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I love lying on the floor

It calms me

It re-aligns my spine

It grounds me

So I was so happy to see this article in the Telegraph below and on the same day I received a call from BBC radio Scotland to talk about the same thing!

Here is the article below written by Hattie Garlick for the Telegraph

From stretching your spine to resting your mind, there are many health benefits to the latest Gen Z trend

Hattie Garlick29 March 2024 • 9:00am

Gen Z are clearly keeping their bedrooms cleaner and tidier than their parents might fear. Because the latest trend on social media is not for those who forget to run the hoover regularly. To date, videos marked with hashtag #floortime have been viewed an astonishing 52.4 million times on TikTok. In essence, young people all over the world are kicking off their shoes and lying flat on their floors. 

Proponents of “floor time” claim that this “grounding” exercise helps to calm the mind and stretch out the spine. But are there any real benefits attached to staring up at the ceiling? Do those of us who still think TikTok is the sound a clock makes need to sit up (or lie down) and take note?

It will relax and stretch your back

There is plenty of evidence that sleeping on a medium to firm mattress can help reduce back pain. While there has been little research into the related practice of resting on the ground, there are potential health benefits, suggests the physiotherapist Sam Bhide. For a start: “It helps to stretch out the whole body, especially if someone is hunched over a deskall day long.” She lies on the ground at the end of her own workout sessions to relax her body and mind, and points to the traditional yoga practice of savasana – “where the whole body relaxes on the floor, presuming it is well carpeted, or on a mat for some support” – as a precedent for the current trend. Lying in a soft star shape while breathing mindfully will relax and stretch the back, neck and shoulders, she explains.  

You’ll rest your mind

Dr Lesley Perman-Kerr, a psychologist and chartered member of the British Psychological Society, also agrees that, for some, the benefits can extend beyond the physical. “It is very grounding to feel your body fully supported by the floor and permitted to rest and let go,” she explains. “Rest is something that many of us don’t get enough of, and where people may not be able to give themselves permission, here TikTok is giving the permission.”

You’ll tune into your body

Rest is innately good for body and mind. But there may be additional benefits from taking yours on a hard surface, suggests Amberin Fur, an osteopath and the clinical director of The Vital Practice. Flop onto a soft sofa, and your body is enveloped. Lie on the floor and you are far more aware of the body parts that are coming into contact with the hard surface. Tuning into your bodily sensations, you may become aware of those parts that are holding tension. It can also contribute to our proprioception, she suggests, the sense that helps us to judge and by extension control, the location and movement of our limbs in their wider environment. 

The ideal position, Fur explains, is the standard anatomical one: “Back of head in contact with the floor, shoulders relaxed, palms face up and comfortably placed.” For better spinal alignment, she suggests starting with your knees bent, then lifting and lowering your pelvis to prevent a major arch in your lower back. Finally, have your feet hip-width apart and comfortably roll out the ankles. Spent too much time at your desk? “For a nice antidote to that position, raise your arms to a 90-degree angle from the floor, to further allow the anterior chest to expand,” says Fur.

All this can feel odd, or even uncomfortable, both Fur and Perman-Kerr acknowledge, (and not just when your husband walks in to find you in this position). “For some people, particularly those who have experienced trauma, an open position like lying on your back can be very stressful,” says Perman-Kerr. “If this is the case, I would suggest lying on your front which feels less vulnerable. 

The ideal position features the back of the head in contact with the floor, shoulders relaxed and with the palms face up and comfortably placedCREDIT: getty

Also, in this position it is only possible to breathe deeply into the base of the lungs, which in itself is calming.” Physical health problems can complicate the practice too, says Fur. If aches, pains or conditions make the position uncomfortable then make adjustments: “The key is comfort, understanding of your body, and what it is telling you, where your attention is drawn to. You can use a folded towel under your head for support, until the point when you’re comfortable with removing it, to be in contact fully with the floor. You might keep your knees bent to protect your lower back.” 

You’ll realign your spine

The Alexander Technique for improving posture and movement has long championed lying on your back, with your head raised by a few paperbacks, feet hip-width apart and knees pointing to the ceiling. Ideally, according to the Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique, you should put aside “15 to 20 minutes each day to lie down... [which is] enough time to help restore suppleness and realignment of the spine, and to reconnect the relationship between your mind and body. As well as the physical benefits, the semi-supine practice will give you that all important time to be aware of yourself, to quieten your mind and just stop.”

Even sitting on the floor is argued to have benefits. As Kelly Starrett, a physical therapist, and  Juliet Starrett, a former athlete, write in their recently published book Built to Move: The Ten Essential Habits to Help You Move Freely and Live Fully, doing so can help keep your bones, joints, and tissues in good working order.

This is partly because, whether you are lying or sitting on the floor, you will, eventually, have to get up. And this, it turns out, is definitely good for you. “There is an existing sit to stand test, used to assess muscle power in the elderly,” says Fur. Getting up from the floor, on the other hand “is good for the lower limb muscles and joint mobility but also for sequencing control and honing the use of our ankles, knees and hips in unison”. So lie down, even if it’s only to get up again and run the hoover. 

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