Postural Restoration | What It Is, How It Works & Its 6 Life-Changing Benefits

Posted on: March 9th, 2020

Postural Restoration (PR) is a holistic and safe treatment option for various types of health problems related to chronic asymmetry in the body. This article explains what PR is, how and why it is used by clinical practitioners and the multiple ways that it may help to enhance the function of the body and brain. Its relevance to right-side dominance and the process of breathing are also addressed.


postural restoration

What is postural restoration?

Postural Restoration is a treatment approach used to safely and holistically improve pain, instability, weakness, and dysfunction that develops because of chronically unaddressed asymmetries in the body.

Human bodies are asymmetrical from side-to-side, top-to-bottom, and front-to-back. This is very natural. Nobody is completely symmetrical. Nobody has perfect posture.

However, some people are born with greater asymmetry or develop it throughout the course of life due to their vocations, poor habits, and various other possible causes.

In many people, when left unaddressed chronically, physical asymmetries lead to various health problems including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Poor balance
  • Vision problems
  • Dental occlusions
  • Impaired breathing
  • Weakened muscles
  • Skeletal misalignment

These and other symptoms can manifest because the asymmetry is causing the bones, muscles, organs, and the rest of the body to be unable to work together and function optimally.

When we move in unbalanced manners repetitively over time, it can cause stress, strain, discomfort, and dysfunction in the body. Postural restoration is used to reposition relevant body structures in such a way that the body returns to normal functioning, without pain.

The goal of the postural restoration doctor is to understand how a specific patient’s arms, neck, shoulders, back, hips, ankles, knees, feet, and other components are positioned in relation to one another – and how those anatomical relationships affect the patient’s capacity to move, flex, function, work, rest, sleep, and be physically and mentally effective in life.

Postural Restoration specialists focus on determining the precise musculoskeletal factors and relationships within the body that are causing adverse symptoms.

After the cause is determined, the PR professional will develop a patient-specific treatment approach to improve the symptoms.

In many cases, postural restoration doctors work with a patient’s dentist, optometrist, podiatrist, or other physicians to develop a holistic and safe treatment plan.

Successful Postural Restoration restores the body’s position to a more balanced, aligned, and symmetrical state. This allows the muscles, bones, joints, and other body systems to work together more harmoniously and achieve improved overall health and vitality.

Postural Restoration & Right Side Dominance

Research has shown that there is a worldwide tendency for humans to be right-side dominant, meaning they are naturally stronger and more inclined to rely on the right sides of their bodies.

Right-side dominance is a global trait that is unaffected by ethnicity or geographical positioning.

According to researchers from a case study, “PR is the first approach to appreciate the significance of fundamental asymmetry of the human body as a positive factor, facilitating movement via a universal right-side dominant movement pattern. This pattern represents one half of the gait cycle; its opposite pattern, on the left, is less used and less strong.”

Note that being right-side dominant doesn’t necessarily mean the person is right-handed, although that is typically the case.

Being right-side dominant predisposes most humans to rotate our pelvises in a clockwise direction. This causes our torsos to rotate counterclockwise in attempts to maintain balance and symmetry.

Our bodies perform all sorts of counterbalancing acts like these – including swinging our arms when walking. It’s all part of the amazing ways our bodies are constantly adapting and readapting to keep us progressing throughout our lives.

However, when we force our bodies to continuously attempt to counteract asymmetry and imbalance that is outside of what’s normal, then it can cause muscle tension, discomfort, poor circulation, pain, and various other adverse symptoms.

These symptoms are the body’s way of saying that it needs help to feel better – that it needs “restored” to a more balanced and natural state. That is the purpose of Postural Restoration: to correct posture so that symptoms eventually self-resolve.

Postural Restoration and Breathing

Breathing is our first connection to life. Breathing is an autonomic process, meaning we don’t have to command ourselves to do it.

The average human breathes about 15 times every minute, which calculates to more than 20,000 breaths every day! It happens naturally, regardless of whether or not our respiratory system’s components are functioning properly.

It also happens even though a person is not breathing as efficiently as possible due to lacking knowledge, right side dominance issues, or other causes.

It follows that a person who has excessive bodily asymmetry may not be breathing optimally. In many cases, asymmetry causes a person to use accessory breathing muscles in the shoulders, neck, and chest instead of using the primary respiration muscles in the diaphragm as nature intended.

Chronic improper breathing can alter the biomechanical organization of the body, which can lead to respiratory system dysfunction in some cases.

Postural restoration specialists understand that when the breathing process is not as efficient as it can be, the entire body is affected.

PR treatment can be designed on a patient-specific basis to address how the muscles in the diaphragm and rib cage are working – and what the patient can do to modify improper breathing habits to improve respiration.

Postural restoration has helped many patients to breathe easier and more efficiently, which subsequently improved their overall life quality. When we breathe better, we live better!

Benefits of Good Posture

Poster Restoration is an integrative and holistic treatment protocol. Developing proper sitting posture, proper desk posture, and proper standing posture is associated with various possible health benefits including:

  • Increases circulation
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Balances adverse asymmetries in the body
  • Relieves various chronic & acute conditions
  • Brings attention to breathing from the diaphragm
  • Increases range of motion of the muscles and bones

Postural Restoration may also help a patient to restore muscular tonicity, improve balance during movement, and enhance multi-system functioning throughout the body.

postural restoration

Do posture correctors work?

Most people have seen numerous advertisements for various back posture corrector devices. These devices can be helpful for correcting bad posture in some cases. However, they aren’t for everyone equally. A postural restoration specialist can help you determine if a posture corrector is a good idea for you to try, and offer expert advice about the best posture correctors to research.

Exercises to Strengthen Upper Back and Improve Posture

Many patients report success from using gentle yoga to improve posture. There are also various other types of posture exercises – including pilates, tai chi, and other forms of gentle, slow stretching. Of course, not all people are able to exercise equally. Ask your postural restoration doctor if exercise is advisable for your unique posture and alignment challenges.

Postural Restoration: Summary

The balance and symmetry of our muscles, bones, and other body components affect the ways that we walk, run, sit, stand, eat, sleep, and even breathe.

When asymmetry exists in the body severely or chronically, it can cause a multitude of ill health effects – from limited movement to poor digestion to teeth misalignment to impaired vestibular activity.

In essence, Postural Restoration is an amazing treatment protocol that empowers many patients to maintain increased vitality and function in their daily lives. It typically enhances physical performance and helps to protect the individual from future injury.

Postural restoration is a treatment system that is used to understand the imbalances that are causing a patient’s adverse symptoms. Once the source is understood, the practitioner will devise a unique physical therapy strategy to address the underlying issues.

Postural restoration continues to gain popularity as a safe, holistic, and integrative treatment option for athletes, adolescents, and adults alike. It can be beneficial even when other traditional healing protocols like surgery, injections, and physical therapy have been unsuccessful.

If you would like to discuss the ways that Postular Restoration might help you to improve performance and reduce adverse symptoms, then please reach out to Dr. Gregg Gerstin and his team of friendly and caring health professionals at Align Wellness Center at 900 Skokie Blvd, Suite 113, Northbrook, IL 60062 or give us a call at (847) 564-0483. Many of our patients are trending toward this noninvasive, holistic restorative therapy.


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Align Wellness Center
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900 Skokie Blvd Suite 113
Northbrook, IL 60062