The idea of fascia stretch therapy was developed by Ann Frederick. It came about in the summer of 1995. This was when she was treating a football player. She would work with athletes at the Olympics to optimize their performance and fasten recovery.
Performing different stretching exercises is vital to maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system and reduce the risk of injuries. According to research, regular stretching improves performance and prevent strains and sprains.
In general, people associate stretching with low-impact movements that involve the back, hamstrings, and an elastic band. That being said, these conventional exercises do not stretch all the muscles equally.
For this reason, some people came up with a new stretching technique that targets the fascia. We refer to this as fascial stretch therapy.
For those unfamiliar with this term, here is a quick definition:
Fascia is a fibrous connective tissue that wraps around muscles, organs, ligaments, tendons, and other vital structures. Consequently, stretching this tissue gives you a sensation of deep relaxation and rejuvenation that cannot be obtained with other stretching techniques.
In this article, we will uncover the benefits of fascial stretch therapy and how this technique could improve your physical and mental health.
The benefits of fascial stretch therapy
Fascial stretch therapy offers several benefits, especially for athletes and people who often engage in high-intensity exercises.
Here are some of these benefits:
1. Recovery with no pain
Generally speaking, message and stretch therapies that aid in recovery after an injury are extremely painful. Consequently, many people defer from these methods and opt for conventional painkillers that carry severe side effects when taken for a long period of time.
Fortunately, fascial stretch therapy is unbelievably gentle, causing no pain whatsoever. This allows patients to recover from their physical injuries without having to endure more pain.
Furthermore, people often report feelings of relaxation, peacefulness, and calmness after fascial stretch sessions, which removes a primary factor that triggers chronic pain – stress.
2. Faster recovery
Fascial stretch therapy improves blood flow to the injured muscles, which accelerates the process of recovery by allowing repair enzymes, nutrients, and oxygen to reach the torn muscle fibers.
As a result, you will recover faster from injuries, allowing you to go back on the field as soon as possible. Moreover, this technique reduces the frequency of delayed-onset muscle soreness, which is pivotal to the performance of athletes.
Overall, fascial stretch therapy is a valuable technique for people who suffered mild to severe injuries.
3. Better performance
Over the years, researchers conducted several studies that proved the effectiveness of fascial stretch therapy in boosting physical performance; this includes faster running, improved endurance and coordination, increased flexibility, and the ability of muscles to lift heavier weights.
Interestingly, the American football team of Denver Broncos says they rely heavily on fascial stretching, going as far as praising this technique to be a contributing factor to winning the Super Bowl trophy.
4. Improved range of motion
Fascial stretch therapy is fantastic at breaking up scar tissue and preventing fibrosis of joints and muscles.
You see, after getting injured, the body recruits special cells known as fibroblasts, which work by depositing collagen fibers into the site of injury. These fibers are thick and stiff, leading to a diminished range of motion in the affected articulations.
Avoiding scar formation in key regions, such as articulations, is vital to maintain your mobility and flexibility.
The good news is that fascial stretch therapy might be one of the best techniques to reduce stiffness and improve mobility.
5. Less inflammation
Fascial stretch therapy stimulates the surrounding tissues to release anti-inflammatory compounds that temper down inflammation and prevent edema (i.e., swelling) and pain.
According to researchers, stretching the fascia by a trained expert can significantly lower inflammatory release and the hyperactivity of immune cells.
This could indicate the potential use of fascial stretch therapy in preventing inflammatory conditions and improving the symptoms of preexisting diseases.
6. More weight loss
Most people do not associate stretching exercises with weight loss due to their low-impact nature. The same applies to fascial stretch therapy, which does not aim to promote weight loss.
However, this stretching technique reduces pain after injury and promotes faster recovery; as a result of feeling pain-free, you are more likely to move around more, leading to inadvertent weight loss.
Note that weight loss is crucial for performance and morale, especially after a chronic injury that mandates a sedentary lifestyle, precipitating unintentional weight gain.
You can think of this benefit as a bonus to all the others listed above.
What makes Fascial Stretch Therapy different and unique?
Along with being passive, FST is active for the client. The intent behind FST is to re-educate the brain rather than just provide body therapy. It is meant to adapt to the uniqueness of the therapist and the clients’ individual needs. It is gentler in comparison to other stretches. It requires little strength and effort. The foundation of FST is working with minimum effort and not force the process. Only then can one achieve best results.
What to expect from a session of fascial stretch therapy?
During your first appointment, your fascial stretch therapist will ask you a few questions to assess your chief complaint and what you want to achieve from this therapy.
You can also inquire about any specific questions you have regarding this technique. Things like session duration, type of exercises performed, when to expect results, and how many sessions you will need.
Each therapeutic session will be tailored to your specific needs, with all the treatments performed on a table, using two straps. The purpose of straps is to hold one leg in place while the other one moves around freely.
After finishing the first treatment session, you will notice that your mobility has substantially improved. To take advantage of this momentum, your therapist will recommend a few exercises to do at home, which further contribute to boosting your flexibility.
In general, you need to do more than one session, depending on your initial complaints and final goals.
As for clothing matters, you can wear stretchy pants, shorts, and a T-shirt/tank top.
Who can take that therapy?
While it might seem like fascial stretch therapy is only useful for professional athletes, this could not be farther from the truth.
Regular people who get regular exercise and even those in a sedentary lifestyle can significantly benefit from fascial stretch therapy since injuries and limited articular range of motion is not something limited to athletes.
Before embarking on this journey, you may want to speak with your primary care physician about your intentions to start fascial stretch therapy. Your doctor will ensure that there are no contraindications to using this technique.
4 major reasons why Fascial Stretch Therapy is fast and effective!
- Parasympathetic response is immediately facilitated
- Pain is avoided
- Protective neural response is avoided
- Client gives up control and removes most, if not all, barriers to trust.
Fascial stretch therapy is an innovative technique that targets one of the most ubiquitous structures in the human body to improve performance and prevent physical injuries.
With the on-going research studies that address different aspects of this technique, scientists are optimistic about the potential uses of fascial stretch therapy in various fields of sports medicine.
Hopefully, this article managed to successfully address this topic. However, if you still have any questions, concerns, or something that you want to add, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.