Stretching is really just connecting with things in extension instead of compression. It is important to move forces easily through your core weight bearing structures (in compression) for stability, power and flow. It is also important to move forces easily through your suspension system (in extension) for interconnection, cellular respiration, and energy flow.
One of our goals in care is make sure your body receives and propagates force normally through your biomechanical chains. We want you to feel good doing simple things like reaching for a glass, taking off a shirt, or blow drying your hair. When exposed to larger forces like tennis, golf, sports, moving boxes or working on cars, your body should be able to handle it.
What are we really stretching when we stretch? Yes, muscles do stretch. With too much force in a stretch, they will reflexively contract, so moving slowly lets your fibers unwind as well as they can. Most of what we feel in a good stretch is fascia. Fascia surrounds every muscle fiber, every muscle, every plane of motion. It connects various muscles and connective tissue throughout your body. It is a continuous system that both isolates and connects everything to everything else.
Creating the ability for your body to reach easily as you are stretching (with a flexible fascial suspension system) helps us in many ways.
State of ease. Stretching keeps your body fluid with increased circulation, decreasing pain. It flushes metabolites that can otherwise build up in the tissues. It also helps your ability to ground excess nervous energy through the fascial system.
More power with work. Muscle size and strength are the building blocks of power. Stretching increases the muscle’s potential for power and propagation of that power throughout the body. A longer, flexible muscle can create more power than a short pre-contracted one. A flexible fascial system means more power is transmitted out of our body and into the thing you are trying to move. When there is too much tension in your muscles or fascia, power is limited by internal resistance.
More energy. Energy and fascia move together. When you can easily stretch and your fascia is flexible, energy moves easier within our body. Less fascial resistance means less energy needed to get the same thing done. Meridians also move along fascial planes allowing better energetic balance within your body.
The most beneficial stretches flow along a plane of motion throughout your body, instead of isolating one muscle. Isolated motion in the body creates tension and compensation elsewhere in the body. Stretching with a long hold, like in hatha yoga, increases energy and blood flow to our organs. Dynamic stretching, like in Pilates, opens up planes of fascia for ease of movement.
Whether you are looking for optimal performance or are just tired of feeling restricted or off balance we are here to help you. We’ll work with you to get forces moving smoothly through your body in extension. A flexible and dynamic suspension system will allow stretching to feel good again.