7 Alternative Therapies for Dealing with Posture Pain

When Western medicine’s cocktail of painkillers and physiotherapy doesn’t cut it, consider these alternative therapies for your persistent aches and pains.
27 Sep 2021
Words by: Beverly Cheng

Chronic pains really are a pain – and they’re more present than ever between lockdowns, work-from-home arrangements with less-than-optimal body-desk alignment, and smartphone addictions that see our eyes glued to the screen all day long. When we do exercise, we don’t necessarily take enough time to stretch, exacerbating the problems rather than alleviating them.

So it’s more often than not that we suffer from one of neck, shoulder, back or hip pains, if not a combination of them. Physiotherapy is certainly one way to solve your posture pain, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Here, we showcase a number of alternative therapies, all of which rely on the simple powers of touch and muscle manipulation to release aches and pains of various origins.

A manicured practitioner’s hand inserting a thin acupuncture needle into a patient’s shoulder
Photograph by Anthony Shkraba

1. Acupuncture

An acupuncture appointment begins with the practitioner checking basic diagnostics to get an overall picture of the patient’s health. By examining the pulse, tongue and face as well as asking a series of questions about digestion, menstrual cycle and sleep patterns, the practitioner can better understand the patient’s underlying ailments. Sterilised needles are then used to tap into different points along the meridian channels to clear blockages and stimulate blood circulation for the body to self-heal. Studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, back injuries and sports injuries, along with chronic migraine and menstrual cramps. In TCM, acupuncture is often complemented by other modalities including cupping or herbal medicine as part of a more comprehensive care plan.

The New Moon Recommends:
15/F Regent Centre, 88 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2525 9288

2. Craniosacral Therapy

During a session, the patient lies face up while a therapist applies gentle pressure onto key locations of the body including the cranium, sacrum and coccyx to test the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing down the central nervous system. If there is a blockage, gentle pressure is added to restore the flow of the fluids in order for the body to function more effortlessly. Craniosacral Therapy can be effective for chronic migraines, neck and back pain, conditions affecting the central nervous system, autism, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and post-concussion syndrome, among numerous other conditions. Many report a deep sense of relaxation and relief from pain. This light touch, non-invasive therapy is also suitable for children.

The New Moon Recommends:
Balance Health
Unit 2705, 27/F Universal Trade Centre, 3-5 Arbuthnot Road, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2530 3315

3. Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT)

NKT is rooted in the theory that the body’s movement patterns are stored in the Motor Control Centre in the cerebellum. When an injury occurs, muscles in the body shut down, forcing other muscles to overcompensate, weaken and wear out. Because of this extra stress on limited remaining muscles, there is an overall sense of tightness and continued pain in different areas of the body. During the treatment, the therapist applies light pressure onto painful areas, which the patient is asked to resist repeatedly. The aim is to retrain the body to rebuild previously injured or weakened muscles. This doesn’t only help the area that’s been injured, but also other areas of the body that have undergone strain and stress after the initial incident. NKT is ideal as an alternative to physiotherapy in dealing with longstanding aches, pains and body weakness.

The New Moon Recommends:
The Body Group
14/F Prosperous Building, 48-52 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2167 7305

A man lying on his side on a treatment table with a practitioner working on his shoulder area
Photograph by Ryutaro Tsukata

4. Chinese Bone Setting

Chinese bone setting addresses fractures, sprains or injuries by physically manipulating the problem area. During the session, the practitioner manually repositions the muscles, ligament and bones by stretching, resetting and realigning the affected area. While this method is effective, it’s important to find a trained and trusted therapist as there are some risks of further injury. The process can also be excruciatingly painful, however many still choose this holistic therapy over invasive surgery. Following the treatment, practitioners may be prescribed a bone-setting tonic made from an extensive mix of pungent herbs. When rubbed onto the injury, it’s believed to seep through the skin and bring circulation back to the specific area so the body can be restored.

The New Moon Recommends:
Chiu Sing Nam Bone Setting
360 Queen’s Rd West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
+852 2546 7867

5. Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST)

Also known as Bowen Therapy, NST is a soft-tissue therapy that aims to help the body reboot after an injury or if a patient is experiencing continuous stress, depression, chronic fatigue and body weakness. The therapy involves a series of gentle and guided movements to help the body relax, which is believed to lead to an automatic correction within the muscular, nervous, visceral and endocrine systems. Many who have pain in the back, neck, shoulders and knees due to motor accidents and sporting injuries experience noticeable pain relief within a couple of sessions.

The New Moon Recommends:
Pause HK (2 locations)
Graham Street; Silverview Centre
8 Ngan Kwong Wan Road, Mui Wo, Hong Kong

+852 2167 7305

A woman in bridge pose wearing a nude yoga set
Photograph by Anna Shvets

6. Osteopathy

Rather than simply focusing on the injured area, osteopathy focuses on treating the body as a whole. Osteopaths work on gently rebalancing the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function as a holistic unit. The manual treatment is adapted to treat the ailment and oftentimes involves a series of targeted stretching massages, followed by exercises designed to restore function to the entire body. The treatment can help with motor vehicle and sports-related injuries, sprains, joint dysfunction, arthritis as well as migraines.

The New Moon Recommends:
Central & Stanley Wellness Centre (2 locations)
6/F On Lan Centre, 15 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2866 0287
G/F 120 Stanley Main Street, Stanley Market, Stanley, Hong Kong
+852 2372 9700

7. Trauma Release Exercises (TRE)

In TRE, patients literally shake off trauma that’s been stored in the body. This alternative therapy is ideal for anyone suffering from any symptoms triggered stress, anxiety and PTSD as well as pain and tightness in the body. TRE begins with a series of simple stretches and poses that activate the fight-or-flight psoas muscle and autonomic nervous system. The participant then lies down on his or her back with knees bent and the pelvic slightly raised, to induce shaking in the legs, pelvis, and eventually throughout the entire body. Every experience is slightly different, with some people conjuring up past memories, while others feeling simply more calm and peaceful. After the shaking finishes, patients experience a physical and emotional release.

The New Moon Recommends:
All About You
10A Wing Cheong Commercial Building, 19-25 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
+852 2992 0828