers and even when you are wearing flip flops.”

The theory is, that if the centre of gravity lies correctly down the centre of your body, you will not get hurt.

The body will start healing itself as soon as it’s in balance and there is no longer more stress on one side than the other.

When you run with the wedge, your footfall corrects the biomechanics of your body. The wedge stimulates the nervous system in the foot, which helps with your balance. As you run and walk, the loose muscles will become tighter and the tight muscles will become looser. These wedges are not uncomfortable, but have to be hard to cause a change in the nervous system.

The affected area is not the problem, only a symptom of the imbalance.

Running

While running with the wedge in your shoe, you will probably feel that your gait is smoother. This is because you are no longer wasting energy trying to keep yourself upright and in balance. After a while, the wedge might start irritating you because it is over-stimulating your nervous system and needs to be lowered. We all tend to have a kink in our armour. When we are under stress, we will injure or weaken in the same pattern. Runners need to remember that when they are injured, the most important thing is to fi x the underlying problem and not \just concentrate on the injury. Only looking at the symptom or injury will give temporary relief, but the same or another compensatory injury is likely to follow if postural imbalances are not corrected. Once you are balanced, you will experience many happier and pain-free miles on the road.