Facilitated Stretching can help you improve flexibility, coordination, strength, performance, and your enjoyment of sports.

18 September, 2014

Tip from massage therapist Maria Kojima.
Facilitated Stretching can help you improve flexibility, coordination, strength, performance, and your enjoyment of sports.
Also called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching, it is an effective and easy-to-use method that involves stretching the muscle, contracting it isometrically against resistance, and then stretching it again to increase range of motion. 
 
Here's a facilitated self-stretch for the Quadratus Lumborum (QL).  The QL connects the hips to bottom of the ribs and attaches at the lumbar vertebrae.  It is a deep abdominal muscle which laterally flexes the trunk and elevates the hip (think hip to ribs).    It also helps to stabilize the low back and is therefore usually involved when low back pain is present.
  1. Sit comfortably, with spine lengthened.  Place a towel or stretching strap under your left foot, and hold the other end in your left hand.  Side-bend to the left as far as you can, taking up any slack in the stretching strap.  This lengthens the right QL.
  2. Using the stretching strap to prevent your motion, try to sit up straight, isometrically contracting the right QL for 6 seconds as you keep breathing normally.
  3. After the isometric contraction, relax, breathe, and deepen the stretch by bending farther to the left.
Don't like to stretch? Try facilitated stretching with one of our trained massage therapists. Assisted facilitated stretching can often be deeper and more effective. It's also a lot more fun, especially when the therapist "spot" massages troublesome areas.
~Maria Kojima
« previous post   |   next post »