Flexibility is essential to full range of motion. When muscles are shortened and tight, they do not allow movement to occur throughout the joint. This can lead to wear and tear on the portion that is being over used, and can develop faulty movement patterns as the body attempts to compensate for altered motion.
I am fortunate to have both studied and received the benefits of a unique method of assisted stretching called the Mattes Method. The Mattes Method employs a brief 2 second stretch and release that is generally repeated 10-15 times. This allows a release to occur without triggering a contraction response by the muscles, typical in longer stretches. It is easier to tolerate and extremely effective in improving flexibility, breaking down adhesions and scar tissue, and stimulating the lymph system to eliminate metabolic waste and inflammatory fluids. Many clients end their sessions with a series of assisted stretches.
In the last year and a half, I have explored Yoga as a way to increase my own flexibility and gain a better understanding of its benefits and influence. It has proven invaluable in reducing pain and strain in my hips and knees. Shoulder and spinal rotation has increased by measurable degrees. Needless to say, I am happy with the results and eager to share the benefits with my clients. A word of caution, however: awareness of how far to push it, and what constitutes overstress is key. Individual modification of postures is often required in order to prevent injury or to accommodate the novice. Good instruction and a sensitivity to one’s own limitations is required!