Stretching the Body

Last night the group of individuals who are participating in our 6 week WholeHealth met at 7:30 to focus on how to stretch and roll the body.  We ended with a nice 5 min. meditation, requested from Erin.  She, like many, have requested a once per week meditation class.  Last night was a good indicator as to the necessity of holding these classes on a regular basis.  A breakdown of the class is outlined below, and as always we had a lot of laughs:

  • Everyone had a golf ball, a roller, and baseball. 
  • We started with doing about 30 mins of full body stretching, warming and getting the blood flowing, stretching and elongating our muscles all the while focusing on breathing and letting go.
  • Introduction to the golf ball and the best area to use it for effective trigger work.
  • Introduction to the baseball and all the fun places it can be used for maximum end relief.
  • We discussed the pressure that needed to be used
  • We focused on breathing
  • We talked about how to properly use a foam roller
  • We ended with a light guided meditation.

If you would like to learn more or are interested in attending a class like this, Let us know.

Below is a little something I put together about Recovery Work.

Your NSCF Health & Wellness Coach


Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation exercises
Passive and active stretching
(MFR) Myofascial Release

(AROM) Active Range of Motion:

Remember in training if you feel pain to stop and speak up let one of your trainers know, you want to increase weight but first you must know that full pain-free active range of motion (rom) needs to be achieved before strength exercises are initiated, full functional motion must have proper joint mechanics. Active ROM exercises should be relatively painless, by that I mean tenderness and some discomfort maybe felt, if you can’t breath through it then it is to much. The body will tighten up and the effectiveness of stretching will not serve the purpose of loosening up the muscles and opening up joints.

(PROM) Passive Range of Motion:

PROM is assisted by a trainer or therapist, this will assist you in recovery, restoring and healing. You will be assisted with stretches that will help open up and lengthen the muscles, it is important that you communicate with the trainer or therapist on pain, remember if you can’t breath through it speak up.  Most people choose not to speak up, communication is essential and it helps the trainer or therapist know your pain tolerance and helps them assess where restrictions are.

(AAROM) Active Assisted Range of Motion:

Is when at certain positions you are able to move a limb but when you change positions you are unable to get full ROM and require some assistance, this may be due to muscle weakness. Having someone help you with ROM will most likely restore normal AROM than working the limb within limited voluntary motion.

(MFR) Myofascial Release: soft tissue work performed by a therapist

The concept of Myofascial Release is more a philosophy of care, rather than a series of techniques, ideally not something one does to a client but one listens to the client and the clients body. Myofascial Release therapy varies significantly ranging from prolonged stretch in and soft tissue mobilization to subtle indirect techniques.  Myofascial Restrictions:  we have 3 layers, the Superficial fascia (hypodermis) which lies beneath the Dermis and consists of loose connective tissue and asipose tissue, the dermis is connected to the subcutaneous layer by fibers that extend into the superficial fascia which in turn is connected to the underlying tissues and organs.

The Superficial fascia provides storage for water and serves as insulation and prevents and protects from mechanical deformation and provides a pathway for nerves and blood vessels.  The second Layer is called a potential space, may enlarge with extravasation or edema.
The third, the deep fascia is a dense sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue that separates the muscles in functioning groups and lines the body covering all the organs of the body, its function is to allow free movement of the muscles, fill the spaces between the muscles and other organs, providing passageways for the nerves and blood vessels, and some provide attachments for muscles.  Extensions of the deep fascia are epimysium, perimysium. and endomysium, this continuous fibrous connective tissue divides and surrounds fascicle and ultimately each muscle fiber extending beyond the muscle cells to form tendons or aponeuroses attaching muscle to muscle or muscle to periosteum.

Because of these layers, fibers in fascia run in all directions, fascia is distensible in all directions to accommodate changes in muscle bulk and permit stretching. When contraction causes the muscle to broaden this temporarily increasing tension on the fascia. A muscle that has hypertrophied secondary to exercise, or that is in a constant tension on the fascia, a focus of pain because of its rich nerve supply, fascia shrinks when inflamed and heals slowly due to its poor blood supply.

(AIS) Active Isolated Stretching:

Stretching one isolated muscle at a time, while actively contracting the muscle that is opposite the isolated muscle, gently stretching before the muscle reacts to being stretched. The goal is to determine your own flexibility ROM how far you can stretch and flex each muscle group. (the theory is to hold for 2 seconds and let go, repeating ROM, increasing flexibility without allowing the muscle to engage, working gently and quickly) once you get to the end field or myotatic reflex, the point it feels you can’t go father STOP…relax…In position and see if it is true, repeat the stretch or see if it can go further… You may need assistance from a trainer or a band.


More often than not, the location of the pain is not the site of dysfunction, physical feedback is more believable over the verbal response. This doesn’t mean you don’t tell your therapist what you are feeling in your body. It is your body and your senses are picking up on something. Trust what you are feeling but be open to experience other responses from your body.

Limitation of Poor Flexibility:

Tight/stiff muscles interfere with proper muscle action, if the muscles cannot contract and relax efficiently the result will be in decreased performance and lack of muscle movement and may cause shorter muscles to lose strength and power during physical activity. This can also cause restriction in blood circulation which can result in muscle fatigue and impede repair or recovery time after physical activity. This will increase chances of injury, repeat injury, loss of performance, and discomfort.


The muscular system needs to be flexible to achieve peak performance, and stretching is the most effective way of developing and retaining flexible muscles and tendons.  Is total ROM at a joint that occurs pain-free in all motions. Joint flexibility is combination of normal joint mechanics, mobility of soft tissues, and muscle extensibility. When there is resistance it may be due to tension in muscle fibers,connective tissue, bones, ligaments, muscle bulk, muscle length, tendons and even skin. So your bodies make-up plays a role. Everything is connected so if ROM is restricted there will be over compensation, over use in other areas.

 A Stretched Muscle is a Happy Muscle:

When participating in recovery work such as a regular stretching program, not only will your muscles perform better from a little TLC by lengthening them other tissues will begin to adapt to the stretching including ligaments, tendons, fascia, skin, and scar tissue.  Increase in ROM and increase recovery.

The Importance of Recovery:

You need to take time to rest, you are stressing your muscle system and they need recovery time, if you are always tearing down the muscles and not giving proper recovery time for those muscles to heal then well you will never recover, your muscles will not have time to rebuild and be stronger.  From what I have learned it takes 48 for muscles to recover, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have to be active everyday.  It just means you need to change it up, it means you have to add recovery modalities into your routine.  Same thing goes for recovery with injuries.  Injuries are a sign that you need to change things up a bit.  Refocus more on recovery work then strength not giving up on one but just adjusting to what your body is telling you it needs.

Listening to the Body:

Most of the time those that are active and participating in a sport that requires some hard focus on training allow recovery time to be put on the back burner, it usually isn’t something we do until the body makes us.  Make sure you take the time to listen to your body and what it is telling you.  It could be anything from nutrition to getting some body work done or even getting enough rest.  Your body has many responses and you need to honor them and learn them, so your body will perform the way you want it to come game time.

To Stretch Before or After a workout:

Stretching before a workout warms up the muscles, loosing, increasing ROM by lengthening the muscles and tendons.  So we can move freely without restrictions or injury.  Stretching after a workout is to aid in repair and recovery of the muscles and tendons, this helps prevent tight muscles and delayed muscle soreness. This is a great way to cool down after your workout.

Pain and Stretching:

It should not be painful to stretch, stretching should be relaxing and beneficial.


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