Assisted stretching can be useful in athletic training, but it is also accessible to the general public through stretch facilities. A therapist can help your muscles become more mobile and flexible using various stretching techniques. Here are some common types of stretching that stretch therapists use:
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) involves passively stretching a muscle while engaging in an isometric stretch to increase flexibility. This technique deceives the nervous system into relaxing the myotactic reflex — the muscular contraction that occurs in reaction to stretching. The targeted muscle extends more than other stretching methods.
PNF follows a contract-relax-stretch pattern with specified holding times. The therapist passively stretches the muscle to its comfortable end range while resisting contraction. The client then relaxes and breathes as the therapist stretches the muscle further. A specialist repeats this process several times.
Active Isolated Stretching
Active isolated stretching (AIS) is a gentle assisted stretching technique where the therapist holds a stretch for several seconds and then repeats the process. It resembles strength training because it uses a repetitive idea. AIS seeks to gradually increase the range of motion of the isolated muscle as the therapist performs the stretches repeatedly.
During isolated stretching, the targeted muscle relaxes while the antagonistic muscle contracts. It helps an individual stretch the muscle while it is at its most relaxed state and achieve a full range of motion.
Dynamic Body Stretching
Dynamic body stretching is a form of active isolated stretching that consists of simple stretching routines. Unlike static stretching, which involves stretching a group of muscles in the same position, dynamic stretching involves motions that cause the muscles to stretch. Dynamic stretches are meant to get the body moving. There is no sustained holding of the stretches.
There are computer programs that measure a person’s flexibility and range of motion that can support this stretching technique. The right software provides the therapist with a visual representation of weak or unbalanced muscles and the areas that are most susceptible to injuries. Using this information, the therapist applies their knowledge to correct the imbalances.
Fascial Stretch Therapy
Fascial stretch therapy increases the nerves’ mobility, muscle, and fascia flexibility by focusing on the fascia (connective tissue that lines through your body.) It aims to first open the joints before introducing a stretch. The fascial stretch technique involves rhythmic, soft, and painless movement that stretches the body outward from the center. It helps a person stretch more effectively while also addressing joint decompression.
Vibrastretch Assisted Stretching
The Vibrastretch is an assisted stretching technique that combines proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, advanced VibraCussor technology, and assisted active stretches. It is a quick and painless technique that helps relieve localized fascial tension. The VibraCussor’s moderate stimulation combined with PNF enhances blood flow, eliminating nerve discomfort.
Find a Stretch Studio Near You
Combining various stretching methods can help improve your mobility and flexibility, affecting your overall lifestyle. Several stretch studios nationwide have trained specialists who help clients with stretching. Find a stretch studio that uses comprehensive stretching techniques for the best results.
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