CHAPTER 1

GENERAL INFORMATION

Posture

The Spencer Designing System is founded upon improvement of posture.

Good posture is the key to physical fitness and graceful, attractive appearance. It has been defined as the poise of the body in the properly balanced vertical line, without muscular tension or rigidity.

It is essential for you to know about posture, since a properly fitted Spencer Support will help to correct faulty posture. The widespread need for posture correction is evident from the fact that nine out of ten people have faulty posture which, unless it is corrected, is apt to grow worse.

Faulty posture gives the figure an awkward, unlovely appearance. It destroys graceful carriage. It often affects the health unfavourably because of the consequent displacement or crowding of the organs in the abdominal cavity. It may cause muscle and ligament strain or create painful pressures on the nerves in the spinal area. During the past 20 years orthopædists have paid more and more attention to faulty posture as a primary cause of backache and back disability.

Because of faulty posture, circulation, digestion and functioning of reproductive organs may be impaired. Even the brain may be less active because of poor circulation caused by faulty posture.

Spencer defines three general types of posture :

  1. Erect
  2. Lordotic
  3. Fatigue (Kyphodorsal)

ERECT POSTURE


Fig. 1

Posture is called " erect " when a perpendicular line from the ear passes through the shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle joints (see dotted line on left-hand figure).   The curves at back above and below waist are normal.   The pelvis (frequently mentioned in this book is described on pages 172 and 173) is balanced perfectly, in a completely natural position (see Fig. 1).   The line drawn through the figure at right indicates the normal tilt of the pelvis.   The organs are properly placed, breathing is natural, and the body is gracefully poised.   Few people have erect posture.

LORDOTIC POSTURE


Fig. 2

(Commonly Called "Lordosis" or "Sway-Back")

The sign of lordotic posture is a deep curve in the back near the waistline (see Fig. 2). There is more than normal fullness below waist at back and usually fullness above waist at back.   The shoulders are thrown backward to balance the body.   The pelvis is tilted too far downward at front and the contents of the abdominal cavity are thrown forward and downward, out of their normal position.   The dotted line indicates normal tilt ; the solid line shows extra downward tilt which has occurred in the pelvis.   Many women have lordotic posture.


Fig. 3

FATIGUE POSTURE

A person with fatigue posture has a comparatively flat back line.   The normal curve in the lumbar area is flattened.   The typical fatigue figure is scant above and below waist at back.   The pelvis is tilted too far upward at front, resulting in a crowding and displacement of the abdominal organs (see Fig. 3).   The dotted line indicates normal tilt ; the solid line shows extra upward tilt which has occurred in the pelvis.   The shoulders droop forward to balance the body and the chest and diaphragm are cramped.

POSTURE AND ITS EFFECT UPON THE BODY

The relation of posture to the position of organs in the abdominal cavity has been studied by the aid of the fluoroscope, a device by which an X-ray enables the doctor to see the position of the organs within the body.

It has been found that when fatigue or lordotic posture is corrected the stomach and part of the intestines are often raised from one to three inches.

Erect posture reduces susceptibility to various forms of ptosis (sagging of an organ or part), as well as numerous spinal conditions which often result from incorrect posture.

Doctors have found that a person is often taller by 2 inch to 4 inch upon arising in the morning than at bedtime. This change is explained by the fact that the discs between the spinal vertebrae become thinner as they bear the body weight during the day in the upright position, thus shortening the spine. This is true to some extent when the posture is good, but is true to an even greater extent when posture is faulty.

Faulty posture places undue strain on muscles and ligaments, and often creates abnormal spinal curves.   This condition may cause pressure on the nerves and discs between the vertebrae, resulting in aches and pains.   Since every person is subject to the strains and stresses which affect the spine, every client is subject to possible discomfort or disability resulting from impairment of the discs.

When there are abnormal spinal curves, the spacing between the spinal vertebrae is uneven, and the discs that fill these spaces and act as cushions, are squeezed into a wedge-like shape, thinner than normal on one edge and thicker than normal on the opposite edge (The arrows in Fig. 5 point to the thin edge where pinching of the discs is taking place).

Fig. 4
Normal Curves of Spine
Fig. 5
Abnormal Curves of Spine
(These drawings are exaggerated in order to show the spacing between the vertebrae more clearly).

The thin edge of the disc permits the vertebrae nearly to touch each other, and often the nerves between the vertebrae are pinched, causing pain. The thin edge is incapable of properly cushioning the vertebrae and therefore reduces the natural protection against jolts or injuries of a more serious nature.

If the Fitter indicates on her order form that the client has either a fatigue or lordotic type of posture, the Spencer Technicians create a support which assists the wearer to assume an erect posture. The abdomen is supported and the pelvis and spine are properly balanced; the head and shoulders return to normal position.   Postural strain on muscles and ligaments is relieved, and back pains due to faulty posture are alleviated.   Breathing is more nearly normal and health and appearance are improved.

Medical tests show that backache following childbirth is often the result of faulty posture. One doctor found that out of 1000 women who complained about backache, only 180 had backache due to disease, while 820 had backache as a result of poor posture.

To improve posture, a support must be correctly and individually designed. It must be carefully cut from excellent materials, and must have sufficient boning to maintain the cloth sections in the shape to which they are cut. Spencer Supports are designed, cut, and made in exactly this manner.

Spencer Methods

The scientific methods developed by Spencer enable you, through your order forms, to send the Spencer Technician a picture of the exact requirements of each client.

The Technicians, working according to these Spencer methods, interpret your order chart and design a support in which every part of every section is shaped to fit with precision and comfort, to meet the needs of the individual for whom it is ordered. Every seam is cut, and every bone placed in each Support to be correct for the one individual who is to wear it.

Thus, the order form is the connecting link between you and the Spencer Technicians. From the description of figure given by you on the order form, the Technician receives a delineation of the client's figure as it is, uncontrolled and unsupported.   From the measurements the Technician gets a picture of the client's figure as you wish it to be controlled and supported in her new Spencer.

Four Important Steps

To provide the Spencer Technicians with accurate and complete information about each client's figure, four basic steps must always be followed:

 
1.   Describe figure as it is — uncontrolled.
2.   Control figure as you wish it to appear in the new support.
3.   Outline for supports.
4.   Take measurements.

When measuring for a body support and breast support, these steps* are always carried out in the following order:

 
1.   Describe figure, as provided for on order forms.
2.   Control with Control Support.
3.   Control with Breast Control Support.
4.   Outline for breast support.
5.   Measure for breast support.
6.   Outline for body support (Breast Control Support remains on figure).
7.   Measure for body support.

The details of these steps are presented in the next five chapters.

*When measuring for a Spencer-All the entire figure is outlined at one time. Then, measurements for the whole figure are taken, as listed on Order Form 825a.


Description of posture and of figure