Today I wanted to share with you 3 concepts that will help you turn regular stretches into myofascial stretches that strengthen at the same time. These ideas come in part from a book co-written by my colleague Brenda Pardy, OTR (with Jill Stedronsky, MS, OTR) called Myofascial Stretching, A Guide to self-treatment.
The first concept is the hold time for your stretch. The normal 30 second holds only affect the muscular and elastic components and often provide temporary results. Fascia can start to let go with holds of 90 to 120 seconds, additional releases may occur if held 3 to 5 minutes. This timing is critical for lasting results!
The next piece I want to talk about is active elongation. When stretching, if you actively lengthen or elongate the part you are stretching, you are getting a deeper, more effective stretch. For example, stretch your arm out to the side with your wrist bent backwards. Feel how that feels. Now hold that position and reach, lengthen or elongate (try to make longer) your arm. Can you feel the difference? You are feeling the fascial barrier!
The final piece is that you are consciously aware of the stretches, where you feel it, how it feels and are able to breath and relax into that area. As you practice this you will feel the releases and be able to go deeper into the stretch.
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