What is Fascial Stretch Therapy and What Can it Do For You?
What is FST?
Fascia is fibrous tissue that runs through the entire body and encases our organs, bones, muscles and nerves. Fascia covers the muscles like the casing of a sausage. With that in mind, it is easy to visualize how tightness in the fascia can cause restrictions in the movement of the muscles. Movement with relaxed fascia would feel like running in pyjama pants whereas movement with a restricted fascia would feel like running in tight jeans.
You will get better mobility gains if the fascia is taken into consideration in addition to stretching the muscles.
Fifty percent of our mobility is related to the mobility of our joint capsules. Fascia is abundant in joint capsules and if there’s tightness it these areas it can significantly impact mobility. In FST, the practitioner incorporates traction by gently pulling on the joints while stretching to open up space in the joint, free up the fascia, increase joint capsule mobility and as thus increasing overall mobility. Lastly, when stretching is performed by someone else, a greater range of motion can be achieved compared to attempting to stretch the same body part on their own.
Rather than isolating individual muscles to stretch, FST practitioners target multiple muscle groups simultaneously related to function and fascial lines.
What can FST do for you?
Repeated and goal-oriented stretching can help maintain and improve overall flexibility. It is especially important to maintain flexibility as we age.
Studies show that we lose approximately 10% of our flexibility every 10 years of our lifetime.
FST practitioners are trained in anatomy and physiology, and they can use this knowledge to make the session more purposeful. In addition, FST can help correct posture related issues, create more awareness of one’s body and can improve sleep.
How is FST unique compared to other stretching techniques?
Traction helps make the stretch more effective by including elements of the joint capsule. Secondly, fascial stretching stretches groups of muscles related to function, which helps clients develop a better mind to body connection.
How often should you have a FST stretch?
For new clients, it is recommended that the person stretch once or twice a week until the tissue adapts to and becomes more loose. After a few weeks, once the tissue becomes accustomed to fascial stretch therapy, similar results can be achieved with decreased frequency.