How a Shirt Can Improve Your Posture
Our careers can have great bearing on our posture. Working manual labor, repetitive lifting or bending can lead to back problems, especially if you are not careful with your movements. Tertiary work, including those jobs where you sit for long periods at a computer, also has risks because we are constantly huddling over to look at screens. The same goes for smartphones which can lead to something called 'text neck', but all bad posture can lead to breathing problems, digestive issues, stress and acute pain. We have already looked at some ways you can improve your posture, but there might be a surprisingly inventive way technology can help. Read on at OneHowTo.com to find out How a Shirt Can Improve Your Posture.
Back Braces and Kinesio Tape
Before we take a look at how the shirt itself can help aid one's posture, let's see what other devices have been used to reduce back pain. The main type of posture aid used in the past is the back brace. These range from medieval looking contraptions which are necessary to help healing during spinal injuries (often screwed in place for severe injury) to elastic ones which can be bought in your local sports equipment store.
The two types of back brace most commonly used are hard and soft. Hard braces will have a mold in them, usually made from plastic, which will help maintain a healthy posture by putting pressure on the spine and aligning the vertebrae in a rigid position. Soft braces do the same, but use the elastic tension from the material from which they are made to keep the spine tight and prevent forward movement which could cause bad posture. They are both used in rehabilitation from back or neck injuries, but soft ones are normally used for less serious problems and are also often used for prevention.
Another product which is not as well medically tested, nor as effective, is kinesio tape. This is a tape which is applied to the back and once adhered to your skin will start to contract and exert pressure on the muscles around the spine. It is good for athletes who want a little extra support when exercising, but is not greatly effective for a major injury.
Posture Shirt 2.0
The science of back pain is a difficult one as damage to the human spine can have far outreaching effects with even the smallest misalignment of vertebrae. Within the spine is the spinal cord which carries information form our brain to the rest of the body. Any damage to it can lead to extreme pain and, in some cases, paralysis of body parts. A lot of money and effort is put into research for aids and techniques which can help recuperation from back injuries, so when looking at new products which claim to help with posture problems, we need to make sure that they have been tested and have a good reputation. Using an untested back support might end up causing you even more pain.
One such company which has put in the effort to reassure its customers is Alignmed, based out of California. When the company's founder was told that he might have to have surgery to realign a slipped disk, he looked for alternative methods to help reduce pain and improve posture without having to go under the knife. A doctor he visited introduced an invention of his own which helped reduce pain after only a few minutes. He bought the patent from the doctor and this is how the posture shirt was started.
How the Posture Shirt 2.0 Works
Unlike fitted compression shirts which are used by athletes to keep muscles in good working order by creating pressure from the elastic material they are made from, posture shirts have a much more complex design. They are also made from spandex, but include a "muscle map" design which uses "neurobands" to keep muscles in place.
Like kinesio tape, neurobands are made from tightly woven fibers which stimulate the muscles and move with your body as you exercise. They are worked into the fabric of the shirt and mapped to the contours of the muscles which affect posture. The neurobands use "touch tension technology" which pulls the bands in two directions while you move, almost acting like a constant massage on your muscles.
While traditional braces can be quite restrictive and even cause problems in other parts of the body, the Posture Shirt 2.0 is designed to work with your body to give good posture a more natural encouragement. Rather than being restricted from moving, it helps the body to move in the right way to achieve good posture. It also has extra length at the bottom which goes down over your pelvis and helps give better overall support.
A similarly designed shirt is also available from Intelliskin, but there do not seem to be many other competitors just yet.
Electronic Posture Shirt
There is a device which has been created called the iPosture, an electronic sensor which you clip on to your chest and monitors your position from the ground. When your posture moves to the point that it is imbalanced and might cause you pain, the sensor will vibrate twice every minute you remain in this position. You can then adjust your posture accordingly.
A clever way to keep you vigilant against bad posture, the iPosture is also limited by the fact that it cannot actually provide any of its own support, only give you notifications. A sportswear company from Japan (called Gunze) have created a more holistic approach by incorporating the sensors to specifically help control your posture. A smart shirt from Ralph Lauren has previously been released which uses extra fine sensors, including accelerometers and a gyroscope, to provide feedback on your exercise routines. It can monitor your heart rate and your breathing, sending this information to your smartphone so that it can track your progress and help optimize your workout.
The Japanese shirt works in a similar way, but also monitors your posture with stretchable bands going across your chest. When the bands receive information that your posture has declined, it sends a message to your smartphone which gives you an alert. It uses the nekodo scale which equates the curvature of a human spine with that of a cat's. Cats are much more flexible animals, so they are able to put their back up without causing much damage to the rest of their body. If a human mimics this curvature, they are in trouble. It also helps monitor your data by seeing which activities are worse for your posture and when you most need to compensate.
This shirt, however, has yet to go through all the testing something like the Posture Shirt has gone through, but the company hopes to release it sometime in 2017.
Like back braces designed to go under your clothes, these shirts are specifically designed to help work with your body in an integrated fashion. Perhaps a combination of both the physical "muscle mapping" system with the electronic data relay would provide the greatest all round protection and encouragement one needs to maintain good posture.
If you are suffering from back pain and want to find ways to provide relief or prevent further problems, take a look at these articles on How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain or Lumbago and How to Combat Neck Pain with Natural Remedies.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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