Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) is a unique system of table-based assisted stretching performed by a Certified Fascial Stretch Therapist.
FST is a multi-directional stretching technique incorporating gentle joint traction and a modified proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) technique, or contract-relax technique, to increase a joint’s range of motion. FST works in a deep – to – superficial direction, stretching from the joint capsule out to the extremities. It focuses on the fascia that surrounds and encompasses the muscles and joints in order to elongate, free up restrictions, realign and correct imbalances in the fascia which can cause chronic pain and or discomfort.
FST differs from traditional assisted stretching in the intensity, duration and angle of stretch. FST is intended to have minimal to no discomfort, using 5-50% of your strength versus 100%, and holding the muscle contraction for 3-4 seconds versus 6-10 seconds.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is flexible specialized connective tissue with contractile properties which surrounds muscles, bones, joints, blood vessels, and nerves, binding some structures together while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other.
There are three different types of fascia; superficial, deep and visceral fascia. They are classified according to their location in the body, their distinct layers and their functions. Superficial fascia is connected directly under your skin and covers your whole body; deep fascia surrounds individual muscles, and divides groups of muscles into compartments; visceral fascia surrounds the organs and suspends them in their cavities.
Fascia gives structure to the body, and provides support and protection. It is the most prevalent tissue in your body and the most influential structure affecting your flexibility. Age, trauma, injuries, poor posture and inadequate or over-training can distort, twist and tighten the fascia. This can cause pain and discomfort in joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
What can I expect during treatment?
You will need to wear stretchy clothing such as yoga gear as it is very participant oriented. You will be instructed to time your breathing with the muscle contract and relax system as the therapist moves your limbs and body at various angles through stretch positions. When assisted stretching takes place on the treatment table, comfortable straps are used to stabilize the limb or part of the body that is not being worked on. This, coupled with the breathing and low strength output, facilitates relaxation of the person and their nervous system, enhancing the effectiveness of the stretches and actions of the therapist creating greater flexibility than you might achieve on your own.
How can this benefit me?
By maintaining optimal flexibility you can decrease body discomfort, improve posture, improve athletic performance, reduce risk of injury, decrease stress, and increase balance, symmetry and awareness of the body, allowing your body to function more efficiently.