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Thread: How Schools Damage Children's Backs page

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    How Schools Damage Children's Backs

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    I can't recommend this video enough -- it's a must-see.

    Every step in the process is shown using furniture, demonstrations, photographs, and skeletal models by Richard Brennan.

    Richard, an Alexander Technique teacher from Ireland, is looking a bit porky and could probably do with a Primal diet, but he knows what he knows and he knows about human movement and posture.

    This will be particularly worth a look for parents. Basically, look what schools, through ignorance, do to your child who, in most cases, starts life with fairly good "use" of himself or herself.


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    I read a book on the Alexander Technique that talked about this. I didn't have the cash for the wedge, so for now I've been making due with a big block lego under each back leg of my chair. Fits perfectly into the chair leg. It makes a difference in my posture.
    I'm retraining and strengthening my taste buds, one primal meal at a time.

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    The problem seems to be that the schools choose these chairs on the basis that they're easily stackable.

    The whole thing is predicated on the administrative convenience of the school. It's not that they cynically disregard the children's well-being: they're simply unaware of how they're impacting it.

    If a video like this could go viral it might eventually have some impact. But that's very unlikely: furniture isn't something that excites people.

    IIRC, Richard Brennan took a couple of sitting wedges into his children's school and said that he would like his children to use them. I guess he was only looking for consent, but they were interested enough to ask him to explain, and the outcome was that the school itself bought some.

    If we could just raise awareness of the issue a little.

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    Cool vid. Chiropractors agree with this assertion completely (school chairs suck). I'll definitely forward it to a few people.

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    I fully satisfied with these video. I also have some back pain problem coz, of my collage bench

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    Very good article ... sent it to my kids and wife. I see this as a problem that I have due to working on computers all day ... then I go a do yoga and kettlebells to try and correct the issues (8-10 hours at work) 1-2 hours at play isn't enough to completely correct this condition. Must get me some of those workout balls to sit on while at work.

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    Excellent video, thanks for posting,
    need to renew our computer chairs, kids backs looks like the bad example already...

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    Yeah, this guy is quite good at demonstrating. I like the combination of direct demonstration of movements by doing it himself, together with the use of anatomical models and photographs. Here's another video, in which he shows how, incredible as it may seem, many people move in a harmful manner because, effectively, they don't know where their hip joints are. Actually, they never did, because they were using the joint unconsciously. But they would have used it correctly in movement as a child without consciously knowing where it was. Now they don't use it when they should. What they do is get into a habit of trying to hinge higher up. Then if you actually ask them where the hip is they point to the wrong place -- which is hugely revealing.



    Here's his blog in case anyone's interested -- no RSS feed unfortunately, but you can email-subscribe to updates.

    Posture Correction Blog

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    I started with a teacher for the Alexander Technique (which this guy is definitely a student/teacher of) over this summer. At the beginning of almost all of my classes I would feel like it was a bunch of snake oil just because it seems too new age like for me. However within the first half of the classes my voice would always deepen, my chest would always expand and my back would always become more relaxed as the teacher guided me through the movements.

    It's definitely helped with my posture but also helped me get better form in working out and martial arts. It's also deepened my voice enough that I'm having to retune my singing based off of my new register.

    There's definitely some good ideas in that field.
    "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProtoAlex View Post
    I started with a teacher for the Alexander Technique (which this guy is definitely a student/teacher of) over this summer. At the beginning of almost all of my classes I would feel like it was a bunch of snake oil just because it seems too new age like for me. However within the first half of the classes my voice would always deepen, my chest would always expand and my back would always become more relaxed as the teacher guided me through the movements.
    Yeah, I've had that sense. But with me I think it was more an effect of when I had been coaxed into letting go elsewhere I could feel more going on in the chest area ... but actually that was because I then needed to release there, too. This was me forgetting to report my sensations back to the teacher, so that he could help me understand what was going on.

    I think the videos stand on their own rather than in the context of the Technique, which is really difficult to talk about and outside most people's experience anyway. And both those things are part of why it might perhaps seem like something "New Age". It just violates expectations. I should imagine most people expect a teacher to grab hold of them and start aggressively manipulating them. And yet it's a much less passive thing than that -- while at the same time not being about "doing" so much as "non-doing". I think it will be the first time most people have experienced anything like that. And yet there's nothing "new" about it: it goes back to the 19th century. The forewords to some of F. M. Alexander's books were by John Dewey, and how long since his head was cold?

    Nor is it at all like some wishy-washy "New Age" practice in efficacy. A proper randomized study conducted by in Great Britain, funded by the Medical Research Council, and published in the British Medical Journal found it to be more effective for treating back pain than massage, physiotherapy exercises, or counselling:

    Back pain and Alexander technique - Health news - NHS Choices

    It's definitely helped with my posture but also helped me get better form in working out and martial arts. It's also deepened my voice enough that I'm having to retune my singing based off of my new register.
    I'm not surprised. When Alexander first came from Tasmania to London with his technique he was known as "the breathing man". A strong connection between the performing arts and breath and the Technique has remained. They teach it at places like the Royal College of Dramatic Arts and in some music schools. I think there are some sports teams dabbling in it, but it's not really broken into that area. The only other people I know of using it on an institutional basis are the Israeli Airforce with pilots.

    It's a shame one of the more articulate and eclectic podcasters in the space -- someone like Sean Croxton -- doesn't get someone like Richard Brennan or Robert Rickover or Galen Kranz (who is also a professor of architecture and has written a book on The Chair) to talk.

    It interest me how fragmented the health arena is in a way. You've got people who know a heck of a lot about human movement, but who clearly have no idea how to eat ... and the reverse would be true, too.

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