Can posture affect my hormones? And the short answer is, yes it can! Amy Cuddy from Harvard University has done research on how body language impacts hormones. One of her studies showed how levels of salivary testosterone and cortisol are impacted when someone is in an upright posture vs when someone is in a slouched over posture.
Testosterone has an important role to play for both men and women. It helps plays a part in regulating libido, brain function, muscle mass and strength, and fat distribution. Signs of low testosterone may include irritability, depression, brain fog, decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis, erectile dysfunction and low sex drive to mention but a few.
The Stress Hormone
Cortisol commonly known as the “stress hormone”, is secreted by the adrenal glands during stressful events. It is very important that after a stressful event, that cortisol go back to normal levels. Unfortunately, in a society where stress is not an acute but a chronic event, cortisol levels can rise and stay elevated for a prolonged period. This has been shown to have negative effects such as impaired cognitive function, sleep disturbance, lower immune function, higher blood pressure and increased abdominal fat to again name but a few!
High-power vs Low-power Poses
In Cuddy’s study, the levels of salivary cortisol and testosterone were measured when participants held (for two minutes) an upright “high-power” pose vs a slouched over “low- power” pose. The results showed an increase in testosterone and decrease in cortisol in the “high-power” pose and a decrease in testosterone levels and increase in cortisol levels in a “lower- power” pose.
The Power to Influence Your Hormones
So, how can you apply the benefits of this interesting study in your life? Whenever you can maintain a power- pose, which sort of looks like you are puffing out your chest, and keeping your head over your shoulders, do it! Try to hold that for a few minutes a day and notice how you feel immediately after. To help combat the effects of stress on your body and for a more prolonged effect on your health and wellbeing, getting ABC adjustments is the way to go! The whole idea, is that you leave being able to stand upright, “without effort, or thinking about it!” I look forward to seeing you at the practice!
Dr. Aline Dahdah