I found this article from the Daily Mail UK about a woman who had decided to take the three paths of pilates, alexander technique, and chiropractor and see which one could give her the most extra height.
It is from HERE. Again, I highlighted the most interesting parts . Hope you like it.
Can you grow an inch in a week?
by ALICE ROBINSON, Daily Mail
Modern life is making us lose height. This is the disturbing conclusion of health experts who have the unenviable task of righting the damage we do to our backs in the course of our everyday lives. ‘We spend far too much time slumped over computers, wearing high heels and idling around on sofas watching TV,’ says Sue Wakefield, executive director of the British Chiropractic Association. As a direct result, most of us may well be standing up to 2in shorter than we need to be.
Back problems are costing British firms 10 million working days a year and making us an unhappy and short nation in constant pain. Having woken every morning for two years with an aching neck and feeling permanently irritable, Alice Robinson, 5ft 4in, set out to find a cure. She tried three methods of realignment to see if she could gain a healthy spine – and extra inches. Her results may surprise you.
Developed last century by Joseph H. Pilates – a German fitness enthusiast – and now fashionable among celebrities such as Sharon Stone, Madonna and Julia Roberts, Pilates was originally used to help injured dancers and athletes.
It is used to rectify poor posture by means of exercises that strengthen the spine, and stretch the vertebrae, which increases height, improves the circulation and opens up the joints.
This was initially only practised in studios, using beds to which pupils were loosely strapped, so that specific areas could be isolated and manipulated without moving other parts of the body.
However, ex-dancer and Pilates tutor Glenda Taylor has developed exercises that can be done for 10 to 15 minutes a day at home.
According to Taylor, Pilates is, in addition, like ironing out the spine, and a marvellous way of improving the way you look.
‘If your body is concertina-ed down, you necessarily look fatter. When you stand correctly, because you are standing taller, you are stretching your fat over a larger surface area – which gives the impression of being slimmer.’
Glenda agreed to give me three lessons to see how much difference we could make to my height.
During our first session, we concentrated on stretching out the spine while facing upwards. As I followed her instructions, trying to co-ordinate my arms and legs, I realised just how little control I have over virtually every part of my body.
We began by sitting in a yoga-like position, gradually dipping my head further and further towards my legs. Then Glenda took me through a variety of exercises such as sitting with one leg tucked up to my bottom and one stretched out, then curving my arms towards my toes to elongate the spine.
During the second session, Glenda taught me exercises that concentrated on lying on my stomach and arching the spine. The third session was devoted to stretching and limbering up to give suppleness, using household objects to perform the exercises.
Verdict: 1/2 inches (so that is 0.5 inches with 3 sessions)
After just three sessions, I had grown half an inch, and also found it easier to pull in my stomach muscles – an added bonus. However, with Pilates and the Alexander Technique, the effects can only be maintained with regular practice.
The Alexander Techinque has 800 practitioners in Britain, and the numbers are growing.
It was developed by Frederick Matthias Alexander, a 19th century actor, who lost full use of his voice through chronic laryngitis. He realised that muscular tension was causing this problem and developed a method of releasing it and allowing the spine to lengthen.
Practitioners claim some people grow as much as 2in through the technique. I put their claims to the test at Noel Kingsley’s London practice, with three sessions over the course of a week.
‘We all become accustomed to standing incorrectly,’ explains Noel. ‘Children are born with naturally perfect posture, but as we get older, we develop unconscious movement habits – such as slouching, or carrying heavy bags.
‘These affect our sense of wellbeing as well as causing physical problems, and the Alexander Technique is a way of releasing unwanted muscular tension that has accumulated over years of stressful living.
I was thrown by Noel’s first comment. He explained that when you stand correctly the head will feel as if it is tipped slightly forward with your chin pointing down, so you are not resting the weight of your head on the spine.
I then had to relax and Noel gently pushed down my shoulders and ran his hands up my neck. As I forced myself to stop resisting the action it is incredibly difficult to relinquish total control of your limbs to someone else – I could feel the muscles stretching and elongating.
The release of blood and oxygen made my whole body tingle, and after the first session I almost floated down Oxford Street and wafted onto the Tube.
Having been shown how to balance my head in the right way, I found it easy not to slip back into my former rigid stance. Over the next two sessions Noel showed me how I should stand (balanced), sitting (straight) and walking (in a much more relaxed fashion).
Having analysed my movement pattern, he used touch to guide me into the right positions, using his hands to gently push my shoulders down, my bottom in and my head forward. Ideally, the technique is taught to you over a series of lessons – Noel recommends 15.
The verdict: one inch (wow, 3 sessions lead to 1.0 extra inch!!)
After my third and final session, I measured myself and was astounded to discover that I had grown an inch and could gaze down at the world from the lofty height of 5ft 5in. Not quite Kate Moss, but almost.
Chiropractic involves diagnosing and treating disorders of the joints, muscles and bones. Minor displacements of the spinal bones can cause stress to the whole body as it compensates for misalignments.
One of the main treatments used is manipulation – where the joints are mobilised or stretched using a gentle motion to improve or restore normal function.
Although I gained just over a quarter of an inch from my sessions with Antoni Jakobowski – a chiropractor for more than ten years who sorts out the back problems of the U.S.
Having never contemplated whether my spine was in good condition, during my initial consultation I realised that I had spent two years with a constant nagging pain in my neck and right shoulder.
Bones and discs need motion to keep them healthy, otherwise calcium deposits form on the joints, making them harder to move.
The muscles surrounding the joints start to tense in order to try to stabilise the weak joint, and you start to feel pain.
Jakobowski explains that how much height you gain depends on where the problem is. ‘If you need work on your lower back, you will gain more height because the curve of your spine changes.’ When a bone is out of position the body leans forward to compensate.
Having worked out where the problem areas might be, he uses a nervoscope – a heat sensitive thermometer that identifies areas of inflammation.
Because blood is rushing to these areas, they are hotter. Running the nervoscope up and down my spine, it transpired that I had two vertebrae functioning improperly in my neck – from clutching the phone between my neck and shoulder.
Jakobowski placed his hands on my chin and neck and twisted it quickly to realign my neck vertebrae. There was a disconcerting popping sound, caused apparently by trapped gas being emitted from the joint, and the pain in my neck and shoulder disappeared instantly.
The verdict: one-quarter of an inch (so 1 session with a chiropractor leads to 0.25 inches)
Not only was I standing a quarter of an inch taller, but I felt much more energetic and even-tempered. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit a chiropractor again. Depending on factors such as weight and age, the effect should be longer lasting.
Me: It looks like from the three methods, The alexander method lead to the most change of 1 inch (2.54 cms). However, I would be willing to bet that if the women kept on doing the pilates exercises or the chiropractor sessions, her height gain could have been more than just a fraction of an inch. Overall, they all seem to work in fixing standing and posture issues.