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Did you know it is impossible to stand still?


Standing upright on two feet without consciously moving is scientifically referred to as ‘quiet stance’. It is called quiet because your nervous system is not challenged by this activity – however, it is far from ‘silent’.


Many rather amazing systems keep us balanced when we stand still. The vestibular (inner ear) apparatus has an almost magical functionality involving fluid and crystals. Our vision plays a key role in balance and if you need to be reminded of this just shut your eyes when your standing still and appreciate the increased postural sway. In addition, our soft tissues provide sensory feedback, a specific example would be the muscles spindles responding to the very postural sway you are unconsciously minimising.


So one theory is that you sway more when your balance is challenged, by closing your eyes for example, to provide more sensory feedback through the muscle spindle activation.


Compensations: If you have a vestibular issue, your vision attempts to compensate to aid your balance and general motion tasks like walking. More relevant in sports therapy is the fact that normal everyday training induced muscle fatigue can dampen the sensory input from the muscle spindles, effecting postural control during any coordinated task.


It is that this point that we can lean on the postural sway research to appreciate the potential to upregulate skin sensory input with touch/tape to compensate for the deficit induced by the muscle fatigue.


This was persuasively explained by Thedon et al (2011) which is a recommended read.


This has helpful clinical utility for a variety of patient groups from improving the standing balance of patients with Multiple Sclerosis (Cortesi et al 2011) to reducing forward head posture (Yoo 2013) and potentially performance endurance through maintenance of motor control in the presence of peripheral fatigue.


Thank you for reading, in my next post I will discuss whether the brain always needs to be so controlling. Can it Delegate?


Have you seen good results with taping for posture or balance?




Cortesi, M., Cattaneo, D., & Jonsdottir, J. (2011). Effect of kinesio taping on standing balance in subjects with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study\m{1}. NeuroRehabilitation28(4), 365–372. https://doi.org/10.3233/NRE-2011-0665


Thedon, T., Mandrick, K., Foissac, M., Mottet, D., & Perrey, S. (2011). Degraded postural performance after muscle fatigue can be compensated by skin stimulation. Gait & posture33(4), 686–689. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2011.02.027


Yoo, W. (2013). Effect of the Neck Retraction Taping (NRT) on Forward Head Posture and the Upper Trapezius Muscle during Computer Work. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 25(5), 581–582.doi:10.1589/jpts.25.581