On any given day in our office, we treat countless numbers of patients whom present to us with a myriad of different conditions. And while each and every case is unique and its own, most if not all cases noticeably start with a patients poor posture. It would be difficult to argue against a clear correlation between poor posture and decreased health in general. Said patients symptomatology include but are not limited to general aches/pains, malaise, sleeplessness, headaches, apnea, spasm, injury, just to name a few. And while clearly much of this can be due to poor bio-mechanics, inefficiencies and inflammation secondary to poor posture, there is actually a whole lot more going on at a hormonal level that you just might find mind-blowing.
I was recently scrolling through some “Ted Talks” the other day when I landed on an talk done by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at the Harvard Business school. In this talk she discusses the act of “Power Posing” and what effect said action has on our hormonal levels and health in general. Lets get in to the gist of her talk before we move on.
Ms. Cuddy for the purposes of this talks refers to “power posing” as achieving a desired powerful posture for a small period of time prior to performing any task in which an increase in confidence and power may be useful. Said tasks could range from something as simple as readying yourself to give a speech/presentation to prepping yourself for high level athletic endeavors. The idea being that humans or animals for that matter express power/confidence through our bodies posture. Per Ms. Cuddy. “They tumble in on themselves when they feel unsure, making themselves smaller by hunching over, crossing their arms over their chest and avoiding big movements. When they feel on top of the world, they sprawl out”
To try to verify these theorum, Ms. Cuddy and her colleague Dana Carney Of Berkley ran tests on patients during varying degrees of posture. Pre and post saliva samples were taking to test testosterone and cortisol in said patients. Test subjects were asked to achieve a powerful posture for a small period of minutes while others were asked to assume poor slumped posture for the same period of time. The results were to say the least STAGGERING!
——While high-power posers showed an 8% increase in testosterone, low-power posers had a 10% decrease in the hormone. Meanwhile, the inverse relationship happened with cortisol, the hormone related to stress. While high-power posers experienced a 25% decrease in cortisol levels, low-power posers had a 15% increase in their stress levels.
How you act/stand/and present yourself undoubtedly effects how you feel, function and heal! Take a moment to audit your own posture. How are you standing? How is your posture? Are you slumped over reading a text? If so, how do you feel?
Take the time to be the person you were meant to be, keep your posture open, breath deeply, hold your head high, stand like a superhero about to take on the world. After all, your testosterone levels are counting on you!
Yours in health,
Dr. Jordan Hart Kaplan