The Origin of The Posture Theory ©
and other essays

When I was young I knew nothing about health, other than the fact that if you got sick, you consulted a doctors and he fixed the problem.

Unfortunately, as I came to learn from experience, doctors can't fix everything, and anything left over is something you are stuck with, and have to deal with yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Consequently, I began reading the medical literature myself, and by the time I was forty I knew a lot about many 'undetectable', and 'incurable' ailments.

However, one day, I had a blood test, and soon after that a CAT scan, and then a bone marrow biopsy, and then a surgical biopsy, and was then told by a medical specialist that I had cancer (non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) that had spread so far throughout my body that there was no hope of a cure and that I had a life expectancy of two months.

I didn't think I could cure the cancer so I decided to spend whatever remaining time I had writing a book about the cause of all of my 'undetectable' ailments, so that parents and teachers could read it and use the information to prevent other children and adults from developing the 'undetectable' ailments.

I never made any profit out of the books because they cost me more to publish than I gained from sales, but I managed to sell more than five hundred of them to school and public libraries during an eight to nine year period.

Somehow or other I managed to survive the cancer with the help of several years of surgery, chemotherapy, and side effects, and then stopped writing the books. In the meantime, I saw many other patients, sportsman, movie stars or celebrities develop and die of the same, or other types of cancer.

Obviously I have the ability to assess, evaluate, and deal with health problems that extends way beyond the 'undetectables', as I am also more successful than other people at dealing with 'detectable' illnesses.

My personal diagnoses

For the record, the physician who treated me as a teenager attributed those problems to my 'constitution', but when I asked him to explain what he meant he appeared to find it too difficult, so I never knew. When I was in my early 20's and started getting abdominal pain after a gymnastics injury, my physician at that time diagnosed cardiospasm. When I asked him if the term 'cardio' referred to a problem with my heart he explained that it meant that the problem originated near my heart, not in it, and he said that an alternative label was 'esophageal achalasia' which referred to the failure of the valve between the food pipe and stomach to function properly.

When I started reading a medical dictionary to find the cause of my problems I found the word "Da Costa's syndrome" to be the only match for my long term symptoms.

When I asked a research cardiologist to give me the scientific name for that ailment so that I could study it myself he said it was 'neurocirculatory asthenia'.

When I read the research journals I saw that my symptoms matched a severe type called 'neurasthenia gravis'.

There were three categories - the cardio-vascular type, the abdominal type, and the anxiety type.

The cardiovascular type matched most of my symptoms, but the abdominal pain suggested the combination of two types.

When I looked into the diagnosis I considered esophageal achalasia and a type of hiatus hernia.

I also considered the possibility that the 'ripping sensation' that I felt in my upper abdomen in the gymnastics incident which seemed to start the pain was in the muscle or tissue just below the tip of my sternum.

I had an abdominal operation called a laparotomy to see if an injury could be seen but nothing was found. I have since learned that those are considered to actually exist but cannot be detected by visual or x-ray investigation.

I concluded that when I injured that muscle in the gym it never healed, and thereafter, each time I leaned toward the desk I was straining the damaged area which would become tender and sore after an hour or so.

The other factors which dispose to that pain are the slightly stooped, and sideways curvature of my spine, and the shallowness of my chest, which means that I put pressure and strain on that sore spot whenever I lean forward.

The aggravation of that sore spot is probably responsible for reflex spasm of the bowel, and other related abdominal pains.

Those factors explain why I have had so much trouble with pain when I sit down to read or write, and why I have to stop (to wait for the soreness or pain to go away), and start again. Hence my style is to stop, rest, start, stop, and rest, and start again.

It also explains why the problem diminished in frequency and severity when I started to type standing up into a computer screen at eye height, where I didn't have to lean forward.

See also here



Postural deformity in a young child caused by rickets which results from vitamin D deficiency.
Less obvious deformities are due to poor nutrition, and infectious illnesses which involve long periods of nausea, poor appetite, and physical inactivity which result in softening of the bones or loss of muscle tone.


The Posture Theory Controversy

When I was 25 years old I had to make a serious decision about continuing to consult my doctor who was unable to explain or relieve my health problems, or to study the medical literature to determine the cause myself. I had numerous symptoms which had persisted for many years, and were getting worse to the point of being intolerable. During the previous few years I had many x-rays and blood tests which were all negative (i.e. they didn't reveal anything), and I had been told that there was no scientific way of explaining a physical cause for such a diverse range of ailments. Of course, it was suggested that they may have been due to psychological factors because the brain is connected to the nervous system which is connected to all parts of the body.

My reasons for disagreeing with that idea was simply related to the fact that many things, unrelated to my mind, were obviously aggravating the symptoms. For example, I would get chest pains while jogging up and down on beach sand, and dizzy if I bent down to tie up my shoe laces, or abdominal pain if I leaned toward a desk, or I would feel faint if I was the passenger in a car which sped around a curve in the road, and of course, I had never been afraid of tying up my shoelaces or driving, and none of the other passengers were feeling faint.

I therefore decided that I had no other practical choice but to start reading medical and anatomy books, and try to find, or develop some methods of relieving the symptoms.

During the next five years I kept detailed notes on everything that aggravated any of the symptoms, and was eventually able to determine that they all had one thing in common. When I examined and re-examined all of the details I saw a definite tendency for the symptoms being aggravated by leaning forward. I also concluded that leaning forward was putting pressure on my heart and lungs, and on the air in my chest, and on my stomach and abdomen, so it became obvious that leaning forward was the common factor.

However, I couldn't explain why I was getting those problems and other people weren't, until much later when I realised that I had a very bad posture which was due to an abnormal curve in my upper spine. I was eventually able to conclude that people with poor posture, who lean forward repeatedly for many years would be prone to those health problems, whereas people with straight spines would not. Many more years went by and then I finally noticed that chest shape was also a major factor, where a broad and deep chest would protect the internal structure from damage, and a long, narrow chest would make the mechanical pressures on leaning much worse.

As you can appreciate the idea is perfectly matter of fact and logical in every way, and can be summed up as "The Posture Theory".

The controversy began: Unfortunately, in the very early stages of my study, I found that patients who have a large number of symptoms which are not evident on x-rays, are diagnosed as having the 'imaginary' symptoms of hypochondria, The cause of the symptoms had been attributed to a lot of different psychological factors such as the morbid preoccupation with imaginary or trivial illness, the fear of disease, laziness and the need for sympathy and attention, and anxiety, depression, or insanity.

It was obvious to me that my posture theory would never be popular with people who held those views, and that they would do everything they could to discredit me. As you can appreciate, I didn't want to be controversial, and I didn't want to offend or argue with anyone who had different ideas to mine, but it was essentially impossible to avoid.

I decided to try and avoid controversy by only discussing my ideas with very close friends and not mention them in public unless the situation was anonymous. For example, I would discuss them on talk back radio, or have articles published in newspapers. I asked a science magazine to publish my ideas without mentioning my sir name, and all of the newspaper articles and my books were published without my photo.

I was skeptical of anyone in conventional science ever accepting such a controversial idea, so In about 1982, when I was introduced to the head of the South Australian Institute for Fitness Research and Training, I was surprised to see that he was a friendly agreeable person who was always casual and frank and asked me to run a research programme based on my ideas about fatigue.

I didn't want to do the programme because I was getting quite severe abdominal pain within a short time of sitting at a desk and reading or writing, but I managed to get the study done when it involved data on 20 patients. The problem got worse on the next three monthly group which took it to 40, and the next which involved summarising the data of 80 volunteers.

I then left the programme without saying why, because mentioning health problems always sounds like an excuse, even if it is a valid reason.

I later completed a summary of the data and sent it off to The Australian Medical Journal, which replied with a standard rejection, and to the New Guinea Medical Journal where the editor sent me a reply explaining that the study was valuable but not accepted because it hadn't been written in the standard research article style.

I also contacted a freelance journalist who did a summary of the project which was published in major state newspapers in Western Australia, Brisbane, and Sydney.

About a week later the head of the institute called me in for a meeting and explained that one of his research cardiologists had moved to Sydney and saw the article in the Sydney Morning Herald, and rang to suggest not using the word 'hypochondria' in any future articles. It was a casual comment without any tone of force, but I understood that the Institute would rather not get involved in controversy.

I had scientifically proved that chronic fatigue was a real physical ailment, and that it wasn't trivial, or imaginary, and was different from normal tiredness.

I then went off to try other forms of employment but sooner or later I would have to stop for health reasons, so I went back to reading and studying to find out more about the problems and how to refine the methods of managing the symptoms.

I maintained my general anonymity to avoid prejudice, so that I didn't become a victim of it, and I knew that conventional journals and major newspapers were unlikely to publish my ideas so I sent them to natural health magazines or new or radical newspapers.

I also knew that people would be stealing my ideas and trying to pass them off as their own, which is one of the main reasons I had mine published, either in magazines or my own self-published books.

Wikipedia: Many years went by and I kept being told about Wikipedia, a new online encyclopedia that anyone could contribute to, so eventually I joined.

However I learned of a policy that recommends that you don't write about your own theories, so I started adding information to other pages. Soon after that I received an email from a woman who had seen my book and wrote to say how impressed she was with it's accuracy and usefulness, and after a few weeks I got the idea of asking her to do an article on my theory. She agreed so I provided her of a draft summary of my 1000 page book to be rewritten in her own words, if, of course, she agreed with the information.

Everything was going smoothly, and I had sent amendments for her to make, so within a short time it was almost the perfect, small, but complete article called The Posture theory. None of the other editors had anything to say about it. I was beginning to think that Wikipedia really was open to all members of the public to provide all of the ideas in the community, so I asked her to add the word 'hypochondria'to the text. That one small word made the difference between an article about "poor posture causing a large number of undetectable symptoms", and "poor posture is the real cause of the symptoms of hypochondria which were previously considered to be imaginary'.

The instant response: This is what happened - Within seven hours, seven different editorswanted it deleted for six entirely different reasons, namely - copyright violation, original research policy and single purpose account, copyright violation again, Non-notable topic, WP:Fringe and WP:OR, and "one guys theory". Those comments were made between 21:35 on 28-11-07 and 4:50 on 29-11-07 here

It was immediately obvious to me that they were seven different editors who were personally offended by the theory, and didn't want to give their real reasons for deleting it so they just hurried in with the first policy objection that they could use as their excuse.

That article was soon deleted despite me giving the editors virtually all of the evidence and proof of publication that they asked for.

As you can appreciate from my thirty years of experience that was 'not surprising', and was, more the to point - 'TYPICAL'.

The Posture Theory is an excellent idea, but when some people learn that it was written by an ordinary person, and not a doctor, and that it proves the symptoms of hypochondria are real, and not imaginary, they want to delete it and hide it from public view, and do everything they can to insult, discourage, and discredit me.

My email correspondent left Wikipedia, and soon after that I looked through some pages to find other topics to contribute to, and then i saw "Da Costa's syndrome" so I started adding to it, and included a small amount of information about my theory and research because it was relevant.

Within a short time I had two critics who made it perfectly clear to me that they were going to brand me with as many psychiatric traits or labels as possible if I didn't leave the page. They put my personal Sir name at the top of the topics discussion page and then my personal name in the first few paragraphs, and continued to describe me as a person who had stupid, non-notable, nonsense ideas, and argued that I was having 'difficulty' understanding simple concepts. After deliberately ignoring, disrupting, or deleting everything I wrote they told the other editors that I had an inability to co-operate with others in a collaborative environment, and that I needed to be banned for 'disruptive behaviour'. They also filled the topic page with psychiatric explanations for everything, and saturated it with comments, references, and links to several hundred different psychiatric labels which included anxiety, depression, mental disorders, cowardice, and of course the new jargon for hypochondria - Somatization autonomic dysfunction' with the acronym of SAD, and the general inference that the symptoms were trivial, imaginary and caused by psychological factors.


I could write more here, but if you agree that The Posture Theory is a perfectly logical, sensible, and evidence based concept, then that is good - thankyou. However, if you are filled with prejudice it won't make any difference because you will still believe, or pretend to believe whatever you want without any regard for the evidence.


I will give this comment - If you have a choice about what illnesses you get - and you won't - but if you did, remember the popular expression - break a leg - because it will show up on x-rays and be remedied in a few months, and you won't have to deal with the bullshit of controversy. M.A.Banfield 21-10-10


The start of the Da Costa's talk page where they added my Sir name in bold print can be seen here

The topic page has many psychiatric labels in the text, reference list, and reference notes, and in the two links at the top right side of the page - ICD-9 and ICD-10, and the two links at the bottom of the page "Somatoform disorders" and "Anxiety disorders", can be seen here

Typical examples of their editing style of deleting scientific evidence of physical cause, and replacing it with psychiatric labels, can be seen here

and here


The Worried Well - a misnomer

Within a few days of me posting this essay on my website one of my critics made the following suggestion for Wikipedia . . .

"Worried well seems to be a redlink. It looks like the old code was "2008 ICD-9-CM Diagnosis Code V65.5, Person with feared complaint in whom no diagnosis was made". Is there a new name for it? Is there anything much to be said about it, beyond that it exists?" WhatamIdoing 20:51, 22 October 2010. See here


This is my response: When I began studying my own health problems it was due to the necessity of having to determine the cause. It had absolutely nothing to do with "worry". My approach was patient, calm, objective, methodical, and successful.

I established that the supposedly unexplainable symptoms had a real physical cause, namely poor posture. I also established that previous theories about trivial or imaginary symptoms, which had been diagnosed as hypochondria, were wrong in many, if not all cases.


My main critic is fully aware of the new labels for hypochondria which include the term "MUPS" (Medically unexplained physical symptoms) because that individual edited the following section of that topic page in Wikipedia on 18-12-08 shortly before I was banned.

"MUPS is not synonymous with somatization disorder or psychosomatic illness where the cause or perception of symptoms is mental in origin. Instead, MUPS refers to the clinical situation where the cause of the symptoms cannot be determined, but might include psychiatric, physical and/or environmental causes.[citation needed]"

See 18:29 on 18-12-08 here

and a few minutes later here


Here is a definition of the Worried Well - people like my two critics who are well, but get easily frustrated and are on the verge of tearing their hair out. See here

If my main critic wants to stop worrying they should stop claiming to have an annoyingly high IQ while playing dumb. That editor also needs to learn the difference between "is" and "might", and "opinion" and "proof", and stop messing around with the English language as if it is a childrens toy.

The name of the condition: The Posture Syndrome
which includes The Posture Fatigue Syndrome
More commonly known as Da Costa's syndrome, neurocirculatory asthenia, the chronic fatigue syndrome, and nowadays 'orthostatic intolerance"

The number of symptoms which can be caused by poor posture is reflected in the fact that more than one hundred different medical labels have been given to the collection.

Perhaps the most appropriate is Da Costa's Syndrome. The condition derived that title because it was described by Dr. J.M.DaCosta who observed it in soldiers in 1871 during the American Civil War, and a syndrome is a collection of symptoms occurring in the same patient, where the cause of the symptoms and the reason they occur as a definable set is usually a mystery. Since Da Costa first described the syndrome it has also been observed that the problem is common in civilian life, but the person is often able to adjust their lifestyle to keep the symptoms under control, and it is not until they join the army, and start running along obstacle courses at training camps, or participate in long marches that they start having problems. Since then it has been observed that the typical patient has a thin and stooped physique, with a long narrow or flat chest, and an abnormal aerobic capacity, and the relationship between physical exertion and symptoms was referred to in 1919 by T.Lewis who called it The Effort Syndrome. Nowadays the condition is likely to be diagnosed as The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but some patients who suffer from chronic fatigue have normal physiques, and don't have other symptoms,. or problems with exertion. Therefore it seems likely that several differnt disorders involve chronic fatigue and are being confused together, and need to be distinguished. In that regard the term The Posture Syndrome could be applied to an individual who has a the particular physique, multiple aches and pains, and a form of fatigue which is related to various factors which include exertion. M.B.


Pictured above A Life-sized portrait painted by Ian Tillard features the typical face, build, and posture of a patient with Da Costa's Syndrome. It was displayed in the library of the Post-Graduate Medical School of London.
Reference: Diseases of the Heart and Circulation 2nd edition (1956) p. 941. The photograph has been outlined to enhance the painting and highlight the postural aspect (but the actual photo doesn't show on this scan) .

The reference above refers to the typical clinical features of breathlessness on effort, a sense of suffocation, difficulty with breath holding, dizziness due to vasoconstriction in the brain, palpitations of the heart, excessive fatigue in response to effort, tiredness during the day, stabbing or cramping pain in the lower left side of the chest, sometimes occurring during or after muscular exertion, or at night in a manner which prevents the patient from sleeping on the left side, and that pain is relieved by intramuscular analgesics (novocaine). The chest pain may also be due to "faulty posture".

There is also dizziness which occurs with sudden movement of the head, or by effort, or by standing up suddenly "and is due to inadequate circulatory adjustments on assuming the erect posture". 20 -30% of of patients occasionally experience temporary loss of consciousness due to the reduced blood flow to the brain.

In a second reference "Where are the Diseases of Yesteryear" published in "Circulation" the official journal of the American Heart Association in May 1976, the author C.F. Wooley M.D. wrote about the palpitations, giddiness and fatigue of Da Costa's Syndrome that T.Lewis commented "it is because these symptoms and signs are largely, in some cases wholly, the exaggerated physiological responses to exercise . . . that I term the whole the 'effort syndrome'." and when he describes the physique of the typical patient he writes "in some the chest is long and narrow, or flattened and associated with a kyphotic curve" (a hunchback stoop). and most have sedentary occupations.

Another label used in this reference is "Neurocirculatory Asthenia", and other articles use "Vasoregulatory Asthenia" which reflects the concept that there is an impairment of blood flow throughout the body, presumably because of the effects of long term postural disruption of blood flow through the chest which damages the blood vessels or the mechanisms which regulate blood flow. Inefficient blood flow to the heart would effect the response to vigorous exertion, and inefficient blood flow to the brain would influence tiredness and fatigue. That would explain why sprinting for only twenty yards could cause pounding of the heart for fifteen minutes and fatigue for a week. M.B.




How would you solve this problem?

It is possible that some people might conclude that The Posture Theory is a simple solution to a straightforward problem, and that it shouldn't have taken 25 years to solve.

However, how would you solve this problem???

You have more symptoms than you would bother to count. More than one hundred. They have been getting progressively worse and more numerous for several years and are becoming intolerable, and none of them are responding to treatment, and none are evident on x-rays or blood tests, and you are told that there is no known cause and no known cure.

You learn that the majority of people who have those symptoms are so worried about them that they are diagnosed with anxiety state, and similar numbers are diagnosed with depression, and some go mad or commit suicide, and a small number actually die for no known reason.

Everything about the symptoms is confusing and contradictory.

For example:

The Chest Pain: You will be sitting in a lounge chair reading the comic section of a newspaper and suddenly feel a sharp pain stabbing into the left side of your chest. You will occasionally get milder aches between your ribs in the same part of your chest, and sometimes, but less often, over a period of several months or years, you will also notice similar aches in the same area, but on the other side of your chest. You will get a dull chest pain in the middle of your left ribs each time your foot hits the sand as you jog along the beach on a sunny day. You will get a severe cramping pain in both sides of your chest as you lean forward to tie up your shoe laces.

The Heart Palpitations: Your heart will begin to race as you lay on your back to go to sleep at night, and will be relieved if you sit up. Your heart rate will increase each time you lift your foot off the ground and will slow each time you put your foot back on the ground as you walk along the street. If you suddenly and rapidly sprint for 20 yards your heart will pound violently for fifteen minutes. Your heart rate may be higher than normal, and will stay high for longer than usual after exercise.

The Fatigue: You will feel tired when you wake up in the morning, and again in the afternoon and evening, and then have difficulty getting to sleep at night. You may feel exhausted but can't rest, and sometimes rest will relieve the problems and other times not. Sometimes ten minutes of rest will give as much relief as a full nights sleep. Sometimes the wakefulness is more of a problem than the tiredness. If you don't get much sleep for a week or a month the fatigue will accumulate and become progressively more difficult to relieve, and take weeks or months to relieve. You may be able to walk comfortably at a casual pace for 10 kilometers but if you suddenly and rapidly sprint for only 20 yards your heart may pound violently for fifteen minutes and you may be reduced in physical capacity for a week. You may become exhausted after ten minutes of strenouou physical effort when your friends can do the same task for an hour and not be exhausted by it.

Faintness and Dizziness: A sense of faintness can occur when leaning forward in a chair, and especially when squatting and leaning forward at the same time. Faintness can also occur with exertion, or with standing in a moving elevator, or when on a swirling showground ride, and is excessive and out of proportion to the level of faintness previously experienced in similar circumstances. Dizziness can occur when bending the neck to look up towards items on high shelves.

Rapid Exertion Symptoms: Sudden rapid exertion can cause abnormally violent pounding of the heart, faintness, dizziness, vertigo (as if the room is swirling), breathlessness, gasping, and fatigue all occuring at the same time.

The Breathlessness: You may have to struggle for breath every 10 minutes as you sit in a lounge chair, and every twenty yards if you jog along a footpath, and the next day every fifty yards, and the next day every ten yards in an apparently random manner for no obvious reason. The breathlessness will be more of a problem on cold days than on hot days. If you wear a tight shirt, or a tight belt around your chest you will feel as if you are about to faint or suffocate until you loosen it, so you develop the practice of wearing loose clothing. You may feel a sense of breathlessness come on each time you lean toward a desk to write, or each time you lean down to get items from low shelves or cupboards. You will feel abnormally breathless if you cover your mouth and nose with a dust mask.

The Stomach pain: You may feel stomach pain if you lean toward a desk to write, but not every time. You may lean forward repeatedly for half an hour without experiencing pain but then the pain will come on afterwards and persist for several days. Sometimes the pain will occur if you lean forward, and if you sit up straight to stop it, so you have to sit in a half slouch. You will sometimes, but not always feel stomach pain if you bend forward to tie up your shoe laces, so you develop the preference for wearing slip on moccasin styled shoes. The stomach pain may also occur if you are bending to clean low windows or digging in the garden. If you wear a tight belt during the day the pain may come on and wake you in the middle of the night. The pain will be worse if you eat certain foods such as onion, oranges, or beans, and take medications such as aspirin.

The kidney aches: Your left kidney may begin to aches after sitting at a desk and counting coins into piles of 10 for half an hour, and after an hour the other kidney may start to ache, and then both kidneys may continue to ache for days afterwards. The ache may occur when walking on days when a cold breeze is blowing on your back,, and can be prevented by wearing a warm insulated vest.

The Common Cold: You may get colds five times a year. Inhaling cold air or sleeping in cold air or exposure to cold breezes will cause soreness in the back of your throat which is followed a week later by the common cold which persists for two or three weeks. You may find that the colds can be prevented by wearing a warm cap with ear flaps and sleeping in a room with sealed windows and doors, and the air is warm and still.

Ear aches: When a cold or chilly breeze blows about the neck the coldness causes aching in a small area below both ears, and if the exposure continues the ache extends to the ears and may persist for weeks.

Jaw Aches: Your jaw and gums will ache for unknown reasons.

Multiple Symptoms: You may get more than one symptom in any one hour or day or week etc. For example if you sit up straight to relieve abdominal pain you might get aching back muscles, and if you balance on one leg to relieve a knee injury on the other you may find the good knee begins to ache. When you have multiple ailments the interaction becomes geometrically more complicated.


THE CAUSE: The skeleton of an adult with severe postural deformity (above)

If you want to find the cause of a problem which is obscure and mysterious, look for extreme examples of it and the answer may be obvious. e.g. why might the man with the skeleton above have had chest, stomach, and kidney pains, and breathing difficulties, and why might he have had frequent sore hips, knees, and ankles, and why would such a man have back pain, and why would he have had multiple aches and pains if there was no evidence of injury or disease on x-rays or blood tests. Would those features have started suddenly, or subtly in a manner that was so gradual as to go unnoticed, and be changeable and confusing, and could they be extrapolated and interpolated.

An Example: The famous seventeenth century hunchback poet Alexander Pope was trampled by a wild cow and developed a spinal deformity from the age of three. A stooped spine compresses the lungs and impairs breathing, and also compresses the stomach and impedes digestion which in turn stunts a childs growth. As an adult Alexander Pope was only four foot six tall and had a thin physique. He once wrote about his "headaches, indigestion, and a thousand other aches and pains". He described his life as a continuous series of illnesses and he died of a combination of respiratory and kidney disease. Nobody knew the cause.

The original posture theory was a three page essay called The Matter of Framework because it presented a framework of ideas to link a framework of symptoms to the framework of the human body.


What do you think caused Alexander Pope's health problems?

The scientific method requires absolute consistency and predictability and reproducibility of results, however The Posture Theory was derived, like the theory of evolution, by observing patterns of consistency within large volumes of inconsistencies and contradictions. M.B.

On a personal note:

The first indication that I had that posture had anything to do with my own health problems was when I was working as a public service clerk.

I was transferred to the cash controllers office where part of my duties was to sit at a desk and count the daily take of coins into piles of twenty of their particular denomination.

I noticed that after a couple of hours of starting work at 9 a.m. that I would get a vague ache in my back at the level of my left kidney, and if I continued with that work for another hour I would also start getting the ache in the region of the right kidney.

A few months later I had some tests and was found to have a stone in my left kidney.

About a year later, when I was engaged in my usual pastime of gymnastics, I performed a handspring heels over head leap and when my feet landed on the floor with my back arched I felt a ripping sensation in my upper abdomen. I waited a few moments to see if blood would come pouring out of my belly, but nothing happened so I resumed my activities as an instructor without any further problems.

However in the next month or so, I started to notice that I would get a nagging ache in my belly about an hour after commencing my days as a clerk. I also noted that these aches were associated with leaning toward the desk to read or write, and that the longer I did that work for the worse the pain got. Hence the pain was worse on the busiest days of the week.

Within a year or two the abdominal pain was becoming more of a problem and I was beginning to feel faint, or dizzy or breathless as well, each time I leaned toward a desk.

I was also getting fatigue, and one night in the gym I performed an exercise called a round off back somersault and when I landed on my feet I felt dizzy and it appeared as if a thousand stars were shooting in all directions before my eyes.

The problems were therefore beginning to have a serious effect on my occupation and my lifestyle.

Unfortunately the problems were a mystery to my doctor, and the medication that he was prescribing was not helping, as my health continued to deteriorate regardless.

At about that time I read that an organisation called The South Australian Institute For Fitness Research and Training was conducting fitness training programmes under medical supervision for various ailments. I therefore thought that I could attend such a course as treatment and that research doctors might be able to enlighten me about the nature of my ailments.

At the initial medical assessment I was required to ride an ergometric cycle while attached to electrodes which recorded pulse rate over wheel pressure and could measure aerobic capacity with scientific reliability. The result was a fitness level of zero, compared to a friend of mine who measured 900, and an Olympic athletes measurement of 1200. Another person I met was a forty year old overweight asthmatic with a measurement of 600.

At the same session my body fat was measured with calipers, and I was told that I was all skin and muscle, with virtually no body fat, and that I had the muscle, fat ratio of an athlete, probably due to ten years of sport and gymnastics.

I trained at the fitness programme for three months and achieved a level of 350 kpms, and increased the programme to four times a week and three months later was still at 350 kpm's so I concluded that I had some sort of physical impairment which was limiting my fitness capacity regardless of the amount of exercise I did. I trained more often again for another 3 months and then injured my knee cartilage while playing social volleyball with the other programme participants. My leg remained injured due to diagnosis and post operative problems for 3 years.

During all of that time I was inquiring about my health and studying it and managed to conclude that most of my ailments were aggravated by leaning forward, including the fatigue, and in 1980 wrote a three page essay called The Matter Of Framework, which I have since called The Posture Theory.

One day, while walking along the street I met a friend of mine Clive Thelning, who was blind, and who I had befriended some years earlier when I was studying group psychology at The South Australian Institute of Technology, and I asked him what he was doing. He had completed the Certificate Course, and went on to do a Psychology degree, and was working as a psychologist. I told him about my essay and he said that he knew the head of The Fitness Institute where I trained, so he suggested that I approach the head of the Institute, Tony Sedgwick, with the view to arranging some research on the subject.

At a subsequent meeting with Tony Sedgwick I outlined a potential useful training and research programme for reliably and scientifically assessing the aerobic capacity for people with persistent fatigue, and asked him to discuss it with his research staff to see if they were interested.

At a subsequent meeting he advised me that his staff were fully committed to other projects and invited me to run the programme.

I told him that my health problems would impede my capacity to do such a project properly, and added that I thought I was not able to do scientific studies unless I was a doctor, and that I didn't know how it would be funded. He then advised me that he had some medically qualified contacts and that I could approach them with the view to forming a committee to satisfy all the requirements of administering such a course, and he gave me the name of a politician who I could approach for funding.

A committee was formed and a very small government grant was obtained so the programme was established.

I then approached a journalist named Diane Beer who wrote several articles for the Adelaide "News" inviting people with persistent fatigue to attend the course.

After three years 80 people had been assessed as having aerobic capacities of 100 to 1200 kpms with variable responses to training from those who did not participate, to those who trained but did not gain much in fitness, to one who trained for nine months and participated in a small marathon.

My own health problems and conflicting data stopped me from continuing the programme, but about 5 years later I drew the conclusion that those fatigued people who had low aerobic capacity possibly had a fitness disorder, and those with a high capacity must have had a sleep disorder.

Another five years went by when I was diagnosed with cancer and given two months to live with no hope of a cure.

I did not think that I would be able to study and cure cancer in two months, so I decided to occupy my remaining time by writing about posture and health, and if sitting at a desk aggravated my health problems it wouldn't matter because I would soon be dead anyway.

The task did aggravate my health problems and caused some damage as I wrote a sentence or paragraph at a time. After about 6 years I discovered that standing and typing on a computer screen positioned at eye height caused much less problems than sitting and leaning forward to write at a desk.

The book continued to increase in size at about 150 pages per year and 8 years later in the year 2000 when my cancer was cured by a stem cell transplant, I completed it as the 1000 page 11th edition.

Over the years several editors have commented critically on my writing style as being an unusual collection of sentences, paragraphs, and illustrations, but I have noticed the advantage of spending a lot of time thinking, and a small amount of time writing. M.B.

Why I wrote this theory

(may be a bit of repetition here)

I had been experiencing many health problems for about 10 years, and from time to time had occasional blood tests and x-rays, but despite the worsening nature of my symptoms, there was never any evidence of disease, and I was reassured that there was no disease present in my body which could explain the symptoms. I was prescribed numerous medications and treatments, but most of them had no effect, or only temporary benefit.

The symptoms occurred almost exclusively at my work as a clerk, and most noticeably when I leaned toward a desk to read or write, or count coins, or do mathematical calculations, and they were relieved each time I leaned back in my chair. However, again, I was reassured that there was no reason for that either, and later, as the symptoms became more numerous and frequent they began interfering with my sport of gymnastics, and my social life.

Because the activities of reading and writing caused the symptoms I had avoided the task of reading medical books to solve the problem myself, but it was becoming more and more obvious to me that if I didn't do something the symptoms would continue to get predictably worse, and they were already becoming intolerable.

Some months later I was getting dizzy, faint, breathless, exhausted, and sore in the belly from leaning forward to write for only one hour in the morning. so I finally made the decision to do something about solving the mystery any way I could.

Ultimately I implemented a three part plan of evaluation and recovery.

Firstly I obtained 6 pieces of paper about 6 inches square each, and put the title of each of the main symptoms on top. I wanted to know why the symptoms occurred one day and not the next, or were worse one week and not another etc. so I listed foods eaten, activities undertaken, and environmental conditions etc. If I observed something twice I ticked that entry, and kept entering items until some were followed by many ticks and until I found the main aggravating factors, and the main relieving factors, and the common factors. My objective was to then avoid the aggravating activities, and take up those activates which relieved the problems.

Secondly I joined a fitness programme under medical supervision at a research institute where I learned that my aerobic capacity was zero, and later that there was a limit to the improvement that I could achieve, which indicated a chronic physical impairment.

Thirdly I began reading a medical dictionary at the rate of one word a day, until 2 months later I reached the "D's", and discovered that I had DaCosta's Syndrome. A specialist later told me that the medical terminology for my condition was Neurocirculatory Asthenia, and I began reading research journals, and to understand those I began learning the medical language at the rate of one prefix, or one suffix a day. I was also looking for diagrams of anatomy to find out what parts of my body could be affected by leaning forward, and how that could be causing symptoms.

I wrote the first account of The Posture Theory as a three page essay five years later, in 1980. The Posture Theory Diagram was included to give an instant impression of the theory.

Since then I have discovered that most people don't get such problems because they have normal straight spines and keep it straight by leaning from the hips so that there is no change in chest shape and no extra pressure on internal anatomy, but I had a stooped spine and bent forward at the midriff, so my ribs compressed together and my chest tended to buckle backwards and crush my heart, lungs, and stomach every time I leaned forward.

Also, about 10 years later, between 1991 and 2000, I published a book containing more than 1000 pages of evidence in support of that theory. I prepared the last few editions of that book while standing up and and keeping my back straight by typing on a computer with the keyboard positioned at waist height and the screen positioned on a slight angle at eye height so that I didn't need to lean forward to type or see. M.B.

The Fitness Research Project
South Australian Institute For Fitness Research And Training (1992 - 1994)
Study co-ordinator: M.A.Banfield
The objectives: To determine the physical fitness levels of patients with persistent fatigue, and whether or not it was possible to design a fitness programme which was acceptable to such patients, and then to determine the effect of such training on fitness levels. The objective was also to compare the fitness level of patients with persistent fatigue with that of healthy individuals.

The factor which motivated me to run this project was the research literature which indicated that most, if not all previous programmes were unsuccessful in retaining participants for long enough to get meaningful results. The general view was that "such patients could not or would not train".

I had participated in such a course for nine months five years earlier, and was therefore confident that I could design a programme which would be acceptable to other people with similar problems.

During that time part of the training involved walking or jogging around a 400 metre track. In general terms I would be jogging 50 yards behind the tailenders as the front runners were overtaking me. The other participants were simply trying to improve their fitness, or were exercising as a treatment for obesity, asthma, arthritis, or heart disease. On one occasion, as two fifty year old men were out lapping me, one turned to the other and said "that is typical of the youth of today: they are unfit because they are too lazy to exercise". Those men did not know that I had been a gymnastics instructor for five years, and they both seemed to me to be training to treat smoking induced lung or heart problems.

I had to take those things into consideration because many people would drop out of a course due to the humiliation of coming last, and the ridicule associated with it.

I also considered that most training courses had instructors enthusiastically encouraging participants to constantly improve their training levels from week to week, and that such an approach would prompt fatigued patients to exceed their limits and start experiencing the types of distressing symptoms which would make them drop out of the course immediately.

Therefore I established the following protocols for the course.

Firstly, people with persistent fatigue would need to train in an entirely separate group.

The participants were to be informed that there objective was to train at the own pace of walking or jogging, and that they were to improve their pace according to the way they felt, and not because they were required to, and that the programme was not a contest or a race, but an exercise of staying in training for as long as possible, or for as long as their health continued to improve.

The participants were advised that the cause of the fatigue was not known, and that those who were running faster were to recognise the possible difficulties of those going slow and not be critical or judgmental about it, and the slower walkers or joggers were advised to ignore any negative comments from other members of the group, or outsiders, and to continue training at their own pace regardless.

For more details see here