Posture and learning: Could there be a link between posture and learning?

A recent study demonstrated that posture represents a critical aspect in the learning process in young children.

Precisely, this study demonstrates that the body has a role to play in how we learn to name objects. As well, we mention that the position of the body in space is linked with our capacity to connect ideas together.

If many studies suggest that memory is linked to localization of objects, there were no studies, until now, that demonstrated the importance of the body in space as it is linked to memory.

Here is a summary of the experimentation performed with a robot:

Part 1:
– We present to the robot an object situated to its left.
– We present to the robot an object situated to its right.
– We repeat this process many times to create an association between the posture of the robot and the objects.

Part 2:
– We now ask the robot to look to the right and to the left, but there is no object in sight.
– The command made upon the robot brought him to adopt the same posture as in part 1 of the experimentation.

Part 3:
– The same two objects are positioned where they were in part 1 of the experimentation but they are not named.
– We then present the two same objects that were previously shown but they are in different places and they are named. This brings the robot to pivot to an object that he can associate with a noun.

The robot indicated consistently a connection between the object and its noun for 20 repetitions in part 1 of the experimentation.

In subsequent tests, when the target and another object were placed in two areas designated during part 1 of the experimentation (recognition of objects was no more linked to a precise posture), the robot was not able to identify the object.

When this experimentation was repeated with children, the results were very similar. Once again, it was recognized that the position of the body was directly linked with cognition.

What remains to be seen is if, in the context where we can improve sensory-motor integration, as we do in Posturology, could we expect a higher level of cognitive gain?

The importance of structure In physical therapy, there seems

The importance of structure

In physical therapy, there seems to be two camps. There are those that consider that a structural anomaly is, in and of itself, strongly linked to potential issues. For others, the link is not so obvious.

Koes, a general practice professor, stipulates that in 90% of the cases, the lower back pain that individuals complain about is non-specific. Said otherwise, we don’t know why it’s there in the first place.

What about disc hernias?

Brinjiki’s studies (2014) demonstrate that 30% of adults in their 20’s have disc hernias. They are asymptomatic. This number increases to 84% around age 80. It is said that these are also asymptomatic.

In 2009, Baranto studied a cohort of athletes over a 15-year period and if, on one hand, he found a high incidence of disc degeneration, he did not see a correlation with pain.

What about disc degeneration?

Waris stipulates in 2007 that if you suffer from disc degeneration at a young age, it should progress but it is not necessarily linked to pain.

Brinjiki, in 2014, stipulates that if it’s 40% of youngsters in their 20’s that show signs of disc degeneration, we could say that it’s almost normal not to show signs of usage.

The choice of words used here is interesting. Normal or abnormal… we never speak of what is ideal!

So how can we help if structural data is no so fundamental?

The literature stipulates that when you reduce fear and anxiety in patients, they get better. As well, it seems that physical activity helps. Searle (2015) stipulated that resistance exercises were among the most efficient ones and Saragiatto (2016) said that exercises that improve motor control could have a positive effect.

So, if we strictly stick to the literature, structural deficits are more or less relevant yet, if we educate our patients and make them move, things should be ok!

I find this to be a bit thin. To educate to diminish anxiety and fear is good but to actually succeed in eliminating obstacles that relate to physical performance sounds more fun to me.

This is often what we are able to do when we use Posturology, which happens to take into account ontogenetic factors, motor control and structural integrity.

Sex and the brain

If it is well known that sex is beneficial for the body as a whole… what about the brain?

In rats, it was clearly shown that there is a link between sexual activity and the growth of neurons. Furthermore, we have noticed that rats could show better cognitive functions because of sex.

So what’s in it for humans?

78 women aged 18 to 29 were studied. We tested their memory for recall of abstract words and their memory for faces. Women that had sexual relations (intercourse) more often were better at remembering abstract words. What was interesting is that this association was not seen in regards to the memory of faces.

It has to be stipulated that the memory of names belongs to the hippocampus, which is the region that knows the most growth in rats. The memory of faces does not belong to the hippocampus. We believe it could be for this reason that we don’t see any changes on that level.

If it’s true that Posturology stimulates the brain, one has to concede that there are other ways of doing it that might just be more enjoyable!


The amygdalae and emotions

We most likely all want to know how to better manage our emotions. According to recent studies, it is possible to have an impact on our amygdalae, these nuclei located deep in the brain responsible for our reaction to stress.

Up until now, technology (MRI) has allowed us to analyze the impact we have on our amygdalae. It is reliable but not overly accessible.

More recently, researchers have shown the benefits of cerebral training via electroencelography. It is a more accessible method that allows for better comprehension of the mechanisms involved in managing stress.

In the context of a particular study, it was shown that to learn how to control the stress response generated by the amygdalae could have a positive effect on management of emotions.

John Kristal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, stipulates that we recognize biofeedback and meditation as being most likely capable of managing stress.

So, if standing upright represents a form of stress, is it fair to think that if we optimize this strategy, we activate the frontal cortex and the behavior of the muscular system?

When one considers that such a thing is possible, is there a better moment than now to create balance?

The vagus nerve and depression

The brain is made up of two nuclei that manage emotions: the amygdalae. There is a network of nerve fibers that make a bridge between the frontal cortex and the amygdalae.

Researchers have demonstrated that these connections are crucial in how we manage emotions, keeping in mind that it is the role of the frontal cortex to regulate the stress response handled by the amygdalae. When connections between the frontal cortex and the amygdalae are compromised, it can be more difficult to manage our emotions.

Transcutaneous stimulation of the vagus nerve has demonstrated positive effects on the relationship between the frontal cortex and the amygdalae.

Stimulation of the vagus nerve brings the body into a state of calm. It could be because of this effect that it is easier for the frontal cortex to connect and administer the stress response, which is the amygdales’ job.

When one considers that transcutaneous stimulation is not readily available for all, one could think that improving posture can contribute to decreasing stress that the body manages, which can favor a parasympathetic state.

It could be for this reason that calibrated clients often report that they manage emotions better!

Posture and dyslexia

We know that exercise is considered generally good for learning. We even know that certain forms of exercise are more beneficial than others since they favor specific parts of the brain, more so. Recently (2015), researchers wanted to know if postural training could improve postural control of dyslexic children.

32 dyslexic children were studied. 16 of them participated in a specific postural exercise program.

According to the Psychiatric American Association, dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder characterized by a difficulty to read even if the intelligence of the reader is adequate, that he is educated and motivated to read.

The literature indicates that, generally speaking, dyslexic children have poorer postural control than children of the same age that are not dyslexic. These symptoms can make us think of an immature cerebellum.
Other studies stipulate that dyslexic children have less balance.

With the use of medical imagery, it has been demonstrated that dyslexic children could have a smaller right anterior lobe of the cerebellum. As well, it has been demonstrated that the brain of dyslexic children could be smaller.

When one considers that the brain is plastic and that we can modify the way it organizes motor or cognitive responses, in the context of the study provided here (, the hypothesis was formulated that a regimen of postural exercises could help these children acquire better balance.

The researchers did, indeed, demonstrate that postural training could improve the postural control of the participants.

So the question we should ask ourselves is the following: had we improved proprioception of these dyslexic children with Posturology, would the results have been better?

It is subconscious proprioception that activates the cerebellum, which is affected in the present case. And since the cerebellum is responsible for coordination and motor efficacy, it’s hard to think that results would not have been even better!

Degenerative disc disease and pain

It’s not very difficult to find studies that state that, in the end, the status of the physical body does not account for much when it comes to the pain the patient is dealing with.

We know that pain is a subjective phenomenon and that its causes are multiple. This being said, a recent study (2015) stipulated that, still, there happens to be a link between the degeneration of the discs and the pain reported.

A meta-analysis was performed and studies looking into degeneration of discs at the level of the lumbar spine in adults of 50 years or less were analyzed. Subjects reporting pain and subjects not reporting pain were studied. Subjects reporting pain either presented with radiculopathy or not.

3097 subjects were studied. 38.6% of them had no pain while 61.4% of them reported symptoms. The ones that suffered reported more often structural abnormalities (disc protrusion, spondylolysis or disc hernia).

It is true that we do not fully understand the concept of pain as much as we would like. And it’s also true that causes of pain are multi factorial. But this being said, it seems to do no harm to favor integrity of the musculo-skeletal system. That is the goal of Posturology.

The body and the mind

Of body and spirit

Are the body and spirit connected? If so, how?

Neuroscientists from Pittsburgh University have identified neuronal networks that bridge the cerebral cortex and the adrenal glands, responsible for the production of cortisol, the stress hormone.

The results of that study showcase how the body and the mind are actually literally connected. Their findings can explain why yoga and meditation have been found to be beneficial in developing a response to face stress, whether it be physical, mental or emotional.

We don’t know how many brain areas are connected to the adrenal glands but we do know that the connections are direct.

This study identifies the motor areas of the brain as the ones that connect the most with the adrenal glands. It could be that areas involved with cognition and emotional management are involved.

When one considers that the cerebral cortex (the seat of reason) is connected to the adrenal glands, this means that we have options and that we can find rapid solutions to remedy the present stress.

In posturology, by balancing the physical body, we improve the quality and quantity of sensory information responsible for the activation of the motor cortex. This can lead to a more favorable response to stress!

Prevention for lower back pain

A meta analysis on prevention for back pain was performed in the JAMA in 2016.

The objective was to investigate the efficiency of interventions for prevention of pain at the level of the lower back.

The literature review identified 6133 studies that were potentially eligible. 23 published reports were utilized, which equates to 30 850 participants that have been studied for this meta analysis.

Globally speaking, the evidence stipulates that exercise alone or exercise combined with education is efficient in preventing lower back pain.

But how ironic is this! What do we do when exercising actually causes specific pain? Do we modify the exercises? We cycle instead of running? I see it that this is what is typically done. Not so sexy…

When one calibrates posture, we can often allow ourselves to revisit activities that have been abandoned by the subject, considering that it is in a state of balance that these activities will be performed.

To calibrate posture is the most efficient way of improving proprioception. As far as I am concerned, it’s the only one that actually makes any sense. Once the body is more sensitive, we can recognize ourselves more easily and it is therefore easier to move in space and time. It is less risky and a lot more fun!

The right brain and dependence

Does dependency belong to a side of the brain?

Researchers from Indiana University have used positron emission tomography and functional MRI to study cerebral behavior when we would offer beer or Gatorade to beer fans.

When offered beer, once the subjects started drinking, they wanted more. The same did not happen when they were drinking Gatorade. The flavor of the beer lit up both frontal lobes as well as the right anterior striatum.

The anterior right striatum is a deep brain area linked to behavior and reward.

When one considers that the role of the basal ganglia (of which the anterior striatum is a component) is to filter the afferences from the motor cortex, we can think that an unequal activation of the motor cortices could create an asymmetry of stimulation of the basal ganglia.

Posturology tends to balance the activity of the motor cortices by stimulating its afferences symmetrically (parietal lobe and cerebellum, for example), via the skin of the foot and the musculature of the eyes.

Could it be then that, if we are to have an impact on the activation of the motor areas of the brain, we could play a role in diminishing the impact of a dominant right brain and its consequences as far as dependence on alcohol goes?