Everyday, I work with clients and during our sessions, I do a lot of bodywork, moving and stretching. I let new clients I work with know this during the initial assessment interview, and occasionally there is someone who says, for one reason or another don’t stretch me! This is typical because they not understand the benefits of stretching or the way the stretches can be performed during a massage, and typically start to assume it will disrupt any relaxation, or even be counterproductive, and in some cases, when already dealing with pain or injury, clients worry about the pain or injury being increased due to movement. So, let’s look at some of these things and see if I can answer some questions and get all of us feeling better and moving better by moving around.

What is stretching? Simply put, it is taking something to its fullest possible length. With muscle, this is taking the muscle beyond its “normal” resting and moving position. And going “beyond its normal” is different for all of us, especially when we deal with pain, injury, and each individual persons’ daily activities, which with these considerations, may limit the muscles’ full potential.  As muscle therapists, we work with each client so as to improve the function and flexibility of the particular muscle and joint. 

Why should you stretch? And why should your therapist stretch you during a massage? Stretching helps to make you more aware of your body. Helps you to understand what your movements are, what they are not, and what they should be. Stretching during a massage helps to loosen tight muscles, reduce pain, increase the range of motion, and retrain the muscle to work to its fullest potential. Your therapist should be incorporating stretch and movement techniques into the massage session. 

Over the next couple of updates, I will cover more topics on what is stretching, the different types of stretches, how to stretch properly, and when is a good time to stretch, and when are the different types of stretches more effective.

Lance Thompson, LMT

You've Got to Move It, Move It!

    As humans, we don’t spend our lives just sitting still. We are constantly moving, on the go, running errands. Regardless of our daily activities, whether its running, or driving, or sitting at a desk, or standing, or chasing kids around the house, or working, we are in a constant state of motion throughout our waking day.
    But even though we are in a constant state of motion, we tend to limit our movements to the repetitive actions we do on a daily basis. And within those actions, we typically do not use our full range of motion. When we do not use our full capacity of movement, we teach ourselves to become limited in our movements, teach ourselves bad postural habits, and in doing this we teach our muscles not to work properly, which may cause pain, tightening of some muscles, weakening of other muscles. 
    So when it comes to muscle function we must not only understand what and where it hurts, but also why. If we know what the sore or injured muscle is supposed to be doing, and what it is not doing, we can not only address the other contributing muscles, but help the client in understanding why it acting this way and teach them what they can do to help correct the problem through their own daily activities. 
    It is extremely important that we take at least a few minutes of each day to put down our phones, turn off the TV and internet, and move around. If we keep our muscles busy, correctly, not only will they function better, but will do so for a longer period of time with much less pain.

Lance Thompson, LMT

Hi! Virginia here!  This is a nice compliment to Lance's blog.  As opposed to static stretching, dynamic stretching takes the body into better range of motion and full body warm up.  I hope you will enjoy this video and try some of these moves for yourself.  Take them slow and don't overdo, just do.  -VA