Myofascial Stretching; how is it different?

P1000072I would estimate from what my clients tell me, that maybe ten percent of them stretch before starting to exercise. And of those that do stretch, maybe only half of those use myofascial stretching as opposed to traditional stretching. Typically, people are trying to help themselves feel better, but in reality, they are sabotaging their efforts by not stretching correctly or at all. Of those that do stretch, they can enhance their performance and reduce injury by using myofascial stretching.

So, what’s the difference?

Traditional stretching which is still widely used by most physical therapists, athletic trainers and personal trainers teaches you to hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and usually for 3-5 repetitions. Some you may notice that some people even bounce while engaging the stretch. While this type of stretching can provide some positive effect on your muscles, it is only for the short term. To fully engage the soft tissue for a truly effective stretch, it is necessary to release the fascia too.

Why is this important?

We know from science that fascia is stronger than muscle, so it follows that if there is a unreleased fascial restriction preventing the muscle from reaching its potential it will not function properly and in fact, may lead to injury.

Myofascial stretching is different in two basic ways. First, it does not force the stretch like traditional stretching. Start the stretch and when you feel the first hint of a pull, stop and back off from that. It’s almost like an imaginary stretch in your mind. Allow your body to lead you and follow it as it releases. The second major difference is that we hold the stretch for three to five minutes. It takes at least a minute and a half to three minutes for a fascial restriction to get one to two releases, so that’s why we suggest holding longer than that.

You can use myofascial stretching in place of your regular stretching no matter what area you’re trying to stretch. Also, with myofascial stretching, you can use a 4″ ball (as shown in the above photo), a foam roller, a Nola Rola ™ or whatever else you typically use while stretching.

Just remember, never force the stretch and give yourself enough time to stretch before you exercise. You will be amazed at how much better your body feels when you start using myofascial stretching in your routine.

Call me at 916-363-7173 if you have questions about this article and to set myofascial release therapy appointments. I offer one hour individual instruction covering myofascial stretching, use of the 4″ ball and foam roller. I will customize the class to your specific needs.

You can also contact Sara Beacham at B Fit Physical Fitness with questions about stretching. She specializes in helping runners of all levels reach their goals. Her website is https://www.chicobfit.com/ and FB page is https://www.facebook.com/chicobfit?fref=ts.

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Clearing the Clutter

Cluttered desk; Albert EinsteinFunny how Albert Einstein’s mind came up with this question.  I often have to stop and clear my mind to find what I’m trying to remember or solve.

Just the other day as I was looking for a particular replacement part for a window shade I had to dig through piles of stuff on the shelf in the garage. “I know it’s here”, I said to myself. I just ordered and received it a couple of months ago. I felt frustrated about wasting time. I started chastising myself for not putting it in a proper place so it would be easy to find when I needed it, when it occurred to me that I had way too much clutter.

Stepping back and looking at the pile on the shelf, I was able to see what a mixed up mess of stuff was there. Screws, nails, rubber and metal washers, chain link fence ties, brackets, a nylon rope splicer (really?), plumber’s tape, etc. Well, you get the idea, too much clutter to find anything easily.

Clutter also fills our minds so it’s hard to find things there as well. How many times have you forgotten where you put something or forgotten to do something? So why do we take time to clean up and organize the physical clutter in our lives but not the mental clutter?

When I get treated with John Barnes myofascial release, I sometimes find my mind flooded with so many thoughts at the same time it’s stunning how that’s even possible. So much, so fast, so overwhelming. Well, not really overwhelming, more like amazing. You see, I have learned to clean the mental clutter with prayer and intuitive trust. That is, I trust that the most important things will surface and be there when I need them. Conversely, if something trivial or unimportant comes up, I toss it away without a second thought.

To clarify, don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of overthinking things. Trust you intuition to be right and true in all things. If you mull over something too long, it grows and becomes paramount in your mind which makes it harder to ‘find’ other important things. So clear the clutter.

Now, where’s my phone? I can’t find my phone!…

 

10 Things Your Doctor Won’t Tell You

As an alternative medicine practitioner, specifically a myofascial release therapist, I see many clients who are disillusioned with their doctors and/or the medical system in general as it is now. Here are some thoughts of mine born from those client complaints. I hope they help you or someone you know.

medical photo

1) Yes, you can fire your doctor. You can change doctors any time you wish and you don’t even have to give them a reason. Even if you just don’t like yours, or just don’t ‘feel’ comfortable with them, by all means, change.

2) Your pharmacist probably knows more about your prescribed medicine than your doctor does. Most docs know what the meds are supposed to treat, but not how they may react with other meds you are taking or the best time of day to take them.

3) You don’t have to take a prescribed medicine. This is true! Many people have adverse side effects or reactions to medicines, so go back to your doctor immediately and talk about other alternatives. But, before you do, talk to your pharmacist (see number 2 above).

4) Your doctor will tell you to lose weight but not how to lose that extra weight. They have good intentions, but docs have little knowledge on how to do it, so you will have to do your homework and own research on various ways to lose weight.

5) ‘You need to exercise’ says your doctor. How many of you have heard that but have not been given any suggestions of what type of exercise or how to start? No? Then talk to your friends and see what they are doing or get the name of their personal trainer so you can get a program built specifically for you.

6) Most doctors don’t offer, but you can get a second opinion if you are unsure of or don’t agree with what your doctor is diagnosing.

7) Similarly, you can ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist if you want a more definitive opinion. Most primary care docs don’t offer because they are the ‘gatekeepers’ and are told to keep costs down, but don’t let that stop you from getting what you need.

8) Don’t waste your appointment time asking your doctor for advice on what your insurance covers. They won’t tell you, and for good reason, they don’t know, so ask the office insurance specialist not the doctor.

9) Here’s a big one in my book. Your doctor won’t tell you that there are non-medical alternative medicine treatment options available to you. In fairness, they probably don’t know about them. If they do, most doctors are skeptical of them. So, this is for your own awareness. Seek out what alternative therapies there are for you to try.

10) Most doctors will never say to you that they don’t know what is wrong with you so they will use words like, it ‘may’ be this or ‘we’ll try this’, or ‘this is going around’, you get the idea.

So, above all, take your power back from your doctor. After all, it is your body and your health and wellbeing that are at stake. And don’t be afraid to ask others you may know for advice and guidance. After all, we all have valuable insights and experiences to share.