TLDR : it might be useful, but probably not in the way its ads imply it
Lately, I’ve seen many ads about these little gadgets, design to correct their wearer’s posture. These ads always follow the same pattern:
- A person is seen, slightly bent forward, working or reading
- A 3D spine is seen, and we can contemplate the famous red vertebrae that are shown when a spine suffers from the strain of being bent forward… gosh, what a lovely cliché !
- The person over-acts discomfort, their face basically saying: “ouch, myyyy baaack” (this line must be overacted in your head, of course)
- The person uses the posture-correcting device, and now smiles happily, and even lifts the thumb of victory in front of the camera
This narrative is repeated several times, and in the end, we can see the product’s price. But does it really work ? For less than twenty dollars, I definitely seized the opportunity to test the device, so I bought several versions of it ! Several variations exist (I guess that it’s a trend), but their differences are minimal: basically, it’s about preferring buckles instead of velcros or clips to wear the device, but the difference isn’t bigger than that. When I tried it, the device made me feel like I had ropes around the line of my shoulders and chest, reminding me the Japanese Tasuki. Soon, I realized that my posture didn’t change at all… Either I misused this product, either the people depicted in the ads are comedians, and voluntarily changed their posture with their own back muscles (they’re paid to demonstrate that the product is cool, after all)… In any case, this device didn’t change my posture, but pulled my shoulder blades together, making me look like a grotesque chicken, or better, like Jim Carrey impersonating a Velociraptor.
I don’t find the core idea uninteresting : forcing the spine upwards to avoid backpain isn’t necessarily stupid, but it is completely possible to slouch, even while wearing this device. You’ll just be slouching with your shoulder blades tied together, but nonetheless, you’ll be slouching. Also, it is totally possible to slouch from your lower back, even though your upper back is trying to straighten up towards the sky. So let’s say it bluntly: the device won’t miraculously change your posture, and won’t miraculously make you sit / stand straight. Plus, if you know the philosophy we have here, at Friendly Body, you’ll know that I’m extremely skeptical about posture correction, especially when it comes to reducing back pain. Does it mean that I would advise you not to wear such a device ? Well, not necessarily…
Correcting a posture doesn’t really make sense to me, but wearing such a device can help you taking care of your money.
Indeed, wearing a precise type of clothing can help you focus on a specific area of your body:
- Some people who work-out enjoy wearing a tight belt around their belly, even though their workload isn’t ridiculously heavy. This can help them placing their awareness on a specific part of the body, to maintain a propper form. Of course, if you’re deadlifting a very heavy load, as in this video, the belt will be useful to protect your body, but that’s another story
- Some Tai Ji Quan or Qi Gong practitioners wear silk, because the feeling on their skin allows them to be conscious of the surface of their skin
- As for myself, I have tried several types of shoes, and even walked bare feet on the street, simply because this diversity of sensorial experiences made me pay attention to the way I was walking
To conclude, this little gadget will work only if you use it to recall your awareness, just as a tool, that sometimes pushes you to tell yourself: “wait a minute, do I need to get into another stance right now ?”
This device won’t remove your back pain (but you’ll still be able to pay a thumbs-up in front of the camera, if you want), and this won’t correct your posture, but it isn’t necessarily useless: I just think that it is important not to feed an illusion, as a seller or as a buyer.
Next time, I’ll test the bigger version of this device, with a lumbar belt included.