• Natalie Petersen

The Importance of ‘Reading the Body’

Being a soft tissue therapist for over 20 years, the knowledge and ability to ‘Read the Body’has been the fundamental basis to all my treatment applications and advice to clients.

In my opinion, every soft tissue or movement therapist should be employing this concept prior to any manual application of treatment or exercise. Thankfully, this has become increasingly recognised and accepted and in particular in my home country Australia, evidence of this (clinical notes) are considered mandatory by relevant practitioner associations and health funds.

‘Reading the body’ is a bit of an art, and is a well-trained skill. Some may put this into thecategory of ‘Postural Assessment’, and indeed it is certainly contained within that category.However, for myself, the Reading involves a finely tuned active and passive visual assessment and discussion with the client to consider many other aspects of life in general that can influence a postural pattern.

Therapists and movement specialists (collectively known as Bodyworkers) are very familiar with the anatomical and structural components of postural anomalies such as scoliosis or an extra vertebra. We are also very skilled in understanding physiological influences (e.g. postural change when we are tired or alert) and pathological influences (e.g. Illness/disease, arthritis). Often the strain and pain patterns occurs in an area away from the origin of presenting pain or injury.

Bodyworkers are also familiar with the influence of occupational and recreational aspects of our lives on our posture. It is equally important to consider the social and cultural influences on posture (e.g. Squatting instead of sitting on chairs).

Of course, the postures we assume provide information to not only the condition of our bodies, but also how we feel about ourselves, our confidence levels, how enthusiastic we are, or whether we feel relaxed, anxious or tense. Interesting to note, we all almost always adopt the same postures in response to the same emotions.

Every Bodyworker has their own protocol to Reading the Body. My career with Specialist Physiotherapists, Doctors (pain management), elite athletes and exposure to many people from all walks during ownership of 2 busy clinics in Western Australia, has enabled me to fine tune and develop my own successful approach.

Encompassing all this information and mapping the results of the Reading helps to formulate the best possible treatment program for the best possible outcome.

Reading The Body