Origin of The Posture Theory

The original website for The Posture Theory can be seen here
The short 34 second YouTube video below shows the effect of repeatedly leaning forward with a stooped spine.

When I was 25 years old I had a lot of health problems which had been increasing in number for several years.

None of them showed up on x-rays or blood tests, or any of the other standard methods, and my doctor was unable to give me a diagnosis, and none of the many pills and potions which had been prescribed as treatment ever had any effect  in relieving the symptoms.

I therefore set about the process of determining the cause and treatment for myself.

One of my first methods was to describe each symptom, one at a time, in detail, to enable myself, and or doctors, or medical researchers to identify the cause and improve their understanding of the symptoms, and  produce effective treatments.

During that process about fifteen of my essays were published in the Australasian Nurses Journal between 1978 and 1983.

One of the main symptoms was exhaustion, so I also decided to treat that problem  by using exercise, where I began at a low level with the intention of increasing the pace over a period of weeks, or months, or for however long it took, until I returned to normal levels of fitness and health.
After making that decision I found out about an organisation called “The South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training (SA IFRT), which conducted exercise classes, so I joined up and enrolled in their fitness classes.

I found that my fitness did increase significantly in the first 12 weeks, but then stayed at the same level, lower than normal, despite increasing the number of exercises, and the pace of training, which established that I had a chronic physical limitation

I also established that if I exercised within those limits I was relatively free of symptoms.

More information on those methods and findings can be found in the essays, books, and webpages which I have written or published since.

In the meantime, while studying the various symptoms I noticed that virtually all of them were, at some stage, or in some situations or another, aggravated by leaning forward, particularly toward a desk while reading or writing, but also toward benches, or washing machines etc.

However, the symptoms did not occur every time, and usually only became a problem after a few minutes or hours of  commencing such activity.

I therefore drew the conclusion that the basic cause was leaning forward repeatedly.

However, I noticed that most other people involved in the same activities did not get the symptoms, but I was eventually able to explain why.

For example, after writing my theory on cause I looked at myself sideways in the mirror, and noticed that I had a very significant stooped upper spine, but it also occurred in combination with a forward arch in my lower back which made my abdomen protrude forward.

About a decade later I also noticed that one of my shoulders was lower than the other by a few inches, indicating sideways curvature of the spine, which explained why many of my symptoms mainly occurred on one side of my chest etc.

I later noticed that other people had chests which protruded forward and were deep, whereas mine looked as if the front of my chest was vertical, or flat, and later, with more detailed observation, that it actually inclined slightly backwards, making the angle between my sternum and spine look funnel shaped when viewed from the side.

slouchstomachDeepChestSlouchIn that regard, when people with the normal deep chest lean forward their sternum moves over and around their lungs and stomach etc, whereas when I leaned forward, with a stooped spine, and a shallow chest, the sternum bone in front moved backwards, compressing my lungs, while the lower tip was stabbing into the top of my stomach, which explained why I had all of those symptoms, whereas other people who were involved in the same activities didn’t.

I also wondered why I had such spinal and chest abnormalities, when other people didn’t, and then, one day, I noticed some photos in an old album which showed pictures of me when I was about four years old, when I had an excellent physique and a straight spine, and when I was about seven years old, when I was sitting slouched with a very thin physique.

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I was aware that when I was five years old I contracted measles, which infected and damaged my left eye, and at age six I had hepatitis for several months during which I would have had symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite, and lost a lot ofweight. Consequently, with the loss of weight, and muscle tone, my spine would have collapsed  under the weight of my own body and remained that way through to adulthood. The bones then harden and retain that shape.


As I continued to study those problems I found that other factors cause the spine to collapse during childhood, with the most widely known factor being vitamin D deficiency which causes rickets, and calcium deficiency would also contribute. Similarly, some elderly people develop a stoop because of osteoporosis which weakens their bones.

However, despite knowing the cause, it didn’t matter how I tried to improve my posture, I was still stooped, to some extent, and nothing seemed to prevent the symptoms.

Nevertheless, in the late 1990’s I went to the local library, and noticed that a door was open, and saw some computers, where one had a “learn to type” program on it, so I sat down to follow the instructions and tap out the letters of the alphabet one at a time with the correct fingers. for about ten minutes.

I returned to the library several times to use that program, and soon came to the conclusion that I would be able to learn to type that way, so I purchased a typewriter with a small screen on it, and later, a small computer, and before long was able to type faster than handwriting speed, so I kept typing, instead of writing.

StandingAtComputerThen one day, I decided to place a small bench about six inches high, on my desk, and put the computer screen on it, and then stand and type, and for the first time, I was able to type for longer than a few minutes, without getting abdominal pain.

A few more months went by when I decided to add another six inch platform on top of the first, and noticed that I had even less pain, and could type for longer periods.

Within a year I had placed the screen on platforms so that it was at eye height, and the keyboard at elbow height, so that I didn’t have to lean forward at all, and was able to type without any pain at all.

Since then I have noticed that I get some minor problems while typing, but nothing like the frequency and severity of before.

I have been standing to type for the fifteen years since, as I am today when preparing this essay which you are reading now.

Welcome to my website. I hope you find the information within it’s pages to be useful.

Max Banfield.


My first website can be seen here

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Started 27-5-13