Restrictive Clothing – What it Does to your Body

Restrictive Clothing – What it Does to your Body

Wearing restrictive clothing is related to a host of health problems. A couple of weeks ago I posted on my Facebook page that I changed into another outfit before noon. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I had on, except I was in discomfort. There is a very good reason for it: wearing restrictive clothing around your waist (waistbands, belts, shape-wear) and rib cage can cause damage. Read more here.

I’ve become that person I said I would never be: the one who lives in pants with elastic waist bands. Here’s what is happening when you feel those ‘I can’t wait to get home and take off my bra’ moments.

Tight waists displace your internal organs.

  • Restrictive clothing (and sucking in your belly) displaces your internal organs either upward or downward. This increases the pressure in your abdomen, and as a continual habit, the pressure can cause the tissue (fascia) that joins one group of muscles to another, to thin and tear. Upwards pressure displaces the stomach and intestines against the diaphragm. Downwards pressures pushes the intestines against the pelvic floor muscles, and in women against the uterus. Some of the complications of upward pressure are hiatal hernia, and downward pressure uterine, bladder and rectal prolapse and diastasis rectii.
  • You can also get bladder and vaginal yeast infections (‘foundation’ compression under garments) and constipation.
10425587_1 sisterhood of traveling pants

These are the prop jeans from ‘The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants’. If only there were such a thing!

As a teen I lived in jeans: the real, non-stretchy ones. These days I rarely find a brand of jeans that fits the way they used to. What happened? Has the fit actually changed, were they always uncomfortable and has my tolerance level changed? Sadly, magic traveling pants do not, in fact, exist.

Most of today’s jeans have lycra in them, so  they should fit better, right? But have you put on a pair of jeans with lycra in them and been shocked said pants now show every ripple, and cellulite you didn’t know you had? Now we are told we need to wear lycra undergarments to cover that up. Wearing something like Spanx now means instead of pressure around your waist, you have it all over your belly. Don’t trade in your stylish jeans that fit for underwear that is slowly strangling you from the inside out!


The pain is real.

  • Tight waists restricts blood flow to your internal organs which means they get less oxygen, which means your tissues are starved and cells start dying off. This is what is causing the pain.
  • The less blood supply you have, the less oxygen your organs get, and as a result you get poor lymphatic drainage. If your lymph is not draining it creates a back up of waste products, which creates more pain.

Tight bras affects your ability to breathe, and more.

You know those days when you come home and the first thing you do is take off your bra and get into PJs? That is your

  • What Restrictive Clothing does to your bodyRestrictive clothing affects how you breathe (shallow), cause nerve damage, give you heartburn due to stomach being displaced.

I have acquired a very low tolerance for restrictive clothing and uncomfortable clothing. Now I am sympathetic to those people I said I’d never become.

If you think the discomfort from wearing binding clothes is a price you have to pay for fashion, you might want to rethink your priorities. I am less tolerant of uncomfortable clothing because I’m healthier and more tuned in to changes in my body as a result of not wearing constrictive pants. Through practicing Restorative Exercise I became aware that I was sucking in my belly almost all the time. Once you’ve felt a relaxed belly it is hard to go back to wearing constrictive clothing.  It is just so freeing.

My advice? Go with the flow and let your belly be free. If it is to be a choice between fashion or killing off my own cells, so-long fashion, hello oxygen. And here is a source for some exercises that will get you back in tune with what a free body feels like. And here is a post I wrote on moving your rib cage.

Daily Movement Multivitamin DVD


 

Letting Go: Autumn, Giving Thanks, and Breath Work

Letting Go: Autumn, Giving Thanks, and Breath Work

The season of Autumn is connected with the element of Metal in Chinese medicine and is related to letting go of things you no longer need: of ideas that are limiting, of regrets, old hurts, grief and a sense of loss.

The central organ associated with the Metal Element is the Lungs which control the flow of chi. Although breathing is an autonomous function, most of us breathe quite shallowly, using only the top third of the lungs. Taking full deep breaths, filling all the lungs, and fully exhaling is extremely beneficial. It is also a meditation practice, because doing breath work connects us with the moment; it is almost impossible to do while the mind is roaming. The word inspiration is connected with the Latin word ‘spiritus’ which means roughly life giving energy.

Letting Go with your Breath

Lungs take in and let go. We think of the Metal Element as a solid, un-moving structure, but metal is flexible; it can take almost any shape when it is in a molten shape and is also flexible to some extent in its solid form. The thoracic cavity is also flexible. It is a container that can change shape to become larger or smaller in volume. The bottom of the container is your diaphragm, the ribs and spine form the sides, and in between the ribs are the intercostal muscles.

Instead of letting go and breathing freely, most of us have patterns of constriction or holding on: in your shoulders, diaphragm, stomach and even your pelvic floor. Do your shoulders rise with your breath? Does your belly harden, or pouch out?  Do you breathe shallowly and hold your breath?

The shoulder girdle muscles and the stomach muscles are very important in breathing mechanics because they determine the mobility of your ribs and rib cage and how much your lungs can expand to take in air. If you only work on breathing exercises (through meditation or yoga) you may find there is some agitation and discomfort in your upper body, causing you to hold on even more, rather than relaxing and letting go.

Letting Go with your Belly

The first step to releasing your breath is to stop sucking in your stomach. If you aren’t sure whether you have stomach tension, try this simple exercise:

Come to your hands and knees on the floor (as if you were doing to do cow pose) and let your belly hang. Do not force your belly or your front ribs out. You are looking for a neutral spine and a neutral abdomen. Most people will not feel anything happen at first but if you can stay in this position you may feel a sudden release in your abdomen. Congratulations: you’ve just let go a lot of tension you didn’t know you were carrying.

To work on your shoulders and ribs try one of the Alignment Snacks by Nutritious Movement.