A favorite phrase of massage therapists is “it depends.” That phrase definitely applies to this question. If you are born with poor posture, such as congenital scoliosis, or if there is an underlying medical situation that results in posture, clients may not see as much improvement in their posture. Massage therapists can still release trigger points, lengthen tight muscles, and stimulate overstretched muscles. This can help improve the pain often associated with poor posture.
If bad posture is caused by habitually sitting or standing in improper alignment, massage has a greater potential to assist in improving this posture. Habitual slouching can be exacerbated by our daily activities - overusing muscles when exercising, sitting at a desk all day, staring at a phone to text, email, or scroll through social media, relaxing on the couch, or experiencing stress.
Ida Rolf was a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation. Her theory was that when the major segments of the body - head, shoulders, torso, pelvis, and legs - are vertically stacked in proper alignment, the body can function in the most optimal way. With optimal posture comes ease of movement in the joints, appropriate space for vital organs to function, increased circulation, and optimal muscle tone. To clarify, this muscle tone does not refer to the muscle created by lifting weights. It refers to the natural tone of each muscle which allows for smooth movement in daily activities.
If improving posture is your goal, your massage therapist can work with you to create a customized treatment plan. In addition to providing massages, therapists can offer at-home stretches to contribute to your progress between appointments.