What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?
Fascial Stretch Therapy™ is a unique, complete and complementary system of table-based assisted stretching for the muscles, fascia and joint capsule as the key elements in achieving optimal flexibility, strength and pain relief. New levels of performance and function will result. It is a stand-alone therapy but also works extremely well in conjunction with other therapies such as massage therapy, physiotherapy and chiropractic care.
What is fascia?
Fascia is specialized, flexible, connective tissue made of collagen that surrounds muscles, bones, joints, organs, blood vessels, and nerves, compartmentalizing and anchoring these structures while allowing them to slide past neighbouring tissues. Fascia gives structure to the body, and provides support and protection. It is the most prevalent tissue in your body and the most influential structure affecting your flexibility. Age, trauma, injuries, poor posture and inadequate or over-training can tighten the fascia or cause adhesions with neighbouring tissue or fascia. This can cause pain and discomfort in joints, muscles and tendons. One of the distinguishing features of fascia is that the collagen fiber networks of which it is made extend beyond individual muscles, crossing joints and spanning large pathways or chains. These pathways reflect the body’s movements as a functional whole.
When the fascia and joint capsules are restricted it can lead to the following problems and conditions:
- Degenerative joint diseases and osteoarthritis because of decreased joint space
- Trigger points, strains, tendonitis and tears resulting from increased muscle tone
- Headaches, trigger points & muscle tightness due to increased nervous tissue tone
- Scar tissue formation
- Decreased endorphin release and energy levels, and increased pain sensitivity
- Improved posture
- Reduction in muscles soreness and tension
- Reduced risk of injury – especially sprains and strains
- Release of endorphins to reduce stress
This instrumental component that is used in FST gets the joint capsule open by decompressing the joint and eliminates the jamming of joint while stretching. It creates optimal mobility of the joint capsule that dramatically helps the effectiveness of ROM increases and flexibility gains.
How is FST any different from other stretch/massage therapies?
Besides targeting tissue, it involves some very light client participation. FST is an assisted stretching technique performed by a Certified Fascial Stretch Therapist with the client on a treatment table. When assisted stretching takes place on the treatment table, comfortable straps are used to stabilize the limb or part of the body that is not being worked on, thus facilitating complete relaxation of the person being stretched and enhancing the effectiveness of the actions of the therapist. While it is assisted stretching, the fascial stretch therapists provide occasional instructions for clients to lightly contract and fully relax muscles to help restore the natural movement of the muscles, fascia and joint capsule.
Who can Benefit?
Fascial Stretch Therapy was originally developed for dancers and other athletes and has been used on famous athletes such as Tyrell Owens, Charles Barkley, Mike Tyson, Geroy Simon and numerous others. It is one of the pre-eminent stretching techniques now being used throughout the MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL. But non-athletes can also benefit. Whether you are training for a fun-run, marathon, if you are a weekend warrior or are an office worker who just has poor posture and too much stress, FST can be a great benefit. You just have to try one session to see the amazing results!
What can I expect in a treatment?
You will need to wear work-out clothes or stretchy clothing like yoga gear. While you are lying on the table, the therapist will move your body and limbs into various positions of stretch. You will be guided through a sequence of cued breathing while contracting and relaxing your muscles as the therapist gently increases the stretch. This coupled with the breathing patterns and low strength output enhances the effectiveness of the stretches and actions of the therapist creating greater flexibility than you might achieve on your own.