You’ve probably heard of stretching exercises before. You’ve even practiced them during a warm-up session during sports class or before an athletic performance.
When you picture someone doing a stretch, you must be thinking about classic movements like hip rotations or neck rolls. However, stretching therapy is much more than that; you’ll soon find out why.
If you’re experiencing stiffness, low mobility, or tight muscles, you’ll be happy to hear that they can all be fixed through this holistic approach. What’s more, stretching also has amazing benefits for your physical and mental health!
So, without further ado, let’s explore what stretching therapy is and how you can get started with it today!
What is Stretching Therapy?
Stretching therapy is the process of increasing mobility in your muscles and joints through flexibility exercises. Ultimately, the goal is to unlock muscle and joint stiffness, and even reduce pain or tension.
- Stretching involves elongating muscles and connective tissues to improve flexibility and mobility. Stretch therapy is suitable for all fitness levels.
- Stretching therapy, performed by trained professionals, targets specific issues like muscle imbalances, chronic pain, or injury rehabilitation. It involves customized stretching programs and other therapeutic interventions to address individual needs.
Stretch therapy is as old as it gets, as even ancient Greeks were practicing it. Stretching exercises are a phenomenal way to keep your body mobile. They can target areas of your body that are difficult to reach and help release tension.
All in all, stretching increases the range of motion and keeps your joints healthy. They also help you warm-up muscles during short-term static stretches. That’s of course, as long as you’re doing them right. But don’t worry—we’ll get to that too!
Benefits of Stretch Therapy
You likely remember how flexible you were during your childhood or teenage years. Joining sports classes, or challenging friends to try out tricks were all too common. What a time!
Fast forward to today, your hip flexors are giving you a hard time. Your back is killing you after getting up from your desk. So, what’s left to do?
Well, as obvious as it seems, stretch! Static stretching can go a long way if practiced regularly.
Here are the main benefits of stretch therapy:
- Improved movement patterns
- Better posture
- Improved range of motion
- Prevents injury
- Mental health benefits (Improving stress levels and relieving tension)
- It improves circulation and blood flow
There’s no doubt that you should add stretch therapy to your daily ritual. After all, the benefits are outstanding, and the effort input is low.
Hence, whether you’re going for assisted stretching or you’re doing a solo stretch session at home, we’re going to walk you through every step!
Stretching Techniques: How to Do It Right and Build Flexibility?
Stretch therapy sessions start with an assessment of your flexibility, experience, and goals. To achieve the best results, it’s essential to practice proper stretching techniques.
Here are three popular stretching techniques:
- Static stretching. This technique is the most popular one. It involves holding a stretch for 15-30 seconds at a comfortable tension. Perform static stretching after warming up with light aerobic exercises.
- Dynamic stretching. This method involves moving your muscles and joints through their full range of motion. Dynamic stretches, such as leg swings or arm circles, are ideal during warm-up.
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF). This advanced technique combines passive stretching and muscle contractions. With the help of a partner, you contract the targeted areas. Then, relax it while your partner gently pushes it into a deeper stretch. This stretching technique should be assisted by a professional to prevent injuries.
To practice stretching safely and effectively, follow these guidelines:
- Warm up with light aerobic exercises before stretching to increase blood flow to muscles. You can use additional equipment like resistance bands to support your movement.
- Stretch gently and gradually, avoiding bouncing or jerking movements that can lead to injury.
- Pay attention to your body’s signals, and never stretch to the point of pain.
- Hold each stretch for an appropriate duration, typically 15-30 seconds for static stretches.
- Breathe deeply and evenly during stretching to promote relaxation and circulation.
Avoid stretching cold muscles and overstretching. This can damage muscle fibers and connective tissues.
Assisted Stretching: Is a Stretch Therapist Worth It?
A stretch therapist is trained in various stretching techniques. This holistic approach is similar to massage therapy or physical therapy of any kind.
A physical therapist provides a deeper stretch and focused attention on muscles and joints. They can also practice fascial stretch therapy on you, which improves the function of tired muscles. This is more difficult to achieve at home (but definitely possible!).
So, is working with a stretch therapist worth it? Well, sports physical therapy (or any therapy at all) is usually a good idea.
However, let’s examine the benefits for a comprehensive view:
- You get a customized stretching routine. A stretch therapist assesses your flexibility, experience, goals, and medical history. They design a personalized stretching routine that addresses your specific needs and focuses on key areas of your body.
- Enhanced muscle stretching. Assisted stretch therapy techniques allow for deeper muscle stretching, which can be difficult to achieve on your own. This helps to improve your overall range of motion and flexibility.
- Expert guidance. Stretch therapists have extensive knowledge of human anatomy and the optimal ways to stretch muscles right. This expertise reduces the risk of injury and ensures you get the most out of each stretching session.
- Improved athletic performance. Regular stretch therapy sessions can lead to increased flexibility, better functional movement, and improved athletic performance.
- Specialized equipment. A practitioner will likely use a combination of stretch therapy techniques and specialized equipment for stretching.
Considering these benefits, investing in assisted stretching sessions with a stretch therapist may indeed be worth it.
But what if you could get that equipment yourself? With a one time investment, you could practice stretching in the comfort of your own home at no additional cost. You could even build your own home gym and finally start exercising at your own pace!
Try Out the Some of the Stretching Equipment on the Market!
Precor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer is a game-changer in the stretching equipment sphere. This machine comes at a premium price, but it delivers unique benefits. You can perform 8 core exercises that target all the major muscles.
Additionally, you get a 5-year warranty. You can practice stretching safely and make the most out of your routine using a machine like this.
However, if your budget is limited, you can also check out the LifeSpan SP1000 Stretch Partner Bench. This piece is great for performing a wide range of exercises as well. It also comes with a 30-minute tutorial on DVD. The warranty is also for 5 years.
- Low profile steel frame to boost stability
- Includes free Flexibility for Life stretching DVD, with a 30-minute tutorial
- Guide book covering 18 different types of stretch
- Dimensions: 49″L x 29″W x 38″H
- Product weight: 55 lbs
- Weight capacity: 300 lbs
- Warranty: 5 years on the frame, 2 years parts, 90 days upholstery
Stretch therapy is a powerful way to promote an increased range of movement and even reduce pain. It puts your whole body through a temporary state of tension which has tremendous benefits on your health.
If you’re looking to achieve well-being and improve muscle ability, focus, connective tissue, and associated joints, stretch therapy is for you!
So, don’t postpone your health and give it a try right away. You’ll probably experience discomfort at first without even seeing results right away. You have to be patient and keep on stretching to start experiencing benefits in your everyday life.
The key is to unlock flexibility and get rid of the stiffness, so give your body the time and resources needed to achieve these results.
Additionally, you can speed up the process and boost results with a proper stretching machine.
Take charge of your health and start building a better you today. Visit USA Home Gym and learn everything you need to know about fitness, exercise, and home gym equipment!
Nadia is a USA-HomeGym.com Senior Editor with 15 years+ experience in the health, supplement and nutrition niches. Nadia became a health & fitness evangelist after rebuilding her gut health in 2008 using the Weston A. Price method. She developed a Facebook group that grew to more than 15,000 members sharing information on diet for allergy reduction, eczema & psoriasis cessation. Since 2011, Nadia has been an avid stair climber, achieving race times in the top 5% of her age group and maintaining average times of 3’40 – 3’55 minutes per 12 floors.