Assisted Stretching: A Path to Flexibility for Busy Lives in Glasgow
What is Assisted Stretching?
We all know stretching is good for us. It keeps us flexible, wards off injuries, and even aids muscle recovery. But there’s a notch above regular stretching, called assisted stretching. It’s where a professional helps you stretch further than you could on your own in a safe and controlled manner.
Who is Assisted Stretching For?
Do you ever feel like your muscles are just too tight or stiff, and you can’t seem to find the time to stretch? Need a quick boost in your flexibility or a small victory over stiffness? Assisted stretching is just the thing for you.
It’s a common tale among my patients in Glasgow – the constant hustle and bustle of work, the tiring commute, and the demands at home, all leaving precious little time for self-care. Make time for self-care.
The Role of Assisted Stretching in Busy Lives
There are various strategies to help you feel more flexible.
Some involve working against the stiffness, where I help you move further. Others involve working towards the stiffness, where we target areas you can already move to help you move where you can’t.
Assisted stretching might not add more hours to your day, but it will certainly help you make the most of your time.
This session can also incorporate massage techniques and myofascial release where appropriate and needed. During this 60-minute appointment, we can focus on specific problem areas or more generalized zones of tightness or restriction.
Assisted Stretching and Sports Therapy
Stretching is a critical part of sports therapy. It involves intentionally elongating muscles to improve flexibility, rectify muscle imbalances, and prevent injury. As a sports therapist, I may use various stretching techniques, including static stretching, dynamic stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching.
Static stretching involves holding a stretch for a period of time, usually between 30-60 seconds, sometimes as long as 2 minutes. It’s excellent for improving flexibility and reducing muscle tension.
Dynamic stretching involves moving through a range of motion to warm up the muscles and prepare them for physical activity. This technique is typically used before sports and other physical activities, and it can be used with forms of PNF stretching.
Active Isolated Stretching
Active Isolated Stretching or AIS is like the independent cousin in the stretching family. Each stretch is held for just 2 seconds, involving active engagement and immediate release. This swift technique bypasses the body’s natural tightening response to long stretches, allowing for a deeper, more effective stretch that enhances flexibility.
PNF stretching (a form of assisted stretching) involves contracting and relaxing muscles in a specific pattern to improve flexibility and address muscle imbalances. It’s often referred to as Muscle Energy Techniques (MET).
Diving Deeper: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching
If you fancy a more advanced level of stretching, meet PNF stretching. It’s a clever combination of passive and isometric stretching designed to achieve maximum flexibility. Initially developed for rehab purposes, it’s now a star player in fitness and sports training. There are a few types of PNF stretching:
Hold-Relax (or Contract-Relax): The most popular kid on the PNF block. Here, you start by passively stretching a muscle group. Then, you contract it isometrically against resistance (that’s where I come in!). After the contraction, you take a deep breath, and as you exhale, I push the stretch a bit further.
Contract-Relax-Antagonist-Contract (CRAC): This one’s like the hold-relax method but with an added twist. After stretching and contracting the target muscle group, you contract the opposing muscles. This helps the target muscle group relax even more, allowing for a deeper stretch.
Hold-Relax-Swing: This is a fusion of PNF and dynamic stretching. After the hold-relax technique, we swap the further static stretch for several dynamic or ‘ballistic’ stretches. This method isn’t as common and needs to be done under supervision because the dynamic part can be a bit risky if done incorrectly.
Remember, it’s crucial to warm up your muscles before PNF stretches, and stretch only to the point of tension, not pain.
Keen to try out PNF stretching? Book your session now!
Assisted stretching can be a game-changer, especially for those with busy lifestyles. It’s not just about being more flexible. It’s about taking care of your body so you can continue doing the things you love. So why not give assisted stretching a shot? Your muscles will thank you.