Assisted Stretch Therapy in Long Beach CA
Assisted stretching involves another individual passively stretching the muscles. Proprioceptive-neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a popular stretching technique that involves contracting and relaxing the muscles as they are being stretched. During a PNF cycle the target muscle is stretched to its point of tension, then the muscle is activated via contraction, this inhibits stretch receptors within the muscle which allow the muscle to further lengthen. This technique has been shown to increase the range of motion of chronically tight muscles.
Modern life is sedentary, whether we like it or not, and we tend to get stuck in bad postures. Stretching helps combat those chronically tight muscles to help maintain a normal healthy position. Tight muscles interfere with optimal muscle activity which decreases muscle performance, decreases muscle control, decreases range of motion, and can cause painful movements. The goal of stretching is to normalize muscle length and tone to allow pain-free movement through range of motion.
- Improves Posture: Poor posture creates chronic tightness of the muscles especially the pectoralis muscles and the upper traps to name a few. Stretching these tight muscles allows the body to achieve a healthier body position.
- Improved Range of Motion: Stretching lengthens the muscles and allows us to achieve greater ranges of motion.
- Reduced Soreness After Exercise: Stretching increases the length of the muscle fibers, increases blood flow, and the muscles movement helps remove waste products: all of which decrease soreness.
- Reduces Fatigue in the Muscles: When muscles are tight, the muscles that do the opposite action need to work harder. For example if the biceps are tight, then the triceps have to work harder to extend your elbow.
- Reduces the Risk for Injury: Stretching gives the muscles more range of motion, which gives the muscle more time to slow down a movement. Think of it as a system of brakes for your car, slamming on the brakes will create more wear and tear on the car versus being able to slowly press down the brakes.
- Improves Athletic Performance: When combined with a thorough warm-up and cool-down routine, stretching can improve athletic performance by increasing the available range of motion and allow movements that are not possible with tight muscles.
Everyone! From the athlete elite to the average Joe, muscles need to have a healthy range of motion. The goals of stretching will vary based on the individual: the elite sprinter needs that extra cm to win a race, a grandmother needs to be able to get down to the ground to play with her grandkids without pain, and someone who has a very physical job will need to be able to perform their tasks comfortable and sustainably.