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“The Egyptian water-carrier, with the jug of water poised so prettily on her head, and her figure so straight and beautiful, has always challenged admiration; her carriage is dignified, erect, and graceful, something worth striving for, especially when we have the certainty of success if we will only be faithful and persevering. The peasantry of foreign countries who carry all their burdens balanced on their heads have their reward in healthy, strong, straight figures, even in old age they do not stoop.” This passage from the 1887 American Girls Handy Book on etiquette and comportment is essentially the same observation that inspired today’s posture guru Esther Gokhale: “One activity that strikes most new visitors coming to India, first in the cities, and then with greater frequency in the villages and tribal areas, is how impressively people carry things on their heads. The balance and elegance is arresting; the strength and health this practice imparts to the neck is a good reason to adopt it into a modern lifestyle.” So is there any merit to the practice of headweighting to improve posture? I have started using a Gokhale Method head cushion to improve my neck posture.
The Posture Crown is essentially the same product but costs a little more.
They are both round, fabric sacks filled with about 1.5 pounds of beads or some other kind of weight. If you have sewing skills they could easily be made at home. I have also read about people using weighted eye pillows. So does it work? Gokhale claims that it strengthens the longus colli muscle. The posture crown website directs users to two different research studies ( https://posturecrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/scientifc-study.pdf ) and ( https://posturecrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Research-study.pdf ) that show improvements to forward head posture. In my experience, keeping the cushion balanced is a good reminder to help me keep correct posture with my chin tucked and the added resistance does seem to strengthen the muscles that elongate my neck. This is consistent with a recent post from @progress :
For efficient tongue posturing it may help to become conscious of the dynamic between occipital muscles and tongue. These two groups are opposing, mutually stabilizing forces that can interact with each other through the palate. This interaction of forces could possibly be visualized like this:
So adding resistance to strengthen the neck muscles can also help strengthen the antagonism from the tongue and maybe move the maxilla up and forward in the process. I just rest the cushion on my head for 5 to 10 minutes while working at my computer a few times per day. Gokhale recommends wearing it while driving or cooking, or even out walking if you are brave enough. This isn’t an essential part of my routine, but it has been helpful enough that I thought I would encourage others to try.