Assisted stretch helps keep your body working by improving muscle function while decreasing nerve sensitivity.
Stretching and massage are two effective techniques that play a beneficial role in both strength training and flexibility training. Massaging a muscle, or group of muscles, immediately prior to performing stretching or strength exercises for those muscles, will increase blood flow and improve circulation, relax the muscles. After overexertion and or intense muscular activity, massage can help remove the accumulated lactic acid and relieve post-exercise soreness and painful muscle cramps.
The stretch can be applied passively by the therapist or actively by the client. The therapist uses their hand (or other body part such as an elbow or forearm) to manually place a “pin” into the belly of the muscle and then moves one of the muscle’s attachments away from that pinned point. The pin acts to stop the stretch force from spreading to the rest of the muscle beyond the pin point. Therefore, with the pin and stretch technique, the force of the stretch will be concentrated to the region of the muscle that is between the pinned point and the attachment that is moved. Moving the muscle through the full range of motion while in a shortened state increases stretch of the muscle and restores proper muscle length. After the massage, nerve conduction will improve as well as blood and lymph flow throughout the body to speed up the rate of healing and improve performance.
Based on the concept “where your mind goes, the body will follow,” the Streto Method begins each total body stretch session at the head. Since muscle function is controlled through the nervous system and since much of our stress and tension is a result of our thoughts, it only makes sense to start with the control center of the body – the head and mind. Starting with the head and neck, as these primary nerves and muscles relax and thoughts are calmed, the rest of the body is more likely to respond to the therapy. Relax the mind and the body will follow.
The benefits of stretching can be felt throughout the body. It helps stimulate the digestive organs, reduces inflammation in joints, relieves tension, improves concentration, improves posture, and energizes the body. During active stretching you control the muscle stretch yourself, as in yoga and posing. In passive stretching, such as in massage, the therapist moves your muscle.
Massage improves the benefits of stretching by:
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