Categorized as: Therapeutic

Why should I get FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY?

Glutes assisted stretch

Fascial Stretch Therapy is coming to  your favorite personal training studio in Kitsilano! In this article, we will be explaining:

  • What is Fascial Stretch Therapy?
  • What are the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy?
  • How it fits in your exercise program.

What is FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY (FST)? 

FST is a pain free, assisted method of stretching that will help you increase your flexibility and fitness. It is complementary to any stretching or foam rolling you might be doing at the moment.
 
The session is designed to re-balance your body as a whole, and decompress your joints before applying a long lasting stretch. It will help you recover between those hard fat-burning or weight-lifting sessions, and get you ready for your next workout.
 
During an FST session you will be laying comfortably on our massage table. A personal trainer will be moving your body in a sequence of movement and guiding your body, gently pulling it in the right path. You will feel almost instantly more relaxed, lighter and will be moving with more ease. Usually those nagging aches will be reduced after just a couple of sessions. 
 
Make sure to wear athletic clothing as you don’t want those tight jeans keeping your from getting the best results.
 
Book your first appointment today and move pain free and with more ease. 
 
 

What is fascia?

Fascia is the term we use for all connective tissue in your body. Fascia includes but isn’t limited to tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue around the muscles. In a way, fascia is the connection between your muscles, bones and nervous system.
 
This notion of fascia helps us understand and see the body as a whole, not as separate compartments. 
 
Life factors can cause the fascia to be short and tight which can transmit stress unevenly throughout the body.
 
Tight fascia could be responsible for painful movement, increased muscle tightness, strains, tendon injuries, headaches, scar tissue formation, decreased blood flow and reduced energy levels.
 
For example a tight shoulder can explain the pain you have in your elbow, and increasing the mobility in the shoulder could be what you need to be pain free.
 
 

What are the differences between fascial stretch therapy and other modalities of stretching?

There are any different ways you can stretch your body, but fascial stretch therapy is different in several ways:
  • FST targets the whole fascial net, not just muscle.
  • FST stretches without pain. “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply here. We relax the muscle/fascia and gently elongate it. One of the goals is to have you feel more relaxed after just one session!
  • FST uses multiples planes of movement. It is a dynamic stretching modality, in other words, you won’t be holding a stretch for a long period of time, rather your body will be guided properly in a movement sequence.
  • FST uses traction: it decreases the compression in the joint capsule and allows for a deeper stretch without pain
  • FST is an assisted form of stretching, you will be on a table, and the therapist will be moving your body.
 

What are the benefit of Fascial Stretch Therapy?

Hamstring assisted stretching

Gui, personal trainer at rep1 fitness is assessing the hamstring flexibility of his client.

 
  • Increased mobility even after only one session.
  • Better appearance: a better posture and muscle symmetry will help you look better
  • Better recovery: improves blood flow to tired muscles, which helps you to recover faster from your tough training sessions with less soreness.
  • Reduced pain and risk of injury by reducing the compression or impingement that can happen in overused joints.
  • Improved energy throughout the day.
  • Reduced stress level: breathing will be a key part of your session. Breathing deeply activates your para-sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for your relaxation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How does FST fits in your workout routine?

Stretch therapy is a complementary part of your training program. Therefore you still need to do your cardio, do your fat burn sessions and lift your weights. And of course, you still have to works on those trigger points by spending some time on the foam roller.
 
Most people need a couple of session per week to start. However, once your body is in a balanced state again, one session per month should be enough to maintain the range of motion you earned with FST.
 
Also remember to avoid doing a high impact workout right after an FST session. Instead, you would rather want to gently use the new range of motion, and not re tighten your body right away.
 
Keep this in mind and your FST sessions will help you have a better posture, have better workouts, and have more energy throughout your day!
 

But Gui, why did you bother learning about fascial stretch therapy?

As many people in the gym know, I love to lift heavy things, including myself. And I want to keep exercising, sweating and rock-climbing for a long time!
 
As I get older, I realized that I should not only plan my workouts, but also my recovery. FST helps me recover better and faster by decompressing the joints (especially after a heavy kettlebell day), by allowing a better nutrient exchange in the join capsule and relaxing the nervous system.
 
After a quick restorative fascial stretch session, I feel more relaxed, looser, and more important I feel I can move better. After experiencing all the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy, I had to find a way to offer that service to my clients. That’s why I decided to learn the technique and I am now a certified FST provider in Vancouver!
 
Call us and book your first appointment at your favorite fitness facility!
 
Book your first session now

Rep1 Fitness, personal training facility is now providing Fascial Stretch Therapy!

 
 
 

Foam Rolling

If you are a gym rat and have been for the past decade, you’ve noticed a change in the gym. People have been starting to use this weird roller and grimacing while sitting on it. You are probably aware of the name of this practice: foam rolling or self myo-fascial release (SMR). But why are people doing it if it hurts so much?

WHAT IS FOAM ROLLING?

  • Foam rolling, or SMR, is a fancy term for self massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. It can be performed with rollers, Theracane, trigger point balls or even your bare hands.
  • Trigger points are “knots” (a bunch of overactive muscle fibres) that can be found in the muscle. It is very easy to find them: they hurt under pressure. A common example is the tenderness you feel when you put pressure on some specific area of your IT band (side of your thigh).

WHY SHOULD YOU SPEND TIME ON THE ROLLER?

There are many reasons why, here are the most common:

  • foam rolling can assist in releasing trigger points and breaking up adhesions and scar tissue.
  • foam rolling increases the blood flow in the muscle.
  • foam rolling forces the muscle to relax. It stops the overactive muscle from starting the movement and allowing the under-firing muscle to work properly. This gives you a short window of time where you can teach your body a proper movement pattern. As you probably guessed, this is my favourite reason.  An example would be the client that performs push-ups with a shoulder shrug: chances are the upper trapezius are overactive, and start before the rhomboids can kick in, releasing the upper traps with SMR and stretching allow you to perform a proper push up (article coming soon).

  • I like to use rolling as a compliment to stretching. Imagine an elastic band with a knot in the middle, if you pull on it, the elastic stretches but the knot doesn’t. Foam rolling allows you to “untie” the knot before stretching, making your stretching session more efficient.

HOW NOT TO DO IT

  1. do not simply roll back and forth. It takes longer to get the relaxation that you are going for
  2. Make sure not to roll the same body part every day: you will be rolling your muscle/tendon to a pulp, creating dysfunction, and increasing the chances of injury.

HOW TO DO IT

There are two techniques that I like to use:

  1. find a tender spot and hold for a while (usually 30 seconds). You want to hold the tender spot until the pain disappears. I don’t like to give a number because it adds tension/stress to a practice that is designed to actually relax you. I like to tell my clients to breathe deeply while rolling, inhale through the nose, and exhaling completely through the mouth. This helps with the relaxation. The more relaxed you are, the quicker the pain will go.
  2. find a tender spot, and then stretch/contract the muscle. This is a more “aggressive” technique. Yes, it is my pick! One example of this method is rolling your quads (front of the thigh), then curling the leg as you would do in a hamstring curl 3 times.

A few muscles that could typically use some SMR love:

  • Calves
  • Quads
  • Hip external rotators
  • Lats
  • Rhomboids
  • Pecs

Let’s recap:

  • make sure you spend some time rolling before or after your work out, it can really help you stay injury free
  • roll out different muscle groups, and make sure you don’t always do the same spot.
  • do some stretching after to make sure the knot is completely released

Take The Time!

Taking time to do the “extra” is usually not one of the priorities with regards to our training regime but it is one of the most important!

What is the “extra”?  It’s taking and making time to take care of our bodies, stretching protocol, foam rolling, massage, physio and sleep are all examples of the “extra”!  How often do we hear or say, I just didn’t have time after a run, ride or workout, to do the “extra”?  The answer, to often!
Lets all get to bed early and use this as a reminder to make the time, we will all feel better!

Happiness

This past week, Lorea and I went to see a massage therapist who recently launched her own business. I have only ever been to one other massage therapist and was decently pleased. This woman, Laurie, was amazing. She immediately identified that my spine curves to the left, something I was unaware of, and she was able to identify, in detail, which parts of my back and quads were tight.

While I was waiting for Lorea to finish receiving her massage, I saw this poster hanging on Laurie’s wall and thought I would share the quote:
“Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We making a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
If this quote resonates with you, share it with those closest to you and pass on the positive message!