Tonic postural system

The Tonic Postural System

Postural control is not a static system but a dynamic system. The system is called ‘The Tonic Postural System’.

Posture must be seen as the result of a large number of sense-motors integrated reflections, at different levels of the central nervous system, with an automatic and extremely precise adjustment.

The tonic postural system is composed by:

• An afferent system sending information to central and coming from:
o Visual input (retina): transmits information relating to the move¬ment of the visual field and detect the orientation of the head according to the perceived vision.
o Skin (receptors under the feet detect the bending of the foot related to the support surface).
o Vestibular system (vestibular receptors are otoliths; the semi-circular canals are not involved).
o Golgi tendons organs and muscle spindles.
• A central computer or the central nervous system (CNS):
o Brain.
o Cerebellum.
o Brainstem.
o The incoming information is processed and recorded under the shape of a body-image.
• An efferent system:
o Commanded by the CNS.
o Muscle contractions that cause displacements of skeletal parts and a consequent stabilization of the posture. Postural fluctuations cause light muscle strains and subsequent activation and response of the muscle spindles.


The postural movements are constantly influenced and improved by learning and by exercise.

To learn new skills, it is important to have a perfect functioning proprioception.

To be able to learn new skills properly, it is essential to have sufficient mobility in all body parts. When this is not the case, injuries will be difficult to avoid.

Here the osteopath can play an important preventive role.

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Tonic postural system

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