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Advanced Soft Tissue Therapy, Inc. DBA A Good Massage: St Petersburg Florida's BEST Massage Therapy
1506  54th Avenue North, STE 1, Saint Petersburg, FL 33703  727-522-4263


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Assisted Stretching and Flexibility

Does a  small child's flexibility remind you of what you might be missing?  Most of us get tighter and less flexible as we age.  Lack of flexibility can affect our health and our ability to perform athletically.

There are many types of flexibility exercises:  Static stretching, ballistic stretching, functional stretching, passive stretching, active stretching, PNF, Assisted Stretching, (Active Isolated Stretching promoted by Aaron Mattes) Resistive Stretching, Meridian Stretching, and Yoga.

Improper stretching can harm your health or retard your performance. In fact, injuries are common from over stretching. A good example would be to attempt to over stretch hamstrings muscles when a severe lumbar lordosis is evident. (hamstrings are likely already overstretched.)  Even though the hamstring feels taunt and ROM is limited it is a mistake to try to over stretch it until the cause of the tightness is corrected. 

Another example would be to statically stretch for long periods of time prior to an athletic event. Research has conclusively proven that this retards performance where as an active range of motion type of warm up has been shown to improve performance.  Stretching after an event is a wonderful way to help with recovery. Just remember that the muscle can easily be hurt by overstretching after an event due to electrolyte imbalances.

We teach and use The Aaron Mattes Method Active Isolated Stretching as well and an adaptation of the Relax/contract method of PNF. (Travis was a full time paid employee of Aaron Mattes for most of 1993 at Aaron's clinic in Sarasota where he worked with many professional athletes.) There are many advantages to using the Mattes Method: wonderful gains in flexibility; low probability of injury;  low cost, and you can do the work yourself without paying a therapist.  (A 10 foot soft rope purchased at Home Depot is less than $4.00.)  

We also have adapted the contract-relax method of PNF to help with muscle spasms or limited ROM at our clinic. Our method begins with a active stretch of the client's muscle just short of causing the muscle spindle to fire. The patient is then instructed to meet the resistance of the therapist by doing an isometric contraction of the muscle that was just before being stretched. (There should not be a contest to see who is the strongest)  The isometric contraction is held for 6 seconds.  The patient is then immediately instructed to relax.  We wait until the therapist feels that occur. When the relaxation occurs we passively stretch the muscle and repeat the sequence as described before. We continue as long as there are gains in ROM. 

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