My Stretching Theory
The importance of stretching has been ingrained in our minds since we were children. It has always been an integral part of any exercise and fitness routine. Has anyone ever questioned its value? Does it really help improve range of motion? Will it relieve muscle tightness permanently? Does it prevent injuries? I say absolutely not! Static stretching can cause more harm than good. The human body just does not like being forced into positions in which it does not feel comfortable. The tightness is a warning sign telling us not to push further into that movement.
Our Amazing Body
We need to trust the human body and its ability to heal and protect itself. Think about what happens when you accidentally cut yourself. The skin breaks and the bleeding starts. As long as the body is in the right position to heal itself, the blood will clot and a scab will form. That scab will protect us from anything getting in our blood stream until new skin forms. Our body is brilliant. We do not have to do a thing and it will heal on its own.
So what does this have to do with stretching you may be wondering? When a muscle in our body becomes tight and does not allow full range of motion in a joint, it is just our bodies way of protecting us. Let me give one more simple comparison to make some more sense of how a muscle works. Take a credit card and try to bend it. It will definitely bend but will initially come right back to its original form. Keep doing this over and over. Slowly, the card begins to lose its shape and a crack develops. A few more bends, and it breaks in half. The credit card starts in an elastic stage where it can bounce back. It ends up in the plastic stage with a permanent tear. That is exactly what stretching is doing to your muscles. With every stretch, you are pulling on and creating tears in muscle fibers.
A brilliant chiropractor from the 1970's named George Goodheart coined the phrase, "Muscle tightness is secondary to muscle weakness." This is proven everyday in my office. On an energetic level, the body can sense the weaknesses. It will immediately tighten itself to stop us from getting into a position where we are not strong and safe. Static stretching is forcing your body into a position that it clearly does not want to be in and goes against our natural defense mechanism. Think about what happens if you actually do become more flexible and you miss a week or two from the stretching routine. More than likely you will tighten right back up. It has been proven that holding a stretch beyond the comfort level can actually make your muscles weaker as well. Static stretching can cause more harm than good. The human body just does not like being forced into positions in which it does not feel comfortable. The tightness is a warning sign telling us not to push further into that movement. I want to be very clear here. I am not saying do not warm up. Preparing your body for an activity is vital. Dynamic movements that generate blood flow through full ranges of motion are extremely important in preventing injuries.
One of the main goals of a Reactivation session is to locate these energy blockages that can cause muscle tightness and correct them. I have seen dramatic increases in range of motion and flexibility within just a few minutes of the session. A great and common example of this is hamstring tightness. Many think this is the cause of back pain. I see it as the opposite. The hamstrings tighten up to protect you from energetic weaknesses in many areas that affect the lower back. Once Reactivated, the hamstrings immediately loosen and an increased range of motion returns. I should also mention that symptoms including pain in the lower back seem to disappear as well. I welcome the chance to show you how this works at any time during a session.