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Here's a Simple Way to Improve Posture: Put Palms Up

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us have become increasingly aware of the role of good posture in protecting our spine. We know hunching over a keyboard bends the spine and often leads to sciatic nerve pain, and neck and backaches. One more way to improve posture could start with this simple practice.

Turn your palms up. That’s it. Use the practice wherever you can.

Try it right now. Put your hands on your thighs. Then turn both palms up. You may feel a sense of change, pulling the upper body back, instead of leaning forward, which is a natural position for most of us. You may feel like your shoulders are being moved back.

If you spend a lot of time taking care of your family, working on a computer, driving, cooking, and tending to countless other daily tasks you may naturally keep your hands facing down. Finding out what happens when your palms face up may be worth your time.

Care2.com recently featured this practice as part of Japanese acupuncturist Kiko Matsumoto's seminars. She said she began trying the palms up practice when a friend noticed her posture was beginning to slouch.

Matsumoto said, “I have been trying it out for the past 10 days. Anytime I don’t need my hands, I turn them palm-side up. I use one hand -- when reading a book, or walking my dog -- turning the other palm up, alternating hands.”

Posture Improved in 2 Weeks

Matsumoto said she intended to test the practice more before talking about it, but after two weeks her posture improved significantly. She also found it was easier to breathe and her chest felt more open.

Matsumoto noted acupuncture emphasizes the heart, breathing, blood circulation, immune function and body temperature just as Western medicine does, but the tendency to always have our hands facing down may cause us to slouch forward and caving the upper body inward.

Simply turning the palms up could be a wonderful reminder, or much more, as research continues. If you do yoga you are already familiar with the palms up practice in the lotus position. It looks fairly simple, but it involves a hip stretch that can be challenging. The lotus pose calms the mind, straighten the spine, strengthens the back and stretches the hips, legs and ankles. Here's how to do it:

  • Sit on the floor, legs extended, arms at sides
  • Bend right knee up toward the chest
  • Bend left knee toward chest
  • Rest hands on knees with palms facing up

Try the palms-up practice wherever you are, standing, walking or sitting in a lotus pose. If it works, you may have just found a very easy way to improve your posture.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Caldwell, N.J.

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