Alive and Well


Stretching Basics

Who Should Stretch?

You. Me. Everyone.

-Please check with your RMT for which stretches to do, duration, and frequency of stretching.
-If you have had recent surgery, are pregnant, or have an underlying medical condition, please
 take some extra time to learn stretching that is specifically appropriate for you.
-You may wish to consult your physician if you have any doubts or questions.

Why Stretch?

Be good to your body. Every day we stress our body and every day we have the opportunity to be good to ourselves. Massage therapy is helping you and you have the capability to help yourself. You can optimize your state of well being by committing yourself to 10 –15 minutes per day of self-care, and help the effects of your massage last longer!

Stretching Benefits...
-Increases range of motion.
-Restores length in shortened tissues.
-Reduces muscle tension.
-Prevents injuries such as muscle strains.
-Develops awareness of your body.
-Promotes circulation.
-Feels good.

When to Stretch?

Anytime. All the time. Make it work for you.

Incorporate Stretching into Your Life...
-Set aside a specific time during the day when it suits you (e.g., in the morning after getting up,
 sitting at your desk, during your afternoon break).
-Before and/or after physical activity (either recreational or for work, including repetitive motions).
-Be opportunistic – waiting for the phone to ring, during commercials while watching TV, while
 you are on the phone.
-Motivate yourself – every time you look at the clock, whenever you see the colour yellow,
 put sticky notes up in the bathroom, whatever might work for you.
-Take a class (stretching, yoga).

How to Stretch

Get some guidelines from your RMT. Do a little reading on the Internet or in a book about stretching. Take a class.

Stretching Absolutes...
-Your stretch should be relaxed, sustained, and focused.
-Do not bounce or stretch to the point of pain; “no pain, no gain” is not true for stretching – the
 stretch will feel, well, stretchy, but shouldn’t hurt.
-Think of an elastic band being lengthened (gently, not beyond it’s range).
-Unless specified by your RMT, always repeat the stretch for the other side of your body.

      Step one
      -Begin the stretch to the point where you just start to feel a mild tension, an easy stretch.
      -Relax as you hold the stretch.
      -The feeling of tension should decrease as you continue to hold the stretch; if it does not,
        back off a bit.

      Step two
      -Move into your stretch just a little bit further until you feel a mild tension.
      -Hold for 10 – 30 seconds, or longer.
      -The feeling of muscle tensions should decrease as you continue to hold the stretch; if it
        does not, back off a bit.

      Step three
      -Repeat the stretches at the frequency suggested by your RMT.
      -As a general guide, repeat the same stretch three times per session, and do the stretch
       two to three times per day, every day.

If you ever have concerns about the stretch, perhaps you think you're 'not doing it right,' please don't try the stretch again until you ask your RMT for clarification.

Stretching Pages and Pictures:

Neck Stretches
Shoulder Stretches
Arm Stretches
Back Stretches
Hip Stretches
Leg Stretches