Exciting news! I’m going to my level two Fascial Stretch Therapy certification class! In the past year, I know that I have made a difference in the lives of my clients, from the 70ish woman with Fibromyalgia who found relief from her symptoms to the 50-something tennis player who is working to stay flexible and on his game. Becoming a level two FST therapist will add a new dimension to my skill set.
I’ll be heading off to Tempe, Arizona for a week in October for a very intense 35 hours of training, in addition to the required studying of books and videos before I actually go to class. I’m counting down the days.
As outlined in the book, Stretch to Win, FST can enhance performance in all sports. Many therapists work for professional sports teams and work with football, hockey, basketball and baseball players. I myself work at a country club, where I work mostly with golfers and tennis players.
As a runner I have found a lot of relief from Fascial Stretch Therapy (one of the side benefits of a five day class is all the stretching that we get to experience).
What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?
Fascial Stretch Therapy (or FST) targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement. There is no pain, not even discomfort. Instead, the gentle movement is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.
A Fascial Stretch Therapist will evaluate their client, looking for imbalances, as well as the source of those imbalances. Then using breath to help with movement, the therapist will first warm up the joints and muscles with undulating stretching to maximize blood flow. Then using techniques of slow undulating movement, as well as traction (gently pulling to create space in the joint) and modified PNF ( proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), synchronized with the breath, the therapist will stretch the entire body, following a logical anatomical order, to lengthen muscle, increase range of motion, and improve flexibility.
How Fascial Stretch Therapy Can Make You a Better Runner
Fascial Stretch Therapy increases functional flexibility. While static stretching can cause some gains in linear flexibility, FST uses multiple angles along the muscles-fascia lines, which translates to better overall, more functional, flexiblity.
Fascial Stretch Therapy enhances recovery. FST can reduce muscle-fascia adhesions, relieve muscle soreness and flush the lymphatic system. It also increases blood flow which helps speed up recovery time. Athletes in fascial stretch programs have been found to recover more quickly between training sessions and improve active range of motion compared to other stretching methods.
Fascial Stretch Therapy can help restore balance and symmetry. The FST therapist evaluates your condition, then creates a program that will restore balance and symmetry to your body. FST has been known to correct leg-length discrepancies through decompression of the joint capsule in the hip.
Fascial Stretch Therapy can increase your speed and quickness. Healthy fascia is fast and reactive and supports the need to move quickly. Improving range of motion and elasticity can maintain stride length and you will be better able to absorb impact.
Fascial Stretch Therapy can reduce the risk of injury. Lack of mobility can lead to compensations and increased risk of strains. Because FST focuses on the connective tissue, it can reduce these risks.
Fascial Stretch Therapy is designed for your specific needs. Unlike regular static stretching, an FST therapist treat both sides of your body differently, based on her assessment of your needs.
Fascial Stretch Therapy is calming, soothing, and pain free. Running is a high-impact endeavor, and many of the treatments for running related issues can be painful. FST calms the nervous system, relaxes the body, and is pain free, all the while producing incredible results.
Fascial Stretch Therapy can address specific running issues and injuries. While not a medical therapy program, your FST therapist can work with physical therapists to help resolve common running issues, including plantar fasciitis, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, and other gait-related injuries.
The conclusion? Fascial Stretch Therapy is an important part of a runner’s performance and recovery program.
Have you ever had a Fascial Stretch Therapy session? Have I intrigued you? If you’re interested check the Stretch to Win website for a therapist near you.
Athletes in the Coachella Valley/La Quinta area! Contact me for a special introductory rate and summer specials! You can experience FST in the privacy of your own home.
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