Discover your optimum sitting posture
Sit comfortably for longer with the buttafly
A Seat for Yoga and Meditation
Ergonomically designed the Buttafly complements the natural shape of the body and works brilliantly as a seat for sitting cross-legged on the floor. For Yoga asana practice as well as meditation it helps you sit comfortably, effortlessly and with good posture, helping you to get the most out of your practice.
For those who prefer to sit on a chair for meditation, the Buttafly can be used on a conventional chair that has a flat and fairly firm seat. As with sitting on the floor the sloping surface of the Buttafly supports the pelvis in a way that makes it easy for the spine to come into good postural alignment. The firmness of the foam is designed to be comfortable for sitting on for periods of up to an hour or two – most people would probably find it too firm for all-day use e.g. in the office.
A Versatile Yoga Block
The Buttafly works especially well for seated and lying Yoga postures where a prop is required for additional support. The wedged shaped and fluid curves mean that it fits around the body and limbs better than a regular rectangular Yoga block making it a more comfortable alternative.
A Tool for Back Care
Historically man has experimented with ways to “off-load” the spine. Traction beds were once a stalwart find in physiotherapy departments and inversion tables and gravity boots designed to reverse our relationship with gravity have been in use for decades and still have many aficionados.
The “off-loading” offered by the Buttafly is recommended for gentle, effective back care. The feedback from working with people over the last couple of years has been consistently “good” that is to say, subjectively, in more than 99% of cases they report a new found ease and freedom of movement of their spine, hips and pelvis. An often drawn parallel is that the experience is similar to the feeling afforded by “good” manual therapy treatment.
While many people have used the Buttafly to self-manage back and hip pain no research hasyet been done to validate its effectiveness.
The Buttafly is positioned as a tool for back care i.e. looking after a spine that is pain free for the purpose of releasing the spine from the effects of habitual postures.
The Standard is 5cms high at the front edge, the same height as a regular Yoga block, and is more suited to those who are more flexible in the hips.
The Tall is 10cms high at the front edge and is more suited to those with less flexibility in the hips.
The Flat model is also 5cms high but has a flat top so it can be used in addition with either of the other models to make them higher overall.
The Buttafly Effect
Think of posture as like a favourite old sweater – so well worn that it bags at the elbows and has even taken the shape of the shoulders. Like the sweater, over time our posture becomes shaped by our habits – both physical and emotional – to the extent that our posture actually begins to define us. We assume our posture has become an integral part our fabric but this is rarely so and the Buttafly simply facilitates an unwinding of the body, a letting go of habitual holding patterns.
Experiential Findings and Validation
In 1956 at his clinic in Wellington, physical therapist Robin McKenzie had been treating a patient complaining of back pain and sciatica for 3 weeks without improvement. On this particular day the man came in for treatment and McKenzie asked him to go and undress and lie face down on the treatment table. Unbeknown to McKenzie, the end of treatment couch was in the raised position and without adjusting the table the man lay face down with his back in the over-arched position. Some 5 minutes later, McKenzie walked into the room and to his horror found his patient lying in what at that time was considered to be a most damaging position. On enquiring as to his welfare, McKenzie was astounded to hear the patient say that this was the best he had been in three weeks – all pain had disappeared from his leg and furthermore, his back range of movement had markedly improved.
McKenzie felt there was significance in this chance event – he did not wait until he had clinical evidence to try out the new exercises with patients. Rather he set about an exploratory process, systematically evaluating the effects that simple movements and positions had on his patients’ back pain. Over time a clear assessment and management process emerged. This system is known as the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy – it has achieved worldwide recognition and is regarded as part of “normal” management for low back pain.
Only much more recently has the effectiveness of his treatments been scientifically validated.
“Treat Your Own Back”
After decades of working with this system, McKenzie wrote up a protocol for patients describing clear explanations and exercises in his book Treat Your own Back. It was first published in 1980 has since sold over 4 million copies around the world and been translated into 18 different languages.
In an interview McKenzie said, “It’s not a difficult concept to grasp but it’s been made difficult because a lot of people don’t like to see the mystique of manipulation and mobilization abandoned. They want to keep holding onto the skill that they have spent years learning… a lot of people do not like the idea that patients could treat themselves.”
When McKenzie first presented his findings to the world he was heavily slated. By 1982 he was given the award Honorary Life Member of the American Physical Therapy Association and in 2004 they named him the number one most influential and distinguished physical therapist in the field of orthopaedic physical therapy.
His vision was that all patients with musculo-skeletal pain be taught how to manage their own pain.
Chance Events and Accidents
How I came to use the Buttafly for back care can also be described as a chance event.
In 2005, I fractured my sacrum in a roller-blading accident leaving me with chronic sacroiliac joint pain and a boney callus on my sacrum sufficiently big enough that I am unable to lie down on my back on a hard surface.
Laid off work and unable to exercise in my usual way, I took up Yoga. In class, apart from Savasana (lying supine) I found sitting cross-legged on the floor very difficult and tried every available seat, block and prop on the market in my endeavours to get comfortable. None of them worked and so I set about designing a seat, wanting to make this position more accessible, more comfortable and ultimately more beneficial for all who came to it.
Fast forward 2 years… Soon after the first shipment of the Buttafly arrived I explored using a Standard one low down under my pelvis to off-load my sacrum and more to the point, the boney callus. The lack of pressure was a huge relief and to my surprise the position felt weirdly and extraordinarily comfortable (I even fell asleep) and afterwards my spine and pelvis felt freer and more flexible than they had done since before the accident.
Just as McKenzie had done, I began to explore my findings with others, trying out the position on people from all walks of life, both with and without varying back and pelvic conditions. To name a few: Pregnancy, post-pregnancy, sacro-iliac joint pain, chronic low back pain, scoliosis, leg length discrepancy, osteoporosis, post spinal decompression, post spinal fusion, multiple sclerosis.
Many have had fairly transformational experiences – physically and often emotionally too.
The Burden of Back Pain
Low back and neck pain continues to be a huge worldwide problem. The latest Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and published by the Lancet showed it was the “leading global cause of disability in 2015 in most countries.”
In the UK, back pain affects up to 80% of the population at some time in their lives, costing the NHS £500 million to annually; according to the Work Foundation, a third of all long-term sickness absence from work, and nearly a fifth of any sick leave, is caused by musculoskeletal disorders, mostly lower back and neck pain.
Despite all the research to date and clinical trials, more than 80% of low back pain is diagnosed as “non specific” meaning that there is no identified tissue origin and the symptoms are self-limiting regardless of treatment or advice.
While I believe that posture and physical stresses and strains are relevant to back pain there remain huge gaps in our understanding. How come some people have “terrible” posture and yet no pain? How come some mechanics can spend their whole working life stooped over a car bonnet without problems?
How can people lie down on the Buttafly for just 5-10 minutes and report such profound results?
How come some people are saying that the Buttafly Effect has “cured” their back pain of 20 years?
For a long time I found myself resistant to the findings. Perhaps as McKenzie once said of physical therapists, I was attached to the mystique of what my hands can do. I was also worried that people might think I had come up with a gimmick to make a fast buck or that I was somehow pandering to the modern world’s desire for a quick fix.
Nothing could be further from the truth…
The consistency of subjective and objective findings as a result of the Buttafly Effect across a wide-ranging group of subjects cannot be denied and a top university here in the UK has shown interest in undertaking a PhD study. These are exciting times – watch this space!
Buy the Buttafly online and follow the Buttafly Effect Instructional Video.
Qualified as a Chartered Physiotherapist in the 1980s and like many of my peers trained in the McKenzie Method as well as many other post-graduate courses including Hydrotherapy and Clinical Pilates. From early on in my career I intuitively felt the allopathic approach of Western medicine was limiting and have studied other paradigms extensively: Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, Arvigo Therapy (Maya Massage), the Buteyko technique, the Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), Matrix Re-imprinting and META Health.
I am a qualified Nordic Walking instructor, Infant Massage facilitator and British Wheel of Yoga accredited Yoga teacher.
Yes, I’m passionate about posture – not for posture’s sake but for the clues it gives us into our inner landscape. We can heal from the outside in and the inside out – it is my privilege and pleasure to help you do both.
Yours in Yoga x