NEW YORK CITY — Balancing books on your head can only take you so far.
There are a lot of unique services out there claiming to help straighten your back. Good posture is taking a hit as we spend hours sat at desks or staring down at our phones. It's putting increased pressure on the spine and could even lead to surgery, according to a 2014 research by Dr. Kenneth Hansraj in the National Library of Medicine.
Good posture isn’t just about looking regal. Practitioners claim that a straight back and aligned head, neck and shoulders can solve a host of health issues such as a faltering digestive system and even fatigue.
Here’s four different options that promise to fix your slouch:
The Urban Wellness Clinic at 57 West 57th St., in Midtown West
Price: An initial session is $200 followed by $150 for followup sessions.
The Urban Wellness Clinic hits bad posture with many tools — chiropractic care, physical therapy and strength training.
Treatment at the Urban Wellness Clinic begins with a full movement assessment to identify weak or tight muscles. Patients then head to the chiropractor to align the skeleton so that there aren't any out-of-whack joints keeping the body from achieving good posture. A physical therapist follows this by loosening tight muscles with massage and gives exercises to improve weaknesses.
“The idea is to start changing people’s habits and give them the tools to help themselves,” said Emily Kiberd, a chiropractic doctor at the clinic. She recommends four to six sessions to see an improvement in posture.
Ergonomic assessments are also on the menu. Urban Wellness Clinic staff can assess a patient’s workplace to ensure they don’t fall back into bad habits. For example, if the patient spends long hours sitting in front of a computer, Kiberd recommends raising the computer screen so eyes are inline with the top third of the screen.
Keyboards should be lower and closer to the body.
“You want their elbows close to their side so their traps are not holding up their arms,” Kiberd said.
The Alexander Technique with the Posture Police at 330 W. 38th St. in Midtown West
Price: $85 per session
The Alexander Technique focuses on changing bad habits instead of teaching clients how to hold their posture upright.
“In the beginning, we need to stop people from doing what they think is good posture,” said Lindsay Newitter, from the Posture Police.
The classic posture advice, to pull shoulders back and down, only creates a reverse slouch, which is just as damaging as a forward slouch, according to Newitter.
During a session of the Alexander Technique, Newitter introduces clients to the experience of good posture. For example, if a client is a chronic texter or phone checker, Newitter will teach them a healthier way to look at their phone by raising it closer to eye level. At the same time, she will show the client how to do this without raising their shoulders.
“I am helping people experience good posture without feeling stiff,” said Newitter.
Perfect Posture Pilates at 23-08 30th Ave in Astoria
Price: A private lesson is $75 and group classes are $30.
Regular Pilates strengthens core muscles thus improving posture. At Perfect Posture Pilates the focus on posture goes a few steps further. First up, owner Varvara Kalinin does a posture assessment to locate poor movements such as sitting with weight to one side or a hip slouch when standing.
She then utilizes traditional Pilates poses and exercises to “restore, mobilize and stabilize” different areas of the body. For example, if someone has “text neck” from tilting their head down to look at their phone, Kalinin will focus on loosening then strengthening the upper shoulder muscles.
“We use Pilates as a tool to teach people proper biomechanics — what would be the optimal way to move your shoulder, how would you properly do a plank,” said Kalinin.
She said results are often visible after ten sessions.“it is a slower process, but longer lasting,” she said.
Advanced BioStructural Correction with Eric Levinson at 274 Dean St in Boerum Hill
Price: $57 per session.
Eric Levinson is a holistic health practitioner. He is not a medical doctor, but a naturopath with a certification in a technique called Advanced BioStructural Correction (ABC).
ABC focuses on the meninges, the tissue that surrounds and protects the spinal cord. By pressing on vertebrates and improving breathing during a ABC session, strain stored up in the meninges is released, allowing the body’s mechanics to self-correct into the ideal posture, according to Levinson.
“With Advanced BioStructual Correction we actually correct the vertebra that is dislocated,” he said.
Unlike chiropractic care, which needs constant maintenance, Levinson said ABC works to permanently fix the bone structure.