A book review: Becoming the Shape of the Chair You Sit In by Barbara Mawson

I recently bought this book online after a client recommended it. And I am pleased I did. Barbara is a physiotherapist who has had a lifetime of results working in the area of spinal pain. It is a self-help book and is full of information, good sensible ideas with some humour and lots of tips for daily living – all easy to read. Great to see a few yoga asana in there too.

After 40 years of working as a physiotherapist she certainly comes from a position of knowledge and wisdom. Lovely to see a NZ author with such powerful messages to share for all of us to prevent and rectify spinal problems, including neck pain and headaches. I love the way it is very achievable and I started to think – ‘oh my goodness, I have been getting into such bad habits, no wonder my shoulder is giving me messages.’ Every chapter has a lovely mixture of science to understand the problem, how we can self-treat and hot tips for us to make a difference to our lives.

I will certainly be doing what she recommends, for example, a simple thing like getting into and out of a car – I need to keep my knees together and go in bottom first.

I also learned that my husband’s choice of foam chip pillow, that I have thought was terrible for many years, is in fact a good choice, because of the moveable filling in the pillow. The head can sink into a hollow with support under the neck where it is needed.

Barbara says to find the right pillow – give it the two finger test: place one finger on each side of the pillow, fingertip to fingertip, and work the filling away until fingers touch. If you can’t move the filling the chances are high that the pillow will be less comfortable than one where you can. Barbara says that kapok, foam chip, feather and down or poly fibre balls are usually good pillow choices.

A great book to buy for someone who needs to visit health providers for back or neck issues, or to have on your shelf to remind you about how to keep healthy. After all, a happy back a happy life.

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