Posture is a public-health issue, costing the health care industry over $100 billion every year, according to orthopedic surgeon Stephen Liu, MD, who developed the Forme Power Bra after seeing his mother suffer from poor posture and compressed lungs due to chemotherapy. “Poor posture impacts one’s physical, physiological, and cognitive health,” explains Liu, a South Pasadena native. “In our accelerated digital economy, people of all ages are working and slouching over 8–10 hours [a day] on devices—causing pain in the neck and back and breathing problems.”
Good posture is defined as a “neutral spine, with the weight of your upper body evenly distributed and supported by the trunk,” says Gene Tekmyster, DO, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Keck Medicine of USC. According to Tekmyster, being conscious of slouching and adjusting your position is the best way to improve posture. “The more we think about maintaining the right alignment, the more this will become second nature and occur on its own without thinking about it,” he says.
New posture-correcting bras use patented mesh panels and bands to gently remind the wearer to straighten up, just as Tekmyster suggests.
“Traditional bras are designed for aesthetics and their thin straps can contribute to costoclavicular syndrome, also known as bra-strap syndrome—where the straps pinch and dig into shoulders, contributing to pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back,” says Vivian Lee, a video game and tech industry veteran who founded Kinflyte to address her own pain. Unlike some medical devices, posture-correcting bras can be worn all day and feel like your mother gently pulling back on your shoulders.
With an elegant and comfortable design, Forme’s Power Bra’s and Rise Bra’s patented mesh back panels draw the shoulders back and down to proper alignment. “Forme reconnects muscle memory of your back and trains your muscles to correct your muscles,” explains Liu, who lists posture correction, taller stance, improved breathing, faster recovery, enhanced sleeping, as well as reduced neck and back pain as benefits. The company manufactures in Orange County and East Los Angeles, has published in nine medical journals, and announced in March that Hyun Bae, MD, co-medical director of spine education at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center, has joined the board.
Based in Santa Ana, AlignMed started with posture shirts for men and women and recently launched a Posture Sports Bra that closes in front with four hooks and a zipper. “You will start to feel a difference as soon as you put the product on,” says Bob Schultz, vice president of operations and sales at AlignMed. “Over prolonged use, the bra will retrain your muscles unconsciously to stand or sit in proper posture.”
Los Angeles-based Kinflyte boasts 12 different bra styles, numerous color options, and soft fabrics such as modal and eco jersey. Strategic darts on the bustline help with shaping and support. “Targeted compression panels provide a support structure for the upper back and shoulders,” Lee explains. “The shoulder straps span the width of the shoulder blades to minimize pressure on the shoulders and to cue the wearer into a neutral position, optimal for good posture.”