8 Body Sense
Olympic athletes, sedentary office workers, and chronic-pain
patients can all enhance the effects of massage by stretching
between sessions. When done as part of a health-care regimen,
massage and stretching increase joint flexibility and relax overused
muscles. Get the most out of stretching, and your next massage, by
following these stretching ABCs.
Awareness. Stay aware of sensations when you stretch. You are more likely
to pull a muscle if your awareness is somewhere other than on your body.
Breathe. Holding your breath is counterproductive.
Emphasize your exhale to get a better stretch.
Connective tissue includes ligaments, tendons, and
fascia. We think stretching is good for our muscles, but
our connective tissues benefit just as much. The best
stretches for connective tissue are fluid and elastic.
Dynamic stretching is a new way to warm up. It is
based on research showing that using traditional,
static stretches before exercise can actually impede
athletic performance. Dynamic movements
are more effective than static stretch holds in
improving performance and muscle elasticity.
Ease into and out of a stretch several
times before holding it. This softens
The ABCs of
Combining Massage and Stretching Can
Increase Joint Flexibility and Relax Overused Muscles
By Anita Boser