Breugger’s Stretch: How You Can Combat the Effects of Sitting
The majority of America works sitting at a desk. The human body was designed to move and we now know that prolonged inactivity such as sitting at a desk all day increases your morbidity for many diseases. Fortunately there’s a way for you to relieve tight and sore muscles and improve your posture without leaving your desk.
The stretch is called Breugger’s Stretch or Breugger’s Posture. The purpose of the posture is to activate the muscles that are turned off during sitting and as a result, the overly tight muscles can relax. To perform this stretch, stand up straight with your arms at your sides. Turn your hands so that your palms face forward and your shoulders are pulled back slightly and brings your arms slightly out to the side, at a 20 degree angle. This will open up the chest area and stretch the pectoral muscles. Once in position, practice deep diaphragmatic breathing from deep within the belly instead of shallow breaths with the chest (which many of us are accustomed to). You hold this position while practicing deep breathing for 30 seconds to a minute.
Vladamir Janda, a famous physiotherapist first came up with the idea of tonic and phasic muscles: tonic muscles tend to become tight and phasic muscles tend to become loose and weak. Sometimes we need to stretch the tonic muscles and strengthen the phasic muscles and that is the aim of the Breugger’s posture, to stretch the right pectoral muscles and muscles in the back of the neck while strengthening the deep neck flexors and the muscles that extend and externally rotate the shoulders. With this new information you can help yourself reach a more beneficial posture and reduce painful syndromes caused by prolonged sitting.