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Stretching therapy is a manual therapy technique that involves stretching tight muscles and connective tissue to improve flexibility and range of motion. It is typically performed by a trained practitioner who will use passive, active, or assisted stretches to target specific muscles or muscle groups, fascia. The goal of fascial stretching therapy is to reduce myofascial tension and pain-free, enhance athletic performance, and improve physical function. Stretching therapy is often used as a preventative measure in sports massage and for the rehabilitation of various musculoskeletal conditions, such as strains, sprains, and back pain. It can also help improve posture and overall physical function.
Flexibility. The ability to move freely, without restriction; used interchangeably with mobility.
Mobility. The ability of structures or segments of the body to move or be moved in order to allow the occurrence of range of motion (ROM) for functional activities (functional ROM).
Passive mobility is dependent on soft tissue (contractile and noncontractile) extensibility; in addition, active mobility requires neuromuscular activation.
Muscle performance. The capacity of muscle to produce tension and do physical work. Muscle performance encompasses strength, power, and muscular endurance.
Principles of stretching The basic principles of stretching are:
• warm-up prior to stretching
• stretch before and after exercise
• stretch gently and slowly
• stretch to the point of tension but never pain.
Assisted stretching therapy can provide a number of benefits for the body, including:
Improved flexibility and range of motion: Through regular stretching, the muscles and joints can become more pliable, allowing for greater ease of movement and reduced risk of injury.
Relief of muscle tension and pain: Stretching can help to relieve tension and soreness in the muscles, which can be beneficial for those who experience chronic pain or muscle tightness.
Increased circulation: Stretching can increase blood flow to the muscles, which can help to bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells and remove waste products.
Improved posture: Stretching can help to realign the body, which can lead to better posture and a reduction in back pain.
Reduced stress: Stretching can be a form of relaxation and can help to reduce stress and tension in the body.
Increased athletic performance: Stretching can improve flexibility and range of motion, which can lead to better performance in sports and other physical activities.
Improved overall well-being: Regular stretching can improve overall well-being, both physical and mental.
Warneke, Konstantin, et al. “Sex Differences in Stretch-Induced Hypertrophy, Maximal Strength and Flexibility Gains.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 19 Dec. 2022,
Page, Phil. “Current Concepts in Muscle Stretching for Exercise and Rehabilitation.” International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2012, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/
“The Importance of Stretching.” Harvard Health, 14 Mar. 2022,
Health, 1Sports. “The Effects of Stretching on Performance : Current Sports Medicine Reports.” LWW, https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2014/05000/the_effects_of_stretching_on_performance.12.aspx
A passive stretch is a type of stretching exercise where the individual is relaxed and not actively contracting any muscles. The stretch is applied by an external force, such as a partner, gravity, or a prop such as a strap or foam roller, and is held for a longer period of time, typically 15-30 seconds, to allow the muscles to relax and elongate. The intensity of the stretch should be gradual and comfortable, avoiding any pain or discomfort, and it is important to breathe normally during the stretch, taking slow, deep breaths to help the body relax and reduce muscle tension. Passive stretching should be performed within the individual's range of motion and should never cause pain. If there is any discomfort, the stretch should be stopped immediately. Passive stretching can be performed on a regular basis, such as daily, to maintain and improve flexibility and is a great way to prepare the body for more dynamic stretching and physical activity.to anything, or set your text box to expand on click. Write your text here...
Active Isolated Stretching
Active isolated stretching (AIS) is a type of stretching exercise where the individual actively contracts the antagonist muscle before stretching the target muscle. The aim of AIS is to increase flexibility and range of motion in a controlled and targeted manner. AIS typically involves holding each stretch for only 2 seconds, followed by a brief release and repetition of the stretch 2-3 times. This allows the individual to isolate and target specific muscles, while also reducing the risk of injury or over-stretching. The intensity of the fascial stretch therapy should be gradual and controlled, and it is important to breathe normally during the stretch. AIS can be performed on a regular basis to maintain and improve flexibility and is a great complement to dynamic stretching and physical activity.
PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching is a type of stretching that involves both passive and isometric contractions of the target muscle group. It is a more advanced form of stretching that aims to improve flexibility and range of motion by using the body's reflexes to relax the muscle. PNF stretching typically involves holding a passive stretch for 10-30 seconds, followed by an isometric contraction of the target muscle for 6-10 seconds, and then a relaxation of the muscle for 10-30 seconds. This process is repeated 2-3 times for each muscle group. The intensity of the PNF stretch should be gradual and controlled, and it is important to breathe normally during the stretch. PNF stretching is effective for increasing flexibility and range of motion, but it should only be performed under the guidance of a qualified professional to avoid injury.
Warm-up prepares the body for exercise. The type of exercise to be performed determines the type of warm-up. The most effective warm-up consists of both general and specific exercises. General exercises may include jogging, general stretching and resistance exercises. Specific exercises include stretches and movements that are appropriate for the particular activity about to be undertaken. The possible benefits of warm-up prior to physical activity include.
• increased blood flow to muscles
• increased oxyhemoglobin breakdown, with increased oxygen delivery to muscles
• increased circulation leading to decreased vascular resistance
• increased release of oxygen from myoglobin
• enhanced cellular metabolism
• reduced muscle viscosity leading to smoother muscle contraction and increased mechanical efficiency
• increased speed of nerve impulses
• increased sensitivity of nerve receptors
• decreased activity of alpha fibers and sensitivity of muscles to stretch
• decreased number of injuries due to increased range of motion
• decreased stiffness of connective tissue leading to decreased likelihood of tears
• increased cardiovascular response to sudden strenuous exercise
• increased relaxation and concentration.