On 20th April 2021 at 4PM, I am invited by the NZZ FutureHealth Forum in Basel (Switzerland) to give a webinar on the 3 Rules of Posture and their application to working from home. The conference is free and open to the public! Click here to get the link.
Abstract: Much has been said on working from home and its impact on your lower back or your neck… but one question remains: how much have you learned that will help you protect your body on the long run? In this session, Olivier Girard will tell you about a simple yet universal framework called the 3 Rules of Posture. It applies to working from home, to working from the office, to manual handling and any other daily life activity, whether at work or at home. Adults should know about it, as well as children. White collar workers as well as blue collar workers. Join us for a truly empowering session in which you’ll learn how to use and protect your body, right now as well as in the future… Be ready to look at posture and ergonomics from a brand new angle!
If you speak German, check my interview in the NZZ!
The Ergo Lab is where Logitech develops its next products and services. It's a fantastic place, where real innovation in posture and ergonomics takes place.
As a member of its Scientific Advisory Board, it's a pleasure for me to to bring practical and field expertise to the team. To discover more on the Ergo Lab, click here.
Texts on posture are often difficult to apply. To resolve this and bring you more value, I have put a lot of effort to build my YouTube channel, Olivier Girard - the Posture Guru. The topics are very diverse and aim at bringing you practical advice for your daily activities: screen work, how to buy ergonomic furniture, pain relief, posture correction exercises, and many more.
Subscribe to the channel and check out my multiple weekly videos! You can also send your questions using the comments or by mail. If your question is relevant to many, I will shoot a new video to answer!
See you there,
The lockdown has pushed many new clients towards posture therapy. I had to scale up, and found out that "new" technologies were actually making it possible to give my clients a better service: I can now use a mobile app to coach you on a daily basis, through micro goals, videos, tips, etc.
Discover the brand new 10-Weeks Online Back Saving Program, the only online program designed to perfect your posture, quit painful evenings and preserve your spinal health.
I have always been specialized in the treatment of overuse disorders (which used to be called RSI as repetitive strain injury, CTD as cumulative trauma disorders, etc.). As I teach you to make a healthy use of your body in your daily activities, my job is to help you stop "putting oil on the fire": your pain is fueled by the misuse of your joints and muscles, 24/7 (this is what I call posture: a dynamic concept, not a static one).
Conversely, I have tended to avoid treating patients who had had an accident. In an accident, the causes are gone: therefore, symptomatic treatment will be enough. Your physiotherapist is in a much better position to help you than I am.
However, I have been called several times recently to join multidisciplinary teams to help treating complex cases. One of my latest patients had for example fallen from his roof a year ago, and still had terrible neck pain despite seeing an ergotherapist, an osteopath and a chiropractor. A month after we started the treatment, he was starting to feel better. We're now 3 months down the line and pain has virtually disappeared.
I have many more stories like this one. All illustrate the fact that complex treatments are like a chemical reaction: if one element is missing, nothing (or not much) happens but if all are there, recovery can happen very quickly.
Therefore, if you suffer chronic pain and you feel that things are not moving the way they should, you should consider posture therapy as a complement. The potential benefits are huge, whilst the side effects are virtually none.
Homeworking ergonomics has brought a lot of media attention to Plein le Dos, my posture manual in French. This time, two of the recently published articles have been translated in English. Click on the images below to read them.
Many of you have to stay at home due to the coronavirus spreading worldwide. One of the challenges will be to protect your musculoskeletal health while working at home, where the working conditions are usually not as good as at work. You will find detailed advice to adjust your workstation and improve your posture on the free summary of my course on screen work ergonomics.
Below are pictures of the homeworking desk that I made for my wife, inside her Ikea closet. A ruler with double-sided tape blocks the laptop from sliding. If you do not have a proper office chair, you may consider using a lumbar support on a kitchen chair with a backrest.
A good sitting posture is essential, but you also need to monitor your daily screen time. Below are my recommendations for you and your children: if your child is 12 years old, she may spend daily up to 2hrs on a desktop OR up to 40 min on a laptop OR up to 20 min on a smartpohone. In other words, the green line indicates your "daily credit". Each minute on the desktop costs you 1, each one on the laptop costs you 3 and each one of the smartphone costs you 6...
Frequent breaks are also need, as shown below. The logic is the same: the smaller the screen, the younger the user, the more frequent breaks need to be.
Last but not least, you need to remain physically active! The two exercises below will help you preserve your musculoskeletal health: practice often, but slowly and always within your comfort zone. Simple cardio activities for home include the exercise bike that you once bought (and since then left in your basement), a jump rope for a few minutes several times a day, to jog on the spot, etc.
Video consultations are available for all those who want personal advice, wherever you live: feel free to contact me.
Vacuuming, cleaning under furniture, carrying: these are all activities in which many of you hurt yourself at home. Imagine what it is like for those whose job it is!
To better help them, Olivier Girard is partnering in Switzerland with Batmaid, a start-up company dedicated to improving the working conditions of home-based cleaning women. On June 26, we hosted a workshop at a cocktail reception at the Batmaids of Lausanne; we repeat the exercise in Geneva on July 4th. To join us, check with Batmaid.
TRAIN YOUR POSTURE's method is uniquely global: I teach you how to preserve and heal your body by improving your posture and ergonomics at work as well as at work (Erg'OH Conseil is the brand for companies).
For even more empowerment, I have written a posture manual for everybody and every day. Very illustrated and didactic, it describes a posture training road-map over 3 months. Each week, a daily goal and an exercise are suggested so that all themes of your daily life are discussed: how to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, relax, sleep, breathe, choose ergonomic furniture, etc.
Whilst the publication in English is still pending, the book is now available in French. If you are interested in publising the English version, please contact me.
Sitting on a gym ball (aka. Swiss ball, exercise ball, yoga ball or posture ball) is in fashion, but is it really the healthy choice for your spine? Let's go back to the basics and see if the promise of relieving lower back pain is kept...
what is a good sitting posture?
When you sit well, your sitting posture fulfills these two conditions:
The first posture below (on the sitting bones and against the lumbar support) fulfills the requirements, but not the next ones
Some people think that using a fitness ball as an office chair is the only way to feel comfortable. Very often, I observe that they don't know how to adjust their chair or that they sit for too long in a row (i.e. more than 30 min). Check out this video to discover how to adjust your ergonomic office chair well!
what happens when sitting on a ball at work?
Bringing your heels backwards is also the idea behind a kneeling chair: to avoid slouching, let's hollow the back! Another bad idea, as I explain in this video...
Does sitting on a ball help your back?
You could think that if you know how to sit on an exercise ball, you will train your back muscles. This is another misunderstanding of what sports is: high intensity, short duration, prolonged rest. Sitting on an exercise ball at work is the very contrary of this: it does not create the cardiovascular benefits of sports, but rather tissue inflammation (see The physical activity paradox, by Andreas Holtermann).
does this mean you should ban gym balls?
No, it doesn't. The problem isn't the ball: it's how long and how frequently you'll be sitting on your exercise ball at the office.
My advice is: if you like your gym ball, use it... but only 10 min at a time, max 3-4 times a day, and during activities that do not require an intense concentration. See it as a tool to train sitting position despite unstable conditions, not as some kind of "fitness office chair".
so, how to sit on a ball at the desk?
To hold the pelvis in this neutral posture, you should engage the lower transverse abs (under the navel): if you bring them slightly inwards, you increase the pressure around the lower spine, which stabilizes it. This muscle effort explains why you can't sit for too long on a gym ball.
how about a chair with a ball for seat?
so... a yoga ball for all?
A yoga ball, gym ball, exercise ball, posture ball or whatever name you want to give it is therefore a training tool, not an office chair.
Hence, I do not recommend that companies invest in yoga balls instead of individually adjusted ergonomic office chairs. To choose well, have a look at this video and these technical specifications.
As an individual, you may use a gym ball to train sitting position, when your mind is not busy somewhere else.
I believe that we should invest in expensive things only when there's no other choice: an ergonomic office chair is a must work in proper conditions but for the rest, I prefer to get postural variation from adapting my working style (e.g., stand for phone calls and video conferences) and taking short but frequent breaks during which I practice this short exercise for effective muscle relaxation. The less I depend on "things", I more free I am.
To feel durably better and avoid wasting money on costly accessories, join the Online Posture Programs, the only empowering offer to correct your posture!
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