It would always catch my attention when I would watch The Dog Whisperer television show and Cesar Millan would help dogs with self esteem problems by having the dog owners walk their dogs like if they were in a dog show. This would keep the dog to walk in a posture of confidence and from going into a posture of fear and self doubt. Walking the dog on a regular basis with its head held high like a confident dog would change the dog’s attitude and help give it confidence over time. One episode I saw, he not only adapted the leash to keep the dog’s head high, but the dog’s tail high as well to keep the dog from tucking it between its legs.
I was often fascinated by this and in the back of mind I would always ask myself, “Does this work with humans?” I did not see any reason why it would not. People take on different postures based on their moods. I once heard on a radio show that Mel Blanc’s kids could tell which voice he was doing without hearing him because he would change his posture for each voice he would do. Mel Blanc did over one thousand voices such as Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, and many other cartoon characters.
As I was learning Primal Reflex Release Technique™, there was a maneuver that used head position to alter an emotion and influence the nervous system. Part of the idea was to break the stress pattern in the nervous system. This seemed very similar to what Cesar Millan would do with dogs that would begin to have show aggression in their body postures. As soon as he would sense that was happening in a dog, he would change their head position to change their mind and prevent things from escalating. With Cesar’s method, the dog owner made the correction based on the dog’s body language and energy. With the Primal Reflex Release Technique™ method, one would have to learn to self correct in moments when things could escalate.
Eventually, I learned of a study where people who did “power poses” prior to job interviews performed much better and were more confident during their job interviews. Some of the interviewees did a pose for thirty seconds that is associated with high self-esteem, power, and confidence. Observing through a camera with no audio, they could tell who interviewed well and who did not. Those who did power poses, did much better. It started to become evident that the mind can be used to influence the physical body, but also the physical body can be used to influence the mind. I observed this regularly when patients would come into the office in pain and very irritable. On their way out, they looked refreshed like a new person and even smiles on their faces. This could mean that helping someone with their posture may help the person’s mood and mental state as well. There is still much more to learn about this but it is a fascinating field and I am excited to learn more in the future.