Why Do You Need Balance?
indicate that 80% of people in the United
States will suffer some form of debilitating
back pain in their lifetimes. This is
in sharp contrast to some other cultures
around the world, where back pain is present
in less than 5% of the population. Noelle
Perez, of the Institute D'Aplomb in Paris,
conducted extensive research into the
differences in lifestyle, which might
be related to back pain. The common thread
in Portugal, Costa Rica, Bali and other
countries with low incidence of back and
joint pain is simple. People have different
posture than we do. And they have little
or no back and joint pain. These people
stand, sit and move slightly differently
than we do, in a way that does not produce
the tension that so many of us feel in
our backs. The solution to your back pain
is an adjustment in posture to a more
natural way of standing. How does it work?
The Causes Of Back Pain
human body has evolved to support its
weight through the skeleton. While this
seems obvious, if you are reading this
from the United States, the chances are
your muscles are chronically doing extra
work to support your body. Contrast these
postures. A person with no back pain has
their spine, pelvic center, knees and
ankle naturally aligned as if on a plumb
line, efficiently supporting their weight
on solid bone, as shown in the picture
at the left. A person with typical posture
in the United States is another story.
"proper" posture we are taught
as children actually corrupts our natural
posture. There are three main elements
to this posture. In the picture at the
right, notice that this person's upper
legs and pelvis are shifted forward. You
can see that this causes the lower back
to compensate by leaning backwards. This
puts steady stress on the compensating
muscles, which must continually work to
keep the body upright. Finally, the upper
back leans forward to compensate, bending
the spine in a curved shape. In effect,
this posture forces muscles to work constantly
to support the weight of the body. This
is stress. People don't notice it on a
daily basis because the stress is continual
from the time they are young children.
But over time, this steady muscular tension
directly causes back pain, and also prevents
acute injuries from healing. Also, when
the spine is excessively curved, the pressure
on the disc is uneven causing a dangerous
thinning on the narrow side. In time,
the disc may herniate.
The good news is, with Balance,
anyone can correct this posture, ending
back pain naturally.
What Is Balance?
is natural posture. Balance is based on
observations of populations who do not
suffer from back or joint pain. They have
pain from diseases, poor diets, and accidents,
but everyday movements like gardening,
sitting, carrying children, sneezing or
bending do not produce pain. Balance is
based on the postures and movement patterns
that these people share. The guidelines
are specific and concrete.
The founders of Balance cannot
take credit for this posture. They did
not make this up. They just described
something already existing in human populations.
The strength of Balance lies in the fact
that it is neither a treatment which responds
only to symptoms, nor is it anyone's bright
idea. Posture is learned behavior, picked
up from those we see around us as children.
Balance is a formulation of the posture
that is common to all peoples in the world
who are pain-free. Jean Couch has simply
developed a method to easily teach you
to unlearn the posture which causes you
The History Of Painful
did our society become so debilitated?
The answer is a matter of historical record,
as evidenced by photographs and medical
records. Before the 1920's people in the
United States stood with their spine,
pelvis and legs on the same axis, with
their body weight upright and vertical,
as in the picture at left. In the 1920's,
there was a shift in fashion. Think of
the posture of the flappers. They stood
stylishly, with their pelvis shifted forward.
This modern look slowly influenced posture
throughout our society, to the point where
most people consider normal posture to
look like the woman at the right. Unfortunately,
it has brought with it the raft of problems
described above. Balance can help you
unlearn the fashionable posture, and allow
your body to heal its pain.
Evidence For Balance
As Natural Posture
Today, modern posture
has spread around the world, borne by
Western media to all corners of the earth.
In fact, it is becoming more difficult
to find cultures where Balance is the
norm. How do we know that the differences
in posture are not simply legitimate cultural
or ethnic differences? The answer is simple.
We know posture is learned because we
see differences in posture from generation
to generation. In Costa Rica, many families
have grandparents and parents walking
happily in Balance, while their children
imitate the people they see on MTV and
Baywatch, developing the postures of American
teenagers. The shape of the human skeleton
is universal. How it is held depends on
environment. The Balance Center can teach
you to free yourself from the painful
posture you learned from those around
Other Treatments For
Sometimes people have
had to go to tragic lengths in often-futile
attempts to end pain. Conventional medicine
may prescribe drastic measures from medication
to surgery, masking the symptoms of an
underlying problem that persists in spite
of these efforts.
The process of Balance can
be accelerated by other treatments, such
as massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic,
etc. However, to get the benefit of all
other treatments, Balance is a pre-requisite.
If after other treatments, you stand and
sit out of Balance, you are undermining
the effect that you want. The alignment
of the skeleton is primary to health.
of Balance is that it is based on entire
populations of people who are naturally
and effortlessly free of back pain, and
live in bodies which are supple, flexible
and strong until old age. Try our Intro
class. When you sit in Balance, and feel
the comfort of the posture, you will understand
how we have helped thousands of people
to live again without pain. Click here
to learn more about our teaching methods
and class schedules.
Yoga International Article
In 1998 Yoga International
published an influential article about
here to find out how the yoga world
learned about Balance.
Jean and her staff also
teach Yoga in Balance. Click
here for more information about her
methods and schedules.