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Chin tuck vs Head rotation (key to effective mewing ?)  

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ayla mao
Active Member

We know that good head/neck posture is interconnected and essential to maintaining proper oral posture as it is very hard to connect the posterior third of the tongue to your palate if you are craning your head forward (or not following the tropic premise). I've seen some people claim that chin tuck should be maintained as posture 24/7 and some that it is to be used only as an exercise. I think both are right, just that they have a different take on what a "chin tuck" really is.

For me a chin tuck is just a translation (straight movement) of the chin backwards (so that it is tucked into the neck as much as possible) and yes this should only be used as an exercise to maybe strengthen the neck muscles. On the other hand what I think a "head rotation" is (not sure how else to call it) is what should be maintained as a 24/7 posture or as much as possible. I find that when I successfully engage this posture it drives my posterior third REALLY hard against my palate without having to expend any effort from my tongue. Actually my neck muscles (on the front side) work the hardest, or at least it feels like they do. Here is an image to illustrate what I mean:

The red line indicates the movement of the head when you do a classic chin tuck, it's just a forward-backward movement. The blue lines indicate what is done when you engage a head rotation. Imagine rotating your head around some imaginary center point in your brain (almost as if you want to touch your chest with your chin) AND then imagine you have a high ponytail and someone just pulled you upwards by it. Once I do the second (ponytail) part my chest immediately opens up and my shoulders shoot back, it's like my entire body posture fixes itself the moment I engage this head rotation. Not to mention that the posteriror third is very firmly pressed against the palate. It also feels like it is much easier to maintain general upright/proper body posture this way. If I tried to hold upright body posture without this my lower back would start feeling tired within 10 minutes.

 

This also feels way different than the normal chin tuck, at least for me there is definitively a big difference between these two techniques. Do tell what you think about this as I think this is a key aspect for successful mewing.

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Posted : 11/08/2020 5:32 am
Progress
Member Moderator

There absolutely are nuances to the chin tuck that are easy to overlook. Simply retracting the neck backward will create a situation in which the posterior neck muscles are no longer engaged, and as such there is nothing to protect the neck from hyperflexion. This is why the tuck has to be performed "against" activated neck extensors rather than "through" relaxed extensors. I have found in my own case that strong lip/cheek suction is what most reliably engages the neck extensors. I don't know why, it just does. I can feel the activation with the palm of my hand under the occiput.

A fundamental issue that I have noticed with hyperflexion is that it pulls the spine to a backward tilt (a), which encourages additional muscles in the upper posterior chain to disengage, so that muscles elsewhere have to work harder. Instead of this, it would be more helpful to drive the head forward so that the overall tilt of the spine is more forward (b). So in addition to imagining that the occiput is pulled up by a string, a recommendation often heard, imagine that the the heels, the tailbone and the occiput are part of the same string.

This is to say that in the imbalance that we call the 'forward head posture', it is not the forward that is the problem, but the downward collapse of the cervical spine, i.e. the muscular slack with which the forward head posture is performed. I think that in the big picture the occiput when driven up, and the mandible when relaxed forward against lip seal, generate vectors in between which the tongue will then naturally drive up-and-forward against the palate, as if its direction was the sum of these vectors.

 

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Posted : 11/08/2020 7:38 am
harrykanemaxilla
Estimable Member

 

@progress

Is my head and neck posture good keeping it like this when walking and sitting?

 

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Posted : 11/08/2020 3:53 pm
Progress
Member Moderator
Posted by: @harrykanemaxilla

@progress

Is my head and neck posture good keeping it like this when walking and sitting?

 

 

Hard to say, because the visual difference that (im)proper muscle activation causes when the head is close to optimal positioning is very small. If it feels stable and effortless, it's probably good.

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Posted : 15/08/2020 6:25 am
Lawnmewer
Active Member

@progress

Recently came across a spine reconstruction of a neanderthal. I noticed it seemed to exhibit ideal posture, with a perfectly balanced skull and ribcage. Now besides the anatomical differences between humans and neanderthals (skull size, ribcage size), I'd say it's a pretty good reference point  for good spinal posture and the chin tuck, no? 

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Posted : 15/08/2020 8:10 am