How to find comfort in your remote workplace

What is “good” posture?

“Posture relates to the action and not to the maintenance of any given position.  Acture would perhaps be a better word for it.” – Moshe Feldenkrais

In other words, posture is fluid, there is not one “ideal or perfect” posture in life.  Acture refers to the idea of being ready to move as needed to complete a task – even if that task is sitting on your couch watching TV or working remotely on your laptop.

This is maybe more easily imagined in a standing position.  Even in standing we need to be ready to move – waiting in line at the store or cooking in your kitchen.  If we were to adopt an “ideal” posture (pelvis tucked, abdominal muscles engaged, shoulders back, chin down) 100% of the time, how can we be expected to be ready to react to our environment in an efficient and safe way? Could you maintain that erect posture while cooking your family’s dinner? It’s not practical.  But by thinking of posture as dynamic – being able to accommodate to your environment – this opens up so many possibilities.

How does this relate to seated posture? Most of us who work a desk job are provided with an ergonomic chair at the office which is designed to fix your body in a series of 90* angles (ankles, knees, hips, elbows). This takes us back to the idea that posture is static.  If you were to maintain a “perfect” seated posture for an 8 hour work day, your abs and back muscles would be exhausted – it’s just not practical or healthy. Our bodies are meant to move, ideally every 30-60 minutes (more on this below).

Now that many of us have been asked to work remotely, let’s use this opportunity to shake it up a bit! While some of you may have an office chair and desk at home, many of us are struggling to find comfort on the couch, a barstool, a dining chair… This is the perfect time to experiment with finding new and more functional ways to work from home.

How should I set up my workspace?

  • Whatever position you place yourself in, be sure you aren’t fixed and are able to move your pelvis/spine/shoulder complex. This is important to decrease the stressors of gravity on the spine and promote acture.
  • You should change positions (even minutely) every 30-60 minutes.  This can be as simple as gently tucking your pelvis under, rounding your spine, then reversing that movement, rocking your pelvis forward and arching your spine.  Kind of like a seated cat/cow yoga posture (also a variation of the movement lessons mentioned below)
  • Get creative! 
    • You can use pillows to prop up you or your laptop while sitting on the couch.
    • Place a box under your feet on the barstool.
    • Sit on the box and use a coffee table for a desk.
    • Sit on the floor and use the box as a desk.
  • The idea is to not stay in one place for too long.  Your body will thank you for this!

How do I fit in movement every hour??

I have compiled a few of my favorite Feldenkrais movement lessons all done in seated!  These lessons are designed to help decrease postural muscle strain and improve seated posture.  They can be done any time throughout the day in seated (as a part of your hour movement break! – especially if you don’t have time to stand up and walk around). 

They are simple, intuitive, relaxing and require no extra equipment.  If you are interested, please email me and I can send you the transcripts.

If you are interested in delving deeper into your home office set-up and want to learn more about how to maintain a healthy body in the process, I am offering Virtual Ergonomic Consultations! Email me for details.

Virtual Ergonomic Consultation (via Zoom)

  • Personalized recommendations of remote workspace options in your home.
  • One-on-one instruction in seated Feldenkrais postural movement lessons.
  • Transcripts of all three Feldenkrais movement lessons.
  • A follow up Zoom or phone call as needed.
  • COST – $50 or pay when you can.

New Offerings! (and COVID-19 letter)

These past few weeks have been a time of anxiety, confusion and frustration for many here in Seattle. We are at the U.S. epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s hitting all of us hard. We are asked to socially isolate and work from home for an indefinite amount of time. I know that many are navigating how to work remotely without the comfort of an ergonomic office chair and desk.

After spending 20 minutes with a patient in clinic discussing her concerns for how to properly set up her laptop so that she doesn’t aggravate her neck, it became clear that I needed to see her space to better assist her.

In the spirit of working remotely and helping those dealing with these home ergonomic challenges, I am now offering Virtual Ergonomic Consultations. This will be done on the video platform Zoom, so that I can better appreciate your home space and provide you with the tools and tips to modify your environment. This will decrease your likelihood of future postural pains/strains and stave off overuse injuries. Included in this session will be instruction in personalized Feldenkrais movement lessons that you can do from your “desk”. These movement lessons are simple and enjoyable and will help to reduce muscular strain, increase body awareness and improve your posture – and a great short break from your work day!

1-hour Virtual Consultation and Feldenkrais lesson: $50 or pay when you can

Email or call to schedule.

COVID-19 Letter

UPDATE: CMB Movement Therapy is closed until further notice.

In light of the recent state-wide bans and instructions on social distancing, we will be closing our doors until further notice. Stay posted, and stay safe!

Felden-what?

It’s that dreaded moment:  I am at a dinner party and someone innocently asks “What do you do?”.  I usually take the easy way out and just tell them that I am a Physical Therapist.  This satisfies the party guest, as they have a mental framework in which to place “PT”.  I will rarely share with them that I specialize in a method of movement therapy called Feldenkrais – because trying to describe exactly what Feldenkrais is has always been a challenge for me.  This is probably because the method is inherently experiential and putting it into words doesn’t really do it justice.  What I will attempt to do here is give you a framework in which Feldenkrais can be personalized to you.

Do you resonate with any of these comments?  

  • I am looking for ease and comfort but struggling with pain.
  • I feel pain in some part of my body (shoulders, hips, neck, low back, knees, feet).
  • I am unable to do a favorite activity because of pain or dysfunction.
  • I feel my mind and body are disconnected when I do things.
  • I feel mentally or physically drained after work or daily activities.

*If so, what do you normally do to address these issues?
*Are these methods efficient or effective enough?
*Are you interested or curious to try something new?

Feldenkrais works as a way to rewire the brain (otherwise known as neuromuscular reeducation). It helps people improve their way of moving and their way of being.

  • Decrease pain – Feldenkrais encourages you to become aware of your habitual movement patterns, then provides you with the tools to relearn more efficient ways to move – getting you out of the pain cycle.
  • Improve coordination – By improving your body awareness and internal image of yourself, you will discover an increased connection of your mind-body.
  • Decrease fatigue – Feldenkrais helps you to explore how to use your body with greater efficiency, decreasing the effort with all mobility tasks – whether that is performance in a sport or just your daily activities.

If you are curious to learn more, call me for a free 30 minute phone consultation to determine if this method would be helpful for you.