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Stretching and Mobility

Resistance stretching combines flexibility, strength training and core development. This technique dynamically lengthens and strengthens muscles simultaneously. With eccentric contraction as its foundation, resistance stretching produces immediate and cumulative results that leave muscles energized. Probably what distinguishes resistance stretching from other flexibility modalities are its ability to remove muscle tension and its contribution to muscle elasticity. These two elements, along with traditional benefits of stretching, make it particularly attractive to athletes requiring power and agility.

The fundamental principle of resistance stretching is to strengthen the weak, sub-activated tissue, and open and expand the strong, dense tissue.  By following this principle, Practitioners and clients are able to restore balance to the musculoskeletal system, changing the way they move and reducing wear and tear on the body.  This is achieved primarily by using the eccentric muscle contraction – contracting a muscle while it lengthens – which is inverse to the more commonly understood concentric contraction (e.g. biceps curl).  While concentric contractions help to build strength in muscles, they can also contribute to the development of excess muscle tension.  In addition to the concentric contraction, some other causes of tension imbalance include physical injuries, lengthy sedentary positions, and emotional trauma.  While excess muscle tension can reduce flexibility, create “knots”, and decrease range of motion, thus reducing functionality, reduced tension and weakness from lack of use or traumatic injury can also cause joint alignment issues that lead to chronic pain and reduced function.

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Fascial Therapy

Fascial Therapy is a unique, complete and complementary system of table-based assisted stretching, focusing on the fascia and joint capsule as the key elements in achieving optimal flexibility, strength, performance and pain relief.

Fascia is a network of layered connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones and joints. A joint capsule is also a connective tissue structure that surrounds joints and is involved in optimizing the mechanical function of the joint as well as gives it nutrients. When the fascia and joint capsules are restricted it can cause:

  • Decreased joint space which can lead to degenerative joint diseases and osteoarthritis
  • Increased muscle tone which can lead to trigger points, strains, tendonitis and tears
  • Increased nervous tissue tone which can lead to headaches, trigger points and muscle tightness
  • Increased scar tissue formation
  • Decreased blood flow and energy levels, and much more

Stretching Benefits:

  • Improved posture
  • Anti-aging
  • Reduced risk of injuries
  • Releases endorphins which are natural pain suppressants
  • Improved strength
  • Decreased stress
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Decreased muscle soreness
  • Improved sex, and much more 

What is the difference between Assisted Stretching and Yoga?

First off, it’s important to recognize that most yoga practices have a main objective of bringing together the body and the mind, reaching an enlightened state of mind. The asana, or physical practice of yoga, is only 1 of 8 limbs used to reach enlightenment.

The main purpose of yoga is not to increase flexibility; however that is often a positive side effect. Assisted Stretching is different in that it is intentionally structured to target the fascia (a highly nervous connective tissue) and increase flexibility. While some yoga poses may coincidentally happen to be along a fascial line, every move performed by an Assisted Stretching practitioner is targeted specifically at fascial lines to vastly increase flexibility and decrease pain.

Key Differences Between Assisted Stretching and Yoga

Assisted Stretching is performed by the therapist rather than by the self, which adds a unique aspect. Traction, oscillation, and circumduction are performed by the therapist to release flexibility that is trapped inside the joint capsule. This is not possible in yoga due to the joint-cramping effects of gravity. Because of these effects, Assisted Stretching provides an increase in synovial fluid (think joint lubrication) that yoga cannot provide.

Additionally, the nervous system can often become extremely calm and enter a parasympathetic state in an Assisted Stretching session, which is not possible in a yoga class; yoga can be very challenging on proprioception, balance, and body/stretch awareness. Breathing is coached during an Assisted Stretching session to maximize the flexibility gains and enter this truly parasympathetic state. Assisted Stretching focuses on elongating, re-aligning and balancing the connective tissues of the body.

When a client or patient tries to stretch themselves, there is automatically a tension that builds up because of the nature of a self-stretch. The client will never be able to fully relax enough to target the fascia, the area that needs the most the love. Assisted Stretching provides rapid, pain-free results that typically occur within one session. Its many benefits include increased flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, body awareness and posture.

Assisted Stretching is highly individualized and performed by a certified therapist with extensive anatomical knowledge and biomechanical expertise. Yoga is usually self-lead, and often a cookie cutter “one-size-fits-all” group training approach is used.