Reciprocal Inhibition reflex: This is the key to efficient strengthening of the body, particularly when you want to establish a new motor pattern, and in stretching it is ‘free’ flexibility, once you know how to use it.
Post-contraction Inhibition reflex: Once in a position where the stretching sensation is being experienced, an isometric contraction is done for a period. This is stopped, and a full breath taken. The re-stretch is performed during the period of the breath out. New range of movement is the result.
Apprehension reflex: this term refers to the projection of, or anticipation of, the discomfort of going deeper into any stretch or movement. People in pain experience this more acutely. Apprehension is the major limiter of returning to any former range of movement. Defeating the natural self-protection mechanism that this term denotes, will change your experience of working with your body forever.
These three elements are part of what makes stretch therapy different to yoga. "the latest research suggests that this improved flexibility is achieved by remapping the somatosensory cortex’s map of what the mind believes the body can do – without this kind of stimulation, the map is resistant to change; this resistance is one of the characteristics of homeostasis. ST uses the bones, fascia, muscles, and nerves of the body to remake what the brain believes the whole system can do. “Stretching” does not change muscles at the cellular level: it changes the system’s perspective on itself. This has to be experienced before its full force can be appreciated." Kit Laughlin.
HOW IT WORKS
Stretch therapy is a system that begins with simple movements progressing to more complex movements. Partial poses or movements develop into more dynamic and extended positions. Our day to day lives tend to set up a pattern of limited ranges of movement, which can lead to shortening or a feeling of stuckness in the body. The aim of stretch therapy is to release built up tension, manage pain and increase the range of movement in the body. A sense of feeling more open, taller, or having more space in the body, is often the way people describe how they feel after a stretch class.
· Releases tension and pain
· Increases mobility and flexibility
· Promotes body awareness
· Develops strength and stability
· Supports rehabilitation
· Helps prevent injury for Athletes
· Promotes deep sleep
· An evolving system
· We use of a number of core techniques from the original “PNF” manual including Contract–Relax, and a number of new techniques that have emerged over the last ten years, including pulsing, long-holds, micro-movements, directed breathing, and more
"42% of men and 47% of women spend an average 6.3 of their 8 hour shift in sedentary and sitting jobs. Long sitting times were associated with exhaustion during the working day, decreased job satisfaction, hypertension, and musculoskeletal disorders in the shoulders, lower back, thighs and knees"
Journal of life style medicine Published online 2017 Jul 31. doi: 10.15280/jlm.2017.7.2.69