Author: Kendall Brand
What is Fascial Stretch Therapy? FST is a modified proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation flexibility system. It involves stabilization straps to assess and remove restrictions to movement in joints, muscles, fascia and the nervous system. FST is hands-on and results are quicker and more thorough than traditional, isolated stretching. FST involves traction in various positions and planes, traction is the physical act of decompressing the two surfaces of a joint. Manually decompressing the joint triggers a stretch in the capsule and causes relaxation of the muscles that share the same innervation source that cross on or near the joint. What this basically means is that we are performing a fluid series of stretches that loosens all the muscles and fascia (connective tissue that surrounds muscles) around a joint. This is more efficient and produces better and faster results for tight or sore muscles and joints.
Fascial Stretch Therapy uses 10 principles of stretching.
- Number one – targeting the entire joint rather than an isolated muscle.
- Principle two – get maximal lengthening by using traction. Traction is the physical act of decompressing the two surfaces of a joint.
- Three – stretch in multiple planes. We move in multiple planes, therefore we should be stretching in multiple planes. FST stretches in not only sagittal plane but also with a specific traction, diagonal, rotation and spiral pattern to reach each angle.
- Principle four – following a logical order. Starting with the specific joint, moving to the shorter muscles and fascia then moving to the longer muscles and fascia.
- Five – achieve range of motion without pain. Many people think stretching should be painful or associated with discomfort. Clients then tend to guard their muscles without realizing, FST begins with traction, oscillation and circumduction allowing the client to feel relaxed, and allowing the therapist to assess the joints.
- Six – stretching fascia not just isolated muscles. The brain is systematized according to sequences and movement patterns, mechanoreceptors in muscles organize only 20% of the body while the rest is distributed in the fascia in the form of free nerve endings and other receptors. Isolated stretching targets only 20% while FST targets 20% and all the fascia distributed.
- Seven – FST uses a technique from PNF called contract-relax allowing relaxation of the muscles and increasing the ability for a deeper stretch.
- Principle eight and nine, synchronizing breathing with movement and tuning the nervous system to current conditions, allowing relaxation and reducing guarding.
- Lastly, principle ten, adjusting the stretching to the clients goals. This means every FST session will be different for each client dependent on their needs.
Fascial Stretch Therapy is for all clientele that can benefit an elite athlete to the average gym goer. Problems in the gym can relate back to flexibility and restriction of movement; therefore analyzing the movement and addressing the restrictions prior to the session can be beneficial in addressing the issues and where to focus during the session. Anything from kyphosis to asymmetrical weight shifts can be solved with FST when paired with a correct stabilizing program.
If you are suffering from tight muscles, bad posture, lack of mobility, pain in joints and muscles, FST can help. Contact us to book in a session or read more about our Langley Fascial Stretch Therapy services we offer. FST combined with our Langley personal Training services is the best way to create flexibility with FST while creating strength and stability with our training options.