As technology moves forward, the physical health of the populace is moving backwards. Watch the end of “Wall-E” or Google the phrase “text-neck” and you will see what I mean.
As our way of life becomes more domesticated, so does our physique. No longer are we in times where we hunt for our food and rely on our physical capacity for survival. Over the past thousands of years, we have become domesticated and in the most recent 200 years this process has escalated dramatically. We sit for hours during work, entertainment, and transportation. We fixate on objects immediately in front of us and less on our general surroundings. This began with the prevalence of the printed word and has leapt forward with every technological advance since.
Though on the surface we adapted to this lifestyle, one could argue that the prevalence of physical dysfunction in the world today, that the biologically mediated evolution of our bodies has not kept up with the quick pace of environmental changes of our cultural evolution. For example, we feel pain in our head or neck as a result of our head being carried forward of our shoulders, and for many that pain sensation is only the least of your worries, relegated to the background noise with other moderate annoyances.
When you sit at your desk, or lean forward to text on your phone, you are placing your spine in a position that is unnatural to its original state. Doing this for excessive periods of time over the long term begins to make permanent changes in our skeleton. Hunched backs, herniated disks, joint pain, chronic pain, fatigue and fibromyalgia, along with knee/hip replacements are the result. Recent research also shows that prolonged sitting is related to early mortality even in “fit” populations.
I propose it is possible through awareness and intentional effort to adopt strategies that will counter this domesticating influence. By having an awareness of accurate movement and employing strategies to maintain ones’ posture, I believe we can preserve function and increase comfort. I refer to this maintenance as Kinetic Hygiene.
Like oral hygiene, Kinetic Hygiene consists of daily habits that counter negative influences. For example, if you make a parallel to dental hygiene: Brushing your teeth removes plaque. In the long run, it prevents cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease. Doing therapeutic movements of the F5 like Chin-to-Throat or Pelvic Tilt will reduce daily strain on muscles and joints. In the long run, this will decrease chronic pain and decrease the likelihood for surgery for degenerative conditions.
Need some stats on this? Adult Dental Health Survey revealed that in 1968, 79% of people ages 65-74 had no natural teeth. By 1998 this number dropped to 36% as a result of modern oral hygiene practice becoming common knowledge.
Now, in 2015, there are 7 million people living with an artificial knee or hip and the lines are only getting longer. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, there are 100 million Americans suffering from chronic pain. I believe through my knowledge and experience that Kinetic Hygiene can not only provide tremendous relief to those currently suffering, it can reduce these numbers in the upcoming generations and greatly reduce these surgeries and the elusive musculo-skeletal “syndromes” that are the scourge of our time.
Did you notice that number? 100 million people are affected by chronic pain. That number is greater than the combined number of people who suffer from diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
It is important to highlight the aesthetic benefits from maintaining your Kinetic Hygiene. After all, sparkly white teeth and fresh breath are the main selling points of oral hygiene, but think about how posture affects your first impression of someone else.
The best way to maintain your Kinetic Hygiene is through form-focused, accurate movements done daily to counteract everyday impact of environmental factors of our modern world. For those of you who lay in bed all day, and just avoid the cold cruel world all together… yes this applies to you too, as prolonged inactivity will also have a very real effect on your skeleton.
I have designed 5 therapeutic movements specifically to address this need for Kinetic Hygiene. There is a progression within the system with advancements and simpler versions of each movement depending on a person’s physical capacity, but for the majority of the population, Tiffany’s Foundation Program is the perfect starting point as it includes the Foundation Five (F5).
All 5 movements in the F5 promote body awareness, ease lower back and neck pain, expose and neutralize kinetic flaws, and strengthen your foundation and connectedness to the ground.
Only time will tell the answers to the evolutionary question; but the reality is that we can improve the quality of people’s lives in the here-and-now, and for generations to come with proper societal appreciation of Kinetic Hygiene.