Showering before a massage is a personal choice but highly recommended. Taking a shower before a massage can help in several ways: Cleanliness Showering before a massage helps ensure that both the client and the massage therapist start the session with clean bodies. Comfort A …
*Disclaimer: This product is not intended to solve serious medical issues. You should consult with a medical professional before using any products I talk about. *There are affiliate links on this page. I get paid if you decide to purchase any products listed here. I …
Assisted Stretch Therapy studios are popping up all over the country. This means it is effective. I have used stretching techniques in my massage business for 12 years. This mean I know how to implement it’s effectiveness.
Many of us have adopted the modern lifestyle without question. We don’t have a choice but to sit at desks and be inactive. Modern food choices so readily available don’t help either. Fortunately, there is an army of holistic healers ready to keep you functionally sound and armed with a plethora of techniques and modalities at the ready.
I would not have been successful as a therapist without including stretch therapies. Now I want to focus on bringing this therapy to you. If you feel even slightly dysfunctional physically, stretching will help your body balance out the working relationship between your muscles and joints.
What is an Assisted Stretch Therapy Session Like?
In a stretch therapy session, you will lay on a massage or physical therapy table or a padded mat on the floor.
The therapist will hold one or more limbs or your head and neck. You may be asked to relax or the therapist may have specific instructions on how you should participate in that particular stretch. A therapist will understand how the nervous system works and will use this knowledge to their advantage to gain the best results for your stretching session.
Depending on the therapist’s qualifications, they will likely incorporate other therapies that will enhance your stretch session.
Sessions can vary depending on the therapists qualifications, background, and preferred healing methods.
Stretch Therapy’s Long Term Benefits
Assisted stretch therapy would not likely gain traction if the outcome did not out weight the financial cost of receiving this service from an experienced professional. Each session is going to provide the benefit of you feeling looser, more relaxed, and having increased wellness.
To get your money’s worth from each session, go into it with a few things in mind.
- First, take note of the stretches that you feel provide the most effect. You can do these for yourself later putting the power of health into your own hands.
- Second, if you have been to a Chiropractor, you have encountered the explanation they all give on how it works to benefit your overall health. It’s all about getting pressure off the nerves so the organs can communicate with the brain and function optimally. Same thing here. Keeping your body limber over time improves optimal performance of your body’s systems.
- Lastly, you might feel more achy and sore later that night and the next day. The reason for this is, if you already hurt because of bad posture and the techniques used in the session require you to expend some energy, the already stressed muscle is going to have even less energy stored to keep up with physical demands of keeping you upright. This will increase soreness at that muscle, BUT the session has relaxed other muscles overpowering the sore muscle AND sent signals to that sore muscle to begin a healing process. While this is an overly simplified explanation, it is extremely important to keep in mind as to not get discouraged from pursuing more sessions with the same therapist. Please, please please! Understand, there is a difference in feeling a little more sore on an already sore muscle, or a little more uncomfortable because posture is harder to maintain and actually being more injured! Pay attention to your body!!! If you aren’t sure about a stretch session, consult with your physician!
What to Expect After a Stretch Session
If you don’t stretch or exercise much, you should expect a little soreness. Not much though. If you feel like you can’t move or sit on the potty the next day, it’s likely the session was a bit too much.
A little extra soreness is generally nothing to worry about, however. Just make sure to tell your therapist for the next session that you’d like to go a little lighter on the stretches. They should be happy to oblige. If you get too much disagreement from the therapist though, maybe run for the hills!
There are a few holistic therapies and practices that I have advocated for over massage and assisted stretching modalities.
Yoga, Pilates, and/or Tai Chi.
Allow me to repeat this…
Yoga, Pilates, and/or Tai Chi.
I have needed functional training, stretching, and physical healing practices as much as anyone I know and I’ve been meeting new clients consistently for 12 years.
I have also been coaching clients and others outside of my practice on how to not need my services or any other services for that matter. I teach stretching techniques for specific issues and offer functional exercise solutions to fix weak areas of the body. When it comes right to it, busy people don’t have time or are distracted when they finally get home to relax. My ultimate solution for these issues AND to save cash is to sign up and participate in regular group exercises like yoga, pilates or tai chi.
I believe wholeheartedly in what I do to help others, but nothing can replace the power of these three practices.
You have the power to heal your body. I’ll teach you how to balance your joints, feel more limber, and feel free in your body.
Stretching on your own is great and you should do it! Getting stretch therapies from an experienced practitioner will teach you new ways to stretch on your own. Hiring a stretch therapist is a long term investment that will pay dividends.
Functional training is something that everyone can benefit from. As the name suggests, functional training is a kind of fitness routine that focuses on helping people to become more functional in day to day life. It focuses on purposeful movements and exercises that allow people …
Physical therapists and massage therapists often utilize a variety of “manual” techniques when they are working with their clients. Manual techniques are specially created movements that are designed to safely work with joints and the soft tissues throughout the body. Manual traction is one of …
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, also sometimes referred to as “PNF” is a technique that is used primarily to increase flexibility and range of motion. In research studies, it has shown to be an effective method for improving active as well as passive range motions. It is also used by the therapist to assist clients in regaining strength after they have experienced soft tissue damage.
There are Two Primary Methods used in Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
- The contract-relax methods (CR)
- The contract-relax-antagonist-contract method (CRAC)
The CR method involves stretching out the muscle being targeted in the session and then contracting it while it is in its lengthened state followed by a passive stretch without contraction.
The CRAC method uses the same first three steps of the CR method but is followed by an additional period of contracting the muscle in its lengthened/stretched state rather than just a passive stretch. There are also other techniques out there, and which one your therapist will use for you depends on your unique circumstances.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation can Also Improve Exercise Performance
If you exercise on a regular basis or play a competitive sport, you may also want to look at PNF. It has been found that when PNF is performed after exercise, it can improve muscle performance. However, it is important to note that research has shown that it can decrease performance if it is performed before exercise. To maintain increased performance, a session should be done a couple of times per week.
Proper Protocol and Consistency are Key
Both the CR and CRAC methods of PNF have been shown to effectively improve range of motion, and increase muscle function, but it is important that the proper protocol is being followed if you want it to work for you and provide consistent results. So, be sure that the person you’re working with is qualified and has received adequate training.
Myofascial manipulation encompasses a variety of techniques that allow massage therapists to improve muscle mobility, reduce pain, among other things, by working on the myofascial tissue. The massage therapist is able to “manipulate” the myofascial tissue to restore comfort and proper function of the area …
Cupping is an ancient practice that has been seeing a resurgence in popularity in modern times, and for a good reason! Cupping can be useful for a variety of things like improving blood flow, reducing pain, reducing inflammation, and promoting relaxation.
Cupping therapy works through suction. The therapist places “cups,” often made of glass, silicone, or biodegradable materials on various points along the body. The cups are warmed before being placed on the skin, and as the air inside begins to cool, a vacuum effect occurs, which is what provides the suction. Some modern practitioners opt to use rubber cups and pumps to create suction instead of relying on heat. This has the added advantage of being able to have more control over the level of suction.
When the suction begins, the skin begins to rise and will take on a red appearance. The marks left behind cause concern for some people and sometimes ignite fears that deter people from receiving cupping treatments – but it is generally a painless experience.
There are Two Main Types of Cupping
There is wet Cupping and dry Cupping. It is generally recommended that beginners start with dry Cupping to get a feel for the experience before moving on to wet Cupping. With wet Cupping, small incisions are made after the cups are removed, and then the cups are put back on over the incisions for a few more minutes to draw out blood.
Dry Cupping does not draw any blood or involve incisions and is powerful enough on its own to provide relief for most people who give it a go.
When to Consider Cupping
- If you are seeking relief from chronic migraines
- If you have stubborn back or neck pain
- If you’re seeking an alternative treatment to boost mood
- If you’re struggling to cope with inflammatory conditions
Ensure that You’re Working With an Experienced Professional
This is particularly important if you’re opting for a wet cupping treatment. If you choose to work with a practitioner that is not adequately experienced, you run the risk of having your session in a non-sterile environment and could become infected.