My Story

Functional Design and Being Functional

MBF® posture therapy uses the human body’s original design as a blueprint in guiding a person back to being more functional. So the question often arises--what is our original design and what is the meaning of being functional?

In simple terms, here’s how we can define the body’s original design blueprint. From the front view, the center of the ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joints should all be vertically aligned. In addition, the center of those 4 joints on one side of the body should be horizontally aligned with the same joints on the other side of the body. Also, from the front view, the head should be aligned with the center of the body. From side view, the center of the ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joint, in addition to ear, should be vertically aligned. This alignment should be the same when viewing the left and right side of the body. In addition, in this functional design, all joints of the body should be capable of moving through their complete ranges of motion. The farther our bodies deviate from this original design, the less functional our bodies become, which results in a greater susceptibility to pain, discomfort, or injury.

In my personal opinion, I believe the bare minimum of a functional body should be one that can engage in basic movements and activities of daily life without pain or injury. A person should be able to walk, run, crawl, jump, go to work or school, do housework, gardening, carry objects, work on the computer, sleep, etc…. without any sort of discomfort. This minimum level of functionality is something that can be achieved and maintained by most people if they are willing to put in the effort.

What is interesting is how much discomfort we have learned to endure in our lives and have come to consider “normal”. For example, many people are surprised when I tell them that having knots and tightness in the muscles of their back and shoulders is not a normal state for their body. The relaxed and loose feeling experienced after getting a massage is not a special feeling. A functional body should feel like that all the time in its natural state! Most people do not consider tightness or knots to be pain, so they think nothing of it. However, that is one of your body’s signals telling you that something is wrong.

A higher level of functionality is the ability to participate in any strenuous physical activities or sports that person chooses without pain or discomfort. Keep in mind that I did not just say the participation in sports. The reason is that many people end up doing physical activities based on the problems they have. For example, if a person’s knees hurt and they can’t run on the street, they run on a treadmill. If it still hurts to run on the treadmill, they take up swimming. This person did not choose swimming. Swimming was the only thing left that the person felt he/she could do. This is obviously not a sign of high functionality even though the person may be highly active in swimming.

Also, don’t confuse high-level performance for being functional. There are many top athletes who are extremely dysfunctional and play through pain and discomfort. In addition, being functional also means that the person’s body is in a state in which it is not susceptible to injury. Some people may not feel pain or discomfort and are active in strenuous activities, but their dysfunctional bodies are like ticking time bombs when it comes to injury. On a similar note, I believe a body with a higher level of functionality can engage in physical activities outside of the person’s familiarity and comfort zone and still not be susceptible to injury.

What I have stated above, as far as what I consider functional, is solely my personal opinion. There actually isn’t any absolute rule or standard when it comes to what is considered functional or having a functional body. I believe ultimately people define it for themselves based on their personality, lifestyle, and goals in life.