It's not enough to just build muscle and achieve aerobic fitness, you need to think about flexibility, too. You may think that stretching is only for athletes or high performance training but, in actuality, we all need to stretch in order to protect our bodies. Most people don’t know what stretch therapy is since its a relatively new and modern concept. This blog will explain what stretch therapy is and why it’s so important for your overall health and well-being.

What is Stretch Therapy?

Stretch therapy may be unfamiliar to most, but for years, it’s been growing in popularity. Stretch Therapy is a table-based comprehensive system that includes assisted stretching, fascial remodelling, strengthening, neural re-patterning, and relaxation. There are two types of stretch therapy techniques. The first is stretch therapy (ST) and the other is Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST). For both, you will work one-on-one with a highly qualified therapist that will take you through a wide array of stretches to benefit your needs. From an average desk worker to a high performance athlete, stretch therapy can decrease pain, discomfort and soreness. Stretch therapy is a safe, yet extremely effective way to increase your overall flexibility and range of motion. 

What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) is a complete, full body functional mobility restoration system created by Ann and Chris Frederick, PT. The client will be lying on a thickly padded table and supported by portable stabilization straps. The Fascial Stretch Therapist will start with an assessment, then take you through a set of assisted stretches. The therapist is trained to detect when the fascia and joint capsules are restricted.  Fascia is a network of layered connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, nerves, bones, organs and joints. The connective tissue structure that surrounds joints is called joint capsules. As part of the FST session, you will gain more knowledge about your body and how it moves. FST can help you perform better, prevent injury and reduce pain. 

The Issue

We all know that stretching is a very important part of an exercise regimen, but why is it so neglected? We found that many people felt that stretching on their own was boring or that they didn’t have time for it. Without stretching, your muscles can shorten and become tight. This can ultimately lead to a decrease in flexibility, mobility and range of motion. Lack of stretching can also decrease your athletic performance. The consequences of not stretching won’t be visible for awhile, which is why it’s easy to rank it with low priority. Daily stretching prolongs your years of engaging in physical activity and prevents injuries that could cause permanent damage. Stretching once won't magically give you perfect flexibility. You'll need to do it over time and remain committed to the process. 

Every muscle is connected, which means not stretching even one area that you worked can lead to tightness all over your body. This is why it is so important to stretch completely after every type of workout whether it be running or any sport. 

What are the benefits of Stretching?

Stretching keeps the muscles strong, flexible and healthy. We need to preserve that flexibility to move with ease and maintain our range of motion in our joints. Without it, the muscles become tight and shorten. When it’s time to call on your muscles for physical activity, they are weak and unable to perform the way you want them to. That puts you at risk for injuries, such as joint pain, strains and muscle damage. 

In fact, regular, controlled stretching improves and maintains flexibility and mobility, corrects bad posture, reduces the risk of injury, relieves pain, and even helps counteract the effects of ageing. Stretching affects more than the 602 muscles of the body. When you stretch muscles, you also mobilize joints, elongate skin, and affect connective tissue, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. 

Stretching affects not only our muscle system, but also our neurological system, which includes the operation of the brain. When you stretch, you lengthen some areas while relaxing others. In turn, the brain regulates automatic functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It secretes hormones, which act as chemical messengers to help insulin control, metabolism, mood, and emotion.

Along with the physical benefits, emotional and mental benefits are also seen with stretching. Stretching is the original mind-body activity. It slows you down so that your heart and mind can come together to achieve an inner calmness.