In the past decade or so, scientists and health care providers have begun to recognize the importance of something called fascia in maintaining both movement and function of the body. Fascia is a kind of connective tissue that both separates and connects your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and internal organs. Fascia runs throughout your body in pliable sheets or bands of tissue, not only to hold body structures together, but also to allow tissues to move smoothly against each other.
You’ve likely performed stretches before activity as a way to loosen up a muscle or avoid an injury. Usually the kind of stretching people do as a warm up is what’s called static stretching, which involves holding a position for a prescribed period of time.
Fascial stretching is different, in that it’s a therapeutic stretching method that concentrates on your body’s fascia, not just on your muscles. It involves active stretching, while your body is shifted through a variety of movements, such as rotating your limbs, or stretching diagonally, following the fascial lines in your body. By moving your body through the fascial lines, planes, and patterns, your therapist is able to get a much greater range of motion during each stretch.
The benefits of fascial stretch therapy include:
- Improved flexibility
- Increased range of motion
- Helps to maintain your body’s functionality & mobility
- Enhances your posture and balance
- It stretches your body in the way it should be moving; in many directions and patterns.
- Provides faster recovery after physical activity
A fascial stretch therapy session is one-on-one and hands on. Your therapist will assess your needs, based on your health history, a series of questions, your areas of concern, and an assessment of function. Each session is tailored to your specific circumstances, and involves a series of movements or stretches that are guided by your therapist. Each session also incorporates your breathing in a way that enhances the stretch and help to release tight muscles and tissue.
Fascial stretch is compatible with many other kinds of healing therapies. It can be used for injury recovery, overall flexibility, or to enhance your athletic performance. If you’ve been stretching statically for months or even years, and feel like your body is still tight, fascial stretch may provide the flexibility and range of motion that you’re seeking.