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Posted in Studio News, Studio.Stretch

Stretch Therapy

Stretch Therapy

What is stretch therapy?

Stretch Therapy SA

Stretch Therapy is the name we give to the special work being done by Aaron L. Mattes. Mattes developed this therapeutic assistance technique due to the continuous demand on specific mobilization of polio patients in the late 50’s and 60’s. Earlier than that patients where immobilized, while the contrary proved to be the better option, mobilize.

Although polio is not such a life threatening disease in our modern day society anymore, the principles of AIS has stood the test of time, and is now an internationally renowned therapeutic technique.

There’s numerous advantages to incorporate the work of a stretch specialist (stretching therapist) in your current medical preventative and population assessment programs as well as incorporating stretch therapy into orthopedic surgery prevention programs.

Stretch Therapy SA

In the USA, Medicare spending for inpatient back surgery more than doubled over the decade. Spending for lumbar fusion increased more than 500%, from 75 million dollars to 482 million dollars. In 1992, lumbar fusion represented 14% of total spending for back surgery; by 2003; lumbar fusion accounted for 47% of spending.

 

Dr. Rosomoff M.D. was discussing “failed back surgery syndrome” of which there is a documented 50,000 cases, every year. While lecturing at the American Academy of Pain Management symposium, it was his opinion that surgery should only be performed in 1 in every 500 low back cases. He felt that that would eliminate 99% of all surgical cases.

In the South African based stretch therapy practices the majority of patients benefiting the most from this treatment are those suffering from chronic musculoskeletal pain. Including muscular atrophy, joint pathology, spinal degenerative conditions, pre surgical rehabilitation & mobilization, sport injury and professional sports performance.

Getting assistance during stretching is very crucial in achieving maximal results and minimal injuries. The therapist will exactly know where to take you and where to stop, working each muscle individually until a complete uniform balance is achieved.  Stretching has been scientifically proven to have an ‘analgesic effect’ making patients feel better immediately while still having the full advantage of a very precise and isolated rehabilitation session.

 

Stretch Therapy spans the entire technique called ‘active isolated stretching’ and ‘active isolated strengthening’. This technique is very useful right from rehabilitation to performance enhancement. Stretch therapy comprises the following main elements:

Stretching

We use hundreds of different isolated techniques to improve the Range of Movement (ROM) of the body; nerves, fascia and muscles. Stretching all these structures individually we can use them as ‘gateways’ to change the functional patterns of the brain.

Re-patterning

Inactive muscles are made active; knees, shoulders, and elbows are stabilized; posture and alignment are made more efficient.

Strengthening

The capacity of the whole body to exert force is the emphasis here; most of our techniques are body-weight only, and all involve the working one muscle as precisely and accurately as possible.

Relaxation

The forgotten part of any health optimization program. Here, ‘relaxation’ is used in two ways: the first as a shorthand for techniques that enhance speed (any force-producing agonist needs its antagonist to relax equally quickly so that a limb, or a whole body, can move faster), and the second sense, the fundamental part of rejuvenation and regeneration practices.

Together, the Stretch Therapy elements enable anyone to improve flexibility, and to perform ordinary and extraordinary tasks with greater ease and better performance, and for longer in life.

Stretch Therapy is the safest, most efficient method for anyone to achieve grace and ease in daily life, whether as an office worker, or an athlete. Stretch Therapy is used by pregnant women, teenagers, sports people, coaches, employers, and men and women of all ages.

 

What is active isolated stretching?

Over the past two decades, many experts have advocated prolonged stretching up to 60 seconds. A prolonged stretch up to 60 seconds means that a person would move into a stretching position and keep it there for a longer period. For many years this was used as the gold standard for all individuals and athletes. However, after 30 years of research by Aaron Mattes, it was found that a stretch greater than 5 seconds actually decreases the blood flow within the tissue thus creating localized ischemia and lactic acid build up.

Stretch Therapy SA

This also increases irritation and change of injury of local muscular, tendonous, lymphatic as well as neural tissues, similar to the effects and consequences of trauma, overuse syndromes, and metabolic disease states. This phenomenon indicates that there has to be a better technique for proper stretching. And indeed it was found, now called Active Isolated Stretching.

Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a stretching method developed by Aaron L. Mattes. AIS utilizes precise movements to isolate a specific area to be stretched. Once in the proper position, the stretch is held for 1.5 to 2 seconds, released, and then repeated 8-10 times in a set. AIS has been used by hundreds of thousands of professional and amateur athletes and chronic patients to increase flexibility and performance and reduce pain while reducing the risk of any further injuries. It is also effective in reducing pain in the human body caused by incorrect posture, degeneration, injury, and inactivity.

 

Active Isolated Stretching: How it Works

 

Stretch Therapy:  How it works

There are two primary principles that provide the basis for how AIS works. The first is called reciprocal inhibition, which means that if you want to lift your arm, your nervous system has to shut off the muscles that bring your arm down. This means that AIS involves your nervous system in the stretch, making it easier for the muscles to elongate. The second principle is to hold the stretch for 1.5 to 2 seconds, and no longer. Research shows that holding a stretch for longer than 2.5 to 3 seconds will cause your body to engage a protective reflex. This stretch reflex will cause a muscle contraction in the muscle you are trying to stretch. It is therefore important not to hold any stretch to long, not even 3 seconds.

By not “tripping” the stretch reflex, you are able to get a gentle stretch, without the body fighting itself. The stretch is repeated 8 to 10 times in a set. The repeated “pumping” action of the muscle allows for increased circulation to the area. Because the stretches target highly specific areas of the body, AIS provides an efficient and effective stretch.

These specific movements also help relieve symptoms of stress. Stress touches all of our lives. Gentle stretching movements can invigorate the circulatory, respiratory and neuromuscular systems, which help alleviate many of the symptoms of stress.

 

Benefits of Active Isolated Stretching:

Improves flexibility

Helps to relieve muscle soreness

Reduces muscle spasm

Helps to address and reduce chronic pain

Reduces the risk of muscle strain and tearing

Helps recovery from injury

Helps to increase athletic performance

Helps to relieve stress

Improves oxygen and nutrient delivery to cells

Helps stimulate lymph circulation and elimination of cellular waste

Helps to maintain good posture

Helps to regain and maintain the full range of motion of a joint

Promotes balance in the body

Promotes healthy growth in children and youth

Prevent postural problems in pre-adolescent growth spurts

 

Author:  Hans De Wit

Email: info@stretchingsa.co.za

 

 

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Posted in Studio News, Studio.Lean, Studio.Stretch

5 Core strength and stretching exercises

5 Core strength and stretching exercises

 

Only time for 5 exercises a day? 

Here’s why these 5 strength and stretch exercises will give you the edge.

 

Movement 1 – Diaphragm breathing’s

Due to our busy lifestyles, too many people (bodies) are under immense subconscious stress. Increased stress levels reduce the lungs’ ability to breathe properly. This can have a serious impact on one’s ability to heal from injury, performance in sport and work as well as concentration and fatigue.

Breathing properly involves using the diaphragm (Pic 1) and not the upper back and neck muscles (Pic 2).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diaphragm Breathing

  • When changing your breathing pattern, start by placing your hands on the bottom of your rib cage (Pic1).
  • Breathe in through your nose.
  • Push your bellybutton forward and your rib cage down.

If this is done correctly your fingers should separate, moving sideways away from each other (Pic 2).

When breathing out, your fingers should return to starting position (Pic 1).

 

PIC 1                                                           PIC 2

Biokineticist CenturionBiokineticist Centurion

If you find no movement between your fingers, you are probably using the incorrect muscles as discussed above.  Try again and focus on moving your rib cage and not your shoulders.

 

Movement 2 and 3 – Stretches

Stretching is essential as it prepares the body for movement. By stretching you are allowing your joints to move through its full range of motion in a controlled fashion. This increases the blood flow to that specific joint which in turns allows for healthy cartilage production.

You can choose any stretches. If you have enough time, stretching your whole body will prevent injuries and improve activities of daily living.

I have chosen two stretches for people who struggle with lower back pain and two for people who struggle with upper back and neck pain. Almost all of us sit in front of a computer at least a few times a week, this seated position can exaggerate back and neck pain.

 

Stretches for lower back pain.

Pic 1 – Lying down hamstring stretch

Lie down on your back. Bend one leg. Hook a towel around your foot. Lift leg straight up. Hold position for 10 seconds. Repeat on other side.

Pic 2 – Lower back neutral stretch

Biokineticist Centurion

Repeat hamstring stretch. When leg is completely straight, pull toes down and release. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

 

Stretches for upper back and neck pain.

Pic 1 – Ear to shoulder neck stretch

Ear to Next Stretch

Sit up straight. Drop your ear down toward your shoulder. Increase this stretch by using your hand to pull your head lower down. Hold position for 10 seconds. Repeat on other side.

 

Pic 2 – Upper back neural stretch

Upper back neutral stretch

Sit up straight. Lift arms up to 90 degrees. Bend both elbows so that your hands touch your shoulders. Keep your elbows up and straighten arms out away from you. Open your hands and stretch your fingers as far away from you as possible. Hold position for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

Stretching should be done every day for results.

 

Movement 4, 5 & 6 – Strengthening exercises

 

When time is limited, full body exercises are ideal as it provides you with maximum results in a small period of time.

Strengthening exercises are just as important as stretching and cardiovascular exercise. When doing strength training, it’s best to start off by using your own body weight. This allows you to increase your strength steadily and it minimises the chances of injury. Own body weight exercise can be just as demanding and even more so than going to the gym and lifting weights. By using your own body weight you will improve joint mobility, range of motion and functionality.

 

Sit to stand (Squat) – Lower body strengthening

 

Sit to stand exercise

 

Everyone needs to have strong core, abdominal and back muscles. This allows for good posture when sitting and standing for long periods which will prevent back and neck pain.

Start by standing on your hands and knees. Tilt your pelvis forward so that your bum is tucked in underneath you, forcing your back to round. This will allow your stomach muscles to activate more effectively and prevent your back from taking over the exercise. Once your stomach and bum muscles are activated, straighten your knees out. Focus on maintaining your starting position throughout the entire time.

For beginners, do this exercise 3 times 20 seconds. Intermediate, 3 times 45 seconds and for advanced, 3 times 90 seconds.

 

Push up – Upper body strengthening

 

core, abdominal and back stretch

 

Everyone needs to have strong core, abdominal and back muscles. This allows for good posture when sitting and standing for long periods which will prevent back and neck pain.

Start by standing on your hands and knees. Tilt your pelvis forward so that your bum is tucked in underneath you, forcing your back to round. This will allow your stomach muscles to activate more effectively and prevent your back from taking over the exercise. Once your stomach and bum muscles are activated, straighten your knees out. Focus on maintaining your starting position throughout the entire time.

For beginners, do this exercise 3 times 20 seconds. Intermediate, 3 times 45 seconds and for advanced, 3 times 90 seconds.

 

Push up – Upper body strengthening

 

Upper body strenghtening

 

When initiating your push up position, get into the same posture as you did with the plank. By maintaining this posture you ensure that your back is well supported by your core muscles. Maintaining a straight body position, bend your elbows dropping your body down in a straight line. Keep your elbows close to your body to ensure that you use your shoulder and mid back muscles. Do not let your elbows go above 90 degrees as this will force you to use your upper back and neck muscles. This can lead to injury. Push up and focus on maintaining proper straight body posture.

For beginners, do this exercise 1 times 10. Intermediate, 2 times 15 and for advanced, 3 times 20.

Whenever you start any new exercise routine ensure that you start off slowly and continuously focus on maintaining proper posture. This will prevent injury and ensure that you get maximum results.

If you struggle with any pain or discomfort in your neck, back or knees before, during or after exercise make sure you consult your Biokineticist for advice and guidance.

By taking a few minutes every day to do the above mentioned 5 movements you will ensure that you stay injury and pain free. You will also combat the bad habits we pick up from our busy lives which are essential in living a healthy life.

 

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Anca Wessels

Biokineticist

wessels.bio@gmail.com

0837855125

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Posted in Studio News, Studio.Stretch

Relieve back pain

Back pain is such a common occurance these days, with us sitting hours a day in front of our computers, in our cars to work and back and then infront of the television at night.  All this sitting puts immense stretching on our backs, even more so if we are sitting incorrectly.

A few simple things that we can do to help alleviate back pain is highlighted in an article on Stretching SA.

Read full article here

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