Fascial Stretch Therapy or FST, is a unique table-based assisted stretching and training technique which counteracts damage to your fascia brought on by age or injury and creates lasting change in the body. It can dramatically improve your flexibility by lengthening the fascia and reduce or eliminate tight muscles. FST is pain free and uses gentle traction, resist-relax proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques, focused breathing and range of motion to help open up joints and restore fascial pliability and length. FST can benefit everyone from the teenage and professional athlete to the serious weekend warrior; from the working professional to our golden generation.
Did you know we lose about 10% of our total range of motion for each 10 years we age? Think about it! Combine what we lose with age and add it to loss of flexibility we incur with repetitive motion during training, injury, surgery, muscle stress, inflammation, hormones, varying ligament lengths & joint sizes, overall body mass, postural misalignment, medication and many other factors. We’re willing to bet at least two or more of those apply to almost everyone. All of these factors contribute to your fascia becoming knotted or bound up which is what actually causes that decrease in flexibility!
What is the Fascia?
Fascia is a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue that forms an interconnected system that spans the entire body. It envelops, separates and binds together muscles, organs and other soft tissues effectively becoming the “glue” that holds our bodies together. The fascia is where the sense of proprioception originates in the body. Proprioception is the sense of knowing where you are in the space that surrounds you. For example, when you close your eyes you are still able to touch your finger to your nose without poking your eye.
This is also where things can get “stuck” due to those factors we discussed above. Deep or superficial adhesions, or scar tissue that binds two or more muscles together, cause interference with neurological communication. This can cause the pain receptors to become essentially glued down which leads to inflammation and irritation. The only way to address this is through fascial release which breaks up these adhesions. Once freed, the result is a decrease in pain and increase in range of motion. This enables the body to move better, have better posture and an overall improved quality of life.
FST “engages the whole myfascial system by targeting the muscles as well as their neighboring joints, ligaments, tendons and bones.” – Chris Frederick, co-director of the Stretch to Win Institute
How does FST work?
As we mentioned FST is a unique table-based assisted stretching and training technique that uses gentle traction, resist-relax proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques, focused breathing and range of motion to help open up joints, and restore fascial pliability and length.
Traction is a big part of FST. By opening up the joint with traction we eliminate the jamming together of the joint that can occur during a regular self-administered stretch. This creates optimal mobility of the joint and helps the effectiveness of range of motion during the session. This also helps decrease any pinching or pain during the stretch that is most often felt when someone is in a deep stretch. Release of adhesions in the joint capsule and surrounding connective tissue allow for maximum lengthening of all connective tissue throughout the body. Combined with PNF techniques or contraction of the muscles during the stretch, we’re able to achieve a much deeper stretch and improve muscle elasticity which further improves range of motion and overall performance of the muscles surrounding the area of focus.