To pick up from where we left off in the last blog, I was talking about stretching--And why we should do it. In the next couple of posts, I am going to go over a few different types of stretches and rather than discuss pros and cons, will discuss the why and when for the different types so as to make stretching even more beneficial to the specific person and their specific needs, both during massage and during other times.
As I said in the last blog, stretching is lengthening a muscle beyond its “normal” resting length, which will vary from person to person. The benefits of this include helping to increase muscle control, strengthening the muscle, maintaining the function of the muscle and joint, and increasing blood flow to the affected area. And, depending on when it is done, stretching can help “warm up” the muscles to provide better function and help prevent injury during strenuous activities, and also help with the “cool down” of muscles after strenuous activities, to help prevent cramping and injury. It is also beneficial throughout the day during periods of decreased activity, such as sitting at a desk, or driving long distance, and before bed to help relax the body for a better rest and upon waking to help the body get ready for the day.
There are many types and variances of stretching, such as ballistic, dynamic, static, isometric, active, and passive. And get even more technical as we as massage therapists work with our clients doing techniques like proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation or PNF.
Stay tuned for videos showing (and explaining) different types of stretching. Thanks for reading, and feel free to share this post.
Lance Thompson, LMT