DONíT CORRECT STRUCTURAL IMBALANCE,
and How to Be More Effective in Your Stretching
helps. But done alone, it rarely aligns structures, and for many people,
doesn't even create much length.
There are two general reasons why.
One has to do with the body's condition. The other has to do with
If we use a fascia spreading,
interconnected kind of stretching exercise approach, then all stretching can
become more effective.
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by Lou Gross, School Certified Master Postural Integrator,
27 years successful experience
Body Structure & Bodymind Performance Specialist
A Resource for Body Professionals of all Kinds
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I show you, and explain to you, how to do any system of
And I take you through special Stretching Exercises
that do the Bodywork System's Benefits
A great tool with massage therapy.
In the body condition, when the fascia's hard, it doesn't stretch very easily,
if at all. Or just the softer areas stretch and the harder spots stay
just as short as before. Plus, some tight areas get what I call
interlocked; a number of tight parts are keeping each other from lengthening.
Further, when the
fascial sacks around adjacent muscles are stuck to each other, the
stretching doesn't spread them apart; it tries to lengthen a bunch of muscles
that can't fully do so.
But I do recommend stretching, and it can be done much easier after these
problems are corrected with the Bodywork. Yet,
there are also a number
of problems in the way most people stretch.
First of all,
many people stretch only for joint mobility; it's so they feel "warmed up."
This does not create much new fascial length between the joints where a
tremendous amount of shortness remains. This method helps relieve "muscle
tightness" but it doesn't improve the condition of "fascial shortness". They're
two different things and I'll explain the difference in the upcoming section on
the difference between this Bodywork and massage.
problem is that many people try to stretch long areas all at once. They'll feel
a "give" and think they're done, but they've only gotten some of the softer
tissue to give way along a whole line of muscles. There are also other
parts that are being held by other, interconnected muscles located in another
part of the body's "system."
If you modify
your technique, more length can be created with stretching than with the usual
methods. Fascia lengthens when we bring blood into the area to soften the
tissue. And you can get the blood and warmth in there by stretching one little
section at a time.
Here's a technique. You just keep your mind focused
"inside" the area of the
muscle tissue you're wanting to lengthen. You take your consciousness from
your head and put it in the muscles. Pull the fascia from "inside" this
area, and also keep the rest of your body from tensing up.
Then you move along step by step,
pulling the fibers of collagen through the fluid of the fascia, a few inches of
length at a time. Feel a spreading of the tissue, like bread dough or
window putty, through each section lengthwise, and from one side of the arm, leg
or torso to another.
Pull the length over
a long section of the whole body, so each area that lengthens enables the other
areas in that line to lengthen. It becomes like a long "taffy pull."
After pulling a number of areas, go back to the earlier areas and notice how
much more that can now go.
As you put yourself into a position,
like bending sideways, you should start with a moderate bend, then pull to
lengthen the fascia in one area, then bend in the next area, and pull gently in
that area, and so forth. Try to feel your way through the structure to get
length in all the muscle-fascia across the whole body right to left, and front
to back. You could even use an anatomy book and focus your attention on
your own different muscles that you see in the pictures.
Above all, please do not make a lot
of strained effort trying to pull something that doesn't give way easily.
That is not what this method is about. Something that's held tight is like
that either because your physiology is not getting enough fruits, vegetables and
seaweeds, and/or because something further out into the arms or legs is holding
the area you're working on tight.
Foods for Structure.
Please, do the spreading approach,
and try putting your mind inside the areas you're stretching. That can
help bring more blood to the area and you might find the fascia gives way
better. If you feel tightness, you can also do some self massage and even
lie on tennis balls up and down your spine, as they show in do it yourself
Know your body and treat it nicely.
Stretching Exercise Video
information, too. It might give you more ideas about what to do.
The stretching exercise technique
on my video and in my classes and sessions, is like
"Bodywork Stretching." It loosens what we think is muscle
tightness but it's often really fascial shortness that needs to be spread out.
And it can help when getting Structural Integration
Bodywork, like Rolfing (r), Hellerwork (r) and Postural Integration, as I did
when I had these treatments. Later, it enabled Myo-fascial release
other body therapies like massage & reflexology to do more for me. This
mind into body approach enables the recipient to get the mind more into
the body to release further into the treatment.
exercises, and my stretching method, are especially good for
getting a long enough, thorough stretch to fix many muscle tightness causes of back pain
and to increase the agility in athletic performance.
shortcoming in the way stretching is commonly done, is that lot of yoga, in
particular, tries to create more spinal flexibility, but without doing
adequate stretching for the legs, pelvis and arms. It's physically
impossible to get the spine to lengthen fully, and easily, without lengthening
the limbs. They have too many interconnections into the torso muscles.
Some people even get pains in their backs when they try to do a stretch for the
spine while their thighs and buttocks are still very bunched up.
of interconnected shortness causes lots of other difficulties. Many stretching
positions don't allow the fascia in between the joints to lengthen, again
because the emphasis is just on stretching at the joints. The positions
keep some muscles tight while trying to lengthen others. That will indeed
create stretch at the joints. But that kind of tensing actually prevents the
fascia in the other, interconnected areas from lengthening out.
To be most
effective, we must lengthen the body in an interconnected way. And I explain
this principle in my other books & articles. The technique just
above can help you pull and spread fascia, inter-connectedly, in all your
stretching and yoga positions.
If you do
stretch a lot, you can, of course reduce tension and avoid some injury. But all
the athletic trainers I've seen have a lot of bunched-up tissue. And even
senior yoga students and teachers I have seen, have misaligned structures. Iíve
even treated six of them.
I've found that most stretching instructors don't
know very much, if anything, about Structural Integration and lengthening
fascia. So adding the Bodywork treatment, and this stretching information, can
make your stretching better as well as improve your physical performance.
fascia has been softened with the Bodywork manipulations and you've been
Structurally Integrated, even partially, you'll most likely be able to stretch
much better and even pull yourself back into proper alignment after you bunch-up
from daily activities. Firm massage will also spread more tissue than it
did before and move more fluids and waste products out of the muscles. So
they'll do more for you.
In my work I
show people ways to lengthen the fascia in all the parts, not just the ones that
give easily. And I teach where to lengthen to get the body aligned, no
matter what treatment you want to use. Then I teach Integrated Movement
techniques that show you how to use your body in a new way, in your daily
activities, to take advantage of the abilities of your improved structure.
can obtain my Structural Stretching video, with detailed explanation, for your own use.
Very helpful for people also getting Structural Integration Bodywork
including Postural Integration, & for people getting massage therapy, too.
The massage relaxes the muscle tightness and sometimes softens the tissue.
Then the Stretching has an easier time lengthening the fascia.
Exercises really helped me after I received
Rolfing (r) and Hellerwork (r). I applied in my yoga classes and other
stretching exercise classes what I knew and felt from these treatments, and from both doing and
receiving Postural Integration in which I was trained. The stretching
results were longer, easier and more enjoyable.
These have shown to be really
great for athletic performance. I even coach people with back pain through
a lot of this system even over the phone.
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And please remember to read my free
Foods for Structure article on site. It will help you select foods to
add into your lifestyle that can make your stretching and Bodywork do more for
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Integration's Benefits for Yoga - Article
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Includes 4 Yoga Teachers
Structural Stretching &
Energized Relaxation -Video/Audio
Read the detailed explanation of my Video that
to stretch much better & do bodywork while stretching.
About Master Postural
Integrator Lou Gross
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Louis A. Gross All Rights Reserved