New for your Therapy Toolbox: The Shirt off Their Back

Today's guest post is brought to us by Tom Ockler, PT, owner of Alternative Healthcare Solutions based in Willoughby, Ohio. Tom has over 33 years of uninterrupted clinical experience, and today shares with us one of his "clinical pearls" for your therapy toolbox. Now on to Tom.

It has been rumored that I am, well ... thrifty... a spendthrift ... frugal ... Oh all right, downright cheap.

So when I try to help someone with their slumping shoulder and head posture (by first doing muscle energy on their pecs, traps and levator scaps) then trying to strengthen the rhomboids, serratus, and lower traps, I always hear, "Why can't you just give me a brace to hold my shoulders back?"

Philosophically, I am opposed to just bracing before trying to work on strengthening postural muscles but a little help is sometimes good to decrease the stress on the vulnerable tissues. But, I am cheap above all and I know that the patients are not made of money either. So, I teach them to use the shirt off their back, as demonstrated below:


  • Does not cost a dime
  • Fits easily under a loose shirt
  • The cloth of the tee shirt or sweatshirt makes very soft support on the front of the axilla, a place where the pressure is not a good thing
  • Simply washing it tightens it right back up for the next day

As I said, try giving them the shirt off their back.
- Thomas K. Ockler PT

About Tom Ockler

Tom Ockler, P.T. is a highly sought after international presenter who gives seminars demonstrating his techniques to eliminate musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Tom has extensive teaching experience throughout the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. His unique style injects humor into complicated subjects. To contact Tom visit his website

This article was originally posted here and is reproduced here with permission from Tom Ockler.

This article was written by Guest

Leave a reply

Please note: Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *