Updated: Aug 4
By Twisted Shamrock Studios & Spa
Stretching has long been known as an effective way to improve range of motion, mobility, and fitness. While at-home stretching can be beneficial, assisted stretching – such as with a physiotherapist, personal trainer, or specialized stretching gym or spa – offers even more potential health benefits.
Stretching is becoming increasingly popular for many reasons. It can be used for a variety of health benefits, from simple relaxation to improving range of motion and mobility. With the advancements in assisted stretching, it is even more effective and enjoyable. Assisted stretching is defined as stretching with the help of an external force, such as a prop, equipment, or an assisted stretching practitioner.
Assisted stretching techniques can include Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR), Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), Cupping, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) and massage gun. These techniques are effective and can help to promote overall health, increase range of motion, improve mobility and strength, and enhance athletic performance.
The benefits of assisted stretching for overall health extend beyond the improved range of motion and mobility. This type of stretching is beneficial for adults, children, athletes, and those with neurologic disorders. Assisted stretching can lead to several health benefits, including inflammation reduction, pain relief, stress relief, swelling reduction, improved circulation, and even improved sleep patterns.
Alongside traditional stretching, incorporating specialized methods and equipment such as cupping, massage guns, and even Kinesio tape can also help to maximize the desired benefits of assisted stretching.
*Cupping provides a different type of pressure to muscles, helping to stimulate blood flow which can lead to improved flexibility and reduced inflammation.
*Massage guns can be used to break down the tight fascia, allowing for improved circulation, greater flexibility, and increased range of motion. This is especially useful for athletes dealing with injuries.
*Kinesiology tape can help to provide stability and support while stretching, allowing users to achieve deeper stretches while also providing support to muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Overall, assisted stretching offers a wide range of potential health and fitness benefits for people of all ages, sports backgrounds, and neurological conditions. With the range of specific methods and equipment available, as well as personalized and individualized assistance, this type of stretching can help to provide an easier, more comfortable,
*PNF is a technique that uses isometric muscle contractions to improve the range of motion, followed by stretching of the contracted muscle.
*PIR is another type of assisted stretching that helps to relieve tension in the muscle by using an iso-static movement. By combining isometric and isotonic movements your body can get the best out of each.
*Another type of assisted stretching is AIS which uses a specific, limited motion with a light stretch that is held for only 2-3 seconds at a time. AIS involves the practitioner using their hands to gently help the individual stretch into the desired position, which can help to lengthen muscles without overworking the connective tissues in the body.
Using implements such as cupping, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), and massage guns can also help maximize the benefits of assisted stretching. Cupping can help reduce inflammation and increase blood circulation, while IASTM and massage guns can help to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and stimulate the release of endorphins. These implements can help to boost the health benefits of assisted stretching beyond what traditional stretching can provide.
Assisted stretching has a wide variety of health benefits. It can help improve your range of motion and mobility, enhancing your ability to do everyday activities. Stretching can also help to relieve physical pain due to chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and other neurological disorders, the general daily activity causing pain/tightness, and mental pain such as stress and anxiety. It is also beneficial in relieving muscle tension and increasing core strength, which in turn can improve balance and athletic performance.
Overall, assisted stretching can be a great addition to any fitness routine, offering a wide range of health benefits for adults, children, and athletes alike. It can improve the range of motion, provide pain relief, and help to reduce inflammation and swelling. Additionally, it can aid in improving core strength and balance, improve sleep, and even help with digestion.