Treat your own
back with the
Buttafly

buttafly-cutout-1

How does the Buttafly help with back care?

Think of it as like a toothbrush for the spine!

We brush our teeth for two reasons – to keep them clean and looking good today and to look after our long term oral health. In the same way, using the Buttafly “cleans” the spine by facilitating an unwind from its postural habits, helping the back to feel good today while contributing to the future health and well-being of our spine.

I think of posture as like a favourite old sweater – so well worn that it bags at the elbows and has even taken on the shape of our shoulders. Like the sweater, over time our posture becomes shaped by our habits – both physical and emotional. There comes a point when our posture actually begins to define us to the extent that we assume our posture has become an integral part of our fabric. But this is rarely so and in 3 years of working with the Buttafly I have discovered that using one under the buttocks in lying facilitates an unwinding of the body, a letting go of habitual holding patterns.

Trained as a Physiotherapist in the days when massage and mobilisation were core to our profession, I have been surprised to find that we can lie down on a object and magic will happen – or perhaps I am just more addicted to the “mystique” of what my hands can do than I realised! Either way, the obvious physical changes and countless positive testimonials speak for themselves and I now advocate re-alignment of  the spine as a way of re-calibrating the system that works well to prepare our body for the day and indeed sleep.

How does it work?

Lying down on our back especially on a hard surface like the floor, it’s easy to feel how much of our weight is taken through the triangular bone at the base of the spine – known as the sacrum. Gravity has been eliminated but the spine is not free to move.

Taking the same position with a Standard Buttafly placed low down under the pelvis effectively “floats” the sacrum – the sacrum and low back are now off-loaded and free to move. Aided by a gentle inversion the body makes subtle adjustments it the way that it wants to, organised by its innate intelligence.

New interpretation of old concepts?

Off-loading the spine is something Physiotherapists have worked with through the ages and at one time “traction beds”  were routine equipment found in clinics and hospitals.  Likewise, changing the body’s relationship with gravity is not a new concept and inversion tables and gravity boots (which are used to hang upside down like a bat) have been around for decades.

Who can use the Buttafly for back care?

Over the last 3 years, since launching the Buttafly for the Yoga market,  hundreds of people have tried lying on the Buttafly with an astonishingly high percentage feeling significant change and benefits following – both for those with and without specific back problems or pain.

There are those who presented with no particular back problem but who felt their posture is far form perfect; those who complained of the normal challenges of modern day living e.g. repetitive or long-held postures at work including office workers, nurses, dentists, new mums, teachers. And sportsmen and women including weight-lifters, long-distance cyclists and runners. and those where one side of the body dominates, e.g. golfers and tennis players.

Then there is the “clinical” population, those people who presented with specific problems including:

Week-old whiplash affecting neck and back

Hip pain/ arthritis of the hip

Chronic pelvic pain

Scoliosis

Multiple sclerosis and using a rollator for walking

Parkinson’s disease

Post-spinal surgery including discectomy and spinal decompression

Following removal of metalwork for scoliosis

Those with metalwork still in situ for scoliosis

Postural low back pain

Non specific low back pain

Facet joint syndrome

Sacroiliac joint pain

No pain please

In the same way that no one exercise or treatment will work for everyone, there is no guarantee that the Buttafly will work for you. All of the above conditions have been reported by people who have tried the Buttafly at festivals and exhibitions with positive testimonials received immediately following and later on after the event.

Each time someone presents with a new condition and asks if I think it will help, I specify that the number one maxim is that the position MUST feel comfortable. There must NOT be any back pain or discomfort of any description. This is not a “no pain, no gain” situation. Indeed, I am convinced that one of the reasons why it is so effective is because it feels so comfortable. It is with great caution that I have “allowed” people with existing pain or other symptoms to try the Buttafly. I remember well a lady who came complaining of acute whiplash – she was desperate for some relief and willing to try anything. Only with specific instructions not to tolerate any increase in pain, she laid down with the Buttafly as described above, feeling great comfort during and reporting significant relief following to the extent that she burst into tears and said that it was the first time she had been pain free since the accident.

How long should you lie on the Buttafly?

Experience shows that those without back problems tend to re-align in about 5 minutes and those with chronic conditions tend to benefit from resting for between 15-20 minutes. The suggestion is that you work out for yourself what is the optimum time, working up in 5 minute increments.
Buttafly Standard positioned under the pelvis in supine lyingbuttafly_12-shortened

How to position the Buttafly in supine

Come into a low bridge, place the palm of one hand on the sacrum, middle finger pointing down towards the tailbone.

Use the other hand to position a Standard Buttafly with the high end towards the feet under the pelvis so that the sacrum can fall away in the indent. Straighten out the legs one by one and make minor adjustments so that you are comfortable and the pelvis is resting in neutral and the low back is neither arching away from the floor nor dropping towards it. You will want the buttock flesh to be cushioned in between the sit bones and the Buttafly to avoid compression around the sacrum.

If you place the Buttafly to high under the buttocks, the pelvis will be dragged into an anterior pelvic tilt and cause an increase in the lumbar lordosis.

Positioned too high under the buttocks, the Buttafly causes the pelvis to be taken into an anterior tilt

If the Buttafly is placed too low under the buttocks, the pelvis will drop back into a posterior pelvic tilt and cause a reversal of the normal lumbar curve.

Placing the Buttafly too low will cause the pelvis will drop back into a posterior pelvic tilt

Take the time then to find the “sweet spot” where the pelvis is in neutral. Once here, if there is any discomfort at all, try placing a support under the ankles to bring the feet up to the same height as the hips, shown here using a Standard Buttafly under each ankle.

If the discomfort persists for any more than a few minutes then abandon this position and perhaps try another time.

For people who are fit and without any symptoms, a Tall Buttafly may be used in place of a Standard Buttafly. The inversion will be greater and unless you use a support under the ankles, there will be a stretch over the front of the hips.

Supine lying with a Tall Buttafly under the pelvis

Please note, the objective of this exercise is intended as general back care and while it may be included in therapeutic programs, for your safety, please consult with a licensed practitioner first.

“… What impressed, and surprised, me most were the effects of using Buttafly in different places along the back when in a lying position. In a spare 20 minutes at the recent British Wheel of Yoga Congress, Louise placed the blocks in certain positions under my body. In one such position I could feel almost immediately that something quite powerful was happening. More than one person commented on the immediate change in my posture and there was a pronounced realignment of the muscles either side of my spine. As a result I have no doubt that Buttafly could be a very valuable tool in the releasing of deeply held tightness and tension in the body, mind and emotions.”

Nick Edge, Teacher of Yoga and meditation, Mandala Ashram, UK

 

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