Base-Line Healing logo. Stick figure with arms outstretched above shoulder height, legs apart. Rainbow of colours up midline. Red at pelvic floor Base then a line of orange, yellow, green blue extending to the head. Showing the body aligned and balanced, the natural way to treat fibromyalgia.Use your body better slogan.

Body Alignment and Balance

"Body alignment" and "a balanced body" are common phrases in many disciplines, but what do they mean?

Balance and alignment both have multiple definitions, the ones most relevant to the body are:

Alignment:

  1. Arrangement in a straight line.
  2. Arranged in the correct relative positions.

Balanced:

  1. Different parts of something that exist in equal or correct amounts.
  2. A state of equilibrium, being in harmonious arrangement.

For body alignment - What should be arranged in a straight line? What should be in the correct relative positions?

For a balanced body - What is equal amounts? What is in equilibrium?

Using Our Midline Anatomy as the Reference for Body Alignment and Balance.

Body alignment and balance what do they mean?  Human figure viewed from the front. Showing a line straight down the middle, splitting the body into left and right halves from head to pelvis. This is the reference line for body alignment and balance. The midline anatomy is at full extension and in alignment, creating the median plane. Left and right sides of the body are balanced either side of midline. This line should be used for the assessment of body alignment.

The body is balanced and aligned when:

  • Our midline anatomy can be arranged in a straight line.
  • The parts of the body are all in the correct relative positions.
  • Left and right sides of the body are in equilibrium, either side of midline.

When our midline anatomy is aligned, so are the hips, shoulders and spine.

Skeleton and main muscles of movement seen from the front. Highlighting the positioning of the hip, shoulder and knee joints when the body is balanced. The pelvic floor the solid base of the torso. The rectus abdominis muscles up the front of the abdomen from pelvis to chest aligning the lower body. The trapezius muscles aligning the upper body. The rectus femoris muscles from pelvis to shin aligning the hip and knee joints. The gluteus maximus muscles are mostly hidden by the pelvic bones in this view. Good posture comes with midline alignment. When the main muscles of movement are fully utilised the rest of the body is correctly positioned.

Midline Anatomy Alignment and the Median Plane.

When your midline anatomy is correctly aligned it creates the median plane (the slice through the middle of the body). The head and limbs are in the correct relative positions and the body is balanced, either side of the median plane.

Our midline anatomy that should align on the median plane includes the linea alba and the nuchal & supraspinous ligaments.

Side view of the midline slice of a human figure which is known as the median plane. Showing some midline anatomical structures: The midline slice of the pelvic floor muscles forms a cup/crescent-shape at the base of the torso. The linea alba at the front of the body extends from the pubic symphysis of the pelvis to the xiphoid process of the sternum. The nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligament are a continuous structure at the back of the body that attach to the vertebrae of the spine. The nuchal ligament extends from the midline bump on back of skull, known as the external occipital protuberance, and forms a leaf of connective tissue in the back of the neck, turning into the supraspinous ligament that follows the spine to the lower lumbar area of the back. The nuchal ligament and supraspinous ligaments are curved down the neck to mid back and then another curve towards the lower spine. The linea alba and nuchal and supraspinous ligaments should be fully extendable and flexible through a full range of natural movement for the body to be dynamically balanced and in alignment.

linea albanuchal & supraspinous ligaments

Body alignment and balance:

When our midline anatomy can align on the median plane, and the body is balanced either side.

How can you align your midline anatomy and balance your body?

- Work with the 5 Main Muscles of Movement.

The 5 (paired) main muscles of movement are the key muscles to focus on to improve the body's state of balance and alignment.

5 main muscles of movement

the 5 main muscles of movement labelled on a skeleton. Viewed from different angles. Trapezius of the upper body, the rectus abdominis at the front of the abdomen pelvis to chest, gluteus maximus big ass muscles, pelvic floor a group of muscles that are the base of the body and the rectus femoris of each leg, strong poles down the front of each thigh. The central muscular framework of the body. These 5 muscles are key to a having a good posture and a full range of natural movement,  with a body that is dynamically balanced and aligned.
  • The rectus abdominis are responsible for the alignment of the linea alba.
  • The trapezius aligns the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments.
  • The rectus femoris align the hip and knee joints.

When used correctly, the main muscles of movement allow the head, shoulders, hips and knees to be in the correct relative positions, and for the body to maintain a good posture.

good posture

Work with the 5 main muscles of movement, starting from your Base-Line muscles (pelvic floor and rectus abdominis), to balance and align your body.

Base-Line muscles

2 images of a human figure, one from the front and one from the back, angled. Showing the base-line muscles of the pelvic floor and rectus abdominis. The rectus abdominis muscles are like two parallel ribbons up the front of the abdomen from pubic symphysis of the pelvis (the bone between the legs) to the front of the chest, attaching to the cartilage of rib cage i.e. the rectus abdominis muscles extend quite high up the chest. Each rectus abdominis is made up of sections of muscle, panels of muscular tissue separated by bands of horizontal connective tissue within each 'ribbon'.  The linea alba, a strip of tough connective tissue, lies between the rectus abdominis muscles on the body's midline. Think pelvic floor base, rectus abdominis line. Our core pillar of strength that should be active and extended.

What if I don't use my main muscles of movement?

Increased Awareness of Your State of Alignment and Balance.

Your body is constantly generating information about its positioning (posture), motion and balance. By focusing on the relevant anatomy you will become more aware of this sensory feedback - your sense of proprioception, which will allow you to feel how to move in order to improve your state of balance and alignment, building the connection between body and mind.

conscious proprioception

To start, find these five midline markers on your body:

From bottom to top:

  1. pubic symphysis.
  2. navel.
  3. xiphoid process.
  4. jugular notch.
  5. external occipital protuberance.
Outline of a human figure seen from the front. 5 spots are marked on midline, evenly spaced. These 5 anatomical markers are part of our midline anatomy that should align on the median plane. From bottom to top: 1. is the pubic symphysis of the pelvis between the top of the legs. 2. is the navel/belly button. The bottom and top of the breastbone/sternum are markers 3 and 4. The xiphoid process at the bottom of the sternum and the jugular notch at the top of the sternum.  5. is the midline bump on the back of the head, the external occipital protuberance. Find these 5 markers on your body and feel for their state of alignment.

5 midline markers

Touch these markers to help focus your attention on their location and feel for their relative positioning as you breathe with your Base-Line.

breathing technique

Skeleton within an outline of a human figure seen from the front. Midline is marked with a thick line from head to pelvis. Showing the rectus abdominis and pelvic floor which are the body's Base-Line muscles. Focusing on activating our Base-Line increases awareness of the relative positioning of our midline anatomy so that we can work towards true body alignment and balance.

Imbalance and misalignment.

Two human outlines seen from the front.  One is balanced and aligned with the midline anatomical structures forming a straight line on the median plane with left and right sides of the body balanced either side of this line. The other figure is crooked, twisted and misaligned. Physical restrictions in connective tissue, stored trauma, are causing bad posture and creating body-wide tensions.

Having a body that is imbalanced and misaligned means experiencing:

  • Tension.
  • Pain.

An explanation for fibromyalgia

Physical requirements for body alignment.

For our midline anatomy to be able to align on the median plane it needs to be free to fully extend. This is possible when the body has a full range of natural movement and no physical restrictions to apply tensions (and cause pain).

full range of natural movementphysical restrictions

Achieving a body that is truly balanced and aligned takes a lot of time and work. It's a journey back to better physical health.

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