Posture release imagery

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Posture release imagery is a visualization method for improving the mind-body relationship by freeing up postural sets that influence freedom of movement. It works by thinking about specified images based on nine "new principles" and noting how these visual and tactile-kinesthetic images affect posture and motion.

The developer of the approach, John Appleton of Springfield, Missouri, proposes nine of these specified principles that promote healthy posture. These principles portray an ideal response of the body to gravity, either while relatively motionless or in motion. Appleton's method has the student experiment by imagining becoming specific body shapes with certain qualities and later observing how these imaginary thoughts and principles have affected posture and body awareness sense.

Students examine pictures of specific, recommended, simplified animal-like shapes and textures. Then they are asked to imagine that they are inside of these shapes and possess their qualities, as if the shapes were the skin of their own body. These visualization exercises are applied in order to become aware of one’s own hidden postural attitudes and habits, so that unnecessary habits of holding tension can begin to be eliminated.

Derivations and related disciplines[edit]

Appleton, who is a teacher of the Alexander Technique, states that some of the imagery and principles are derived from its principles, in spite of that discipline not employing the technique of visualization. Posture release imagery also bears some accidental resemblance to ideokinesis, a name that is given to a variety of imagery developed by various people and used primarily by dancers.


  • Appleton, J.A (2006). "Postulating that our neurological models for musculoskeletal support, movement, and emotional expression come from archetypal forms in early organisms". Medical Hypotheses 66: 1029–1035. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2005.11.040. 
  • Appleton, J.A. (2007). "Illustrations and mental imagery of archetypal forms of early organisms – a new approach to exposing and releasing habitual and dysfunctional posture". Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies 11: 25–36. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2006.02.006. 
  • Appleton, J.A. (2007). "Aspects of posture and personality described by a typology of muscle tonus patterns". The Journal of Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy 4: 107–120. doi:10.1080/17432970802079166. 

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