How balanced are your abdominal muscles?

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Our abdominal muscles are very important to us as they provide structural support for our spine.  The muscles are divided into six different muscles.  They are the Transversus Abdominis, the Internal Oblique Muscles (two of them), the External Obliques (two of them), and the Rectus Abdominus (six pack). They provide support to the core and assist in breathing.  The muscles that are located closest to the spine are also responsible for our posture, while the most outside ones will define our muscular shape and assist in breathing.  During the breathing process the abdominal muscles assist the body in pushing air out of the lungs.   This is done by pressing the thorax through muscle activity.

Because muscles usually work in groups, we also refer to the abdominal muscles as spinal flexors. This means that when those muscles are contracted, the spine flexes and moves forward.  Weak abdominal muscles can lead to pain patterns due to structural imbalance.  The same goes in effect if abdominal muscles have been shortened due to overuse.  We have to find the perfect balance to provide our body a healthy posture and to limit unnecessary pains and aches.

Take a minute and view yourself in the mirror.  Does your stomach stick out and/or is your back arched significantly?  If your answer is yes, then you probably have an imbalance between abdominal and back muscles.  Or what about your back?  Is your back rounded and your tailbone tilted forward?  If that is the case, you might have shortened abdominal and pectoral muscles and need to balance front and back.

There are a group of Massage Therapist that are trained in a technique that is called Structural Integration, also known as Rolfing.  Their work involves finding imbalanced muscles, lengthen them, and instruct the client with certain strength and balancing exercises.  The structurally balanced body is necessary to fight pain patterns and discomfort.  It will also boost your confidence level.

To understand whether you need back stretches or abdominal stretches to balance out your torso can sometimes be quite difficult for the everyday person to determine and the help of a professional  would be the ideal way to do this.  If you already know that abdominal stretches are what the doctor ordered, then you can view some simple stretches by clicking onto www.advanced-massage-therapy.com/abdominalstretch.html.  Abdominal stretches will not only aid in balancing out a structurally imbalanced body but it will also improve your digestion.

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