ACTIVE/PASSIVE ASSISTED & PNF STRETCHING
Stretching things out
Sometimes you just need a good stretch; the process of gradually applying gentle force to lengthen and lubricate muscles and joints. The benefits of combining stretching and massage are to decrease muscle hypertonicity (overly toned and tight muscles) and provide pain relief. Having a good, effective stretch can increase the blood flow to your muscles; this leads to a better range of motion that helps your joints to stay in alignment. It is a remarkable way to improve health without wear and tear, yet contributes to overall wellness.
Active & Passive Assisted Stretching
Assisted Stretching is a very powerful way to release ligaments and joints. It can be done either passive or passive/active depending on your specific needs.
Active is when you actively contract your muscles to produce or help with the movement. Passive is when I move your muscle while you remain in a relaxed state.
When applied during your massage, it improves the benefits of stretching.
Achieve a greater muscle stretch
Control of the stretch intensity
Increased relaxation during a stretch
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching
—or PNF stretching for short—tricks your nervous system into relaxing the myotatic reflex, allowing your muscles to stretch farther than what's achievable with a traditional style of stretching.
You know the feeling when you stretch a muscle? It feels great as you lengthen until you move closer to the end range of motion and it begins to feel extremely tight and even painful. It's like an elastic band that doesn't want to stretch any farther. This is called the myotatic reflex, which is your body's natural way of protecting your muscles from stretching too far. It's possible to overcome this to an extent by slowly stretching and exhaling to decrease tension in the muscle.
With my assistance in PNF stretching, together we stretch a muscle and then forcefully contract that muscle before stretching it again. As you move into the stretch after the contraction, you will "magically" be able to stretch further than you did before. This allows you to create more length in the muscle and receives a greater flexibility benefit from the stretch.