Fascial Stretch Therapy
Michael Pineault Explains What Fascial Stretch Therapy Is and Why You Need to Know About It
Gone are the days when stretching involved simply touching one’s toes or doing a standing calf stretch or statically stretching one’s quadriceps.
In the past ten or fifteen years, the health and fitness world has grown by leaps and bounds in its understanding of the body and, specifically, its understanding of how greater flexibility can be achieved in a healthy and effective way.
Naturally, a greater understanding has led to more advanced schools of thought on proper stretching practices. Static stretching, i.e. the stretching that you most likely grew up with in gym class, has been replaced by things like resistance stretching and facilitated active stretching techniques and a type of stretching called Fascial Body Stretch Therapy, otherwise acronymed as FST.
FST is a relatively new school of stretching technique originally developed by Ann and Chris Frederick of the Stretch to Win Institute. Since its development, Fascial Stretch Therapy has acquired an ever-increasing number of adherents and practitioners in the world of personal training and physical therapy.
So, what exactly is Fascial Stretch Therapy?
Well, first you have to know what the fascia is within the body. The fascia is a network of layered connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, joints and bones.
As knowledge has grown as to how the body moves and functions, it’s been discovered that decreased joint space and restricted fascia can lead to joint diseases, increased scar tissue formation and decreased blood flow, among other negative side-affects.
Fascial Stretch Therapy, therefore, focuses on stretching or derestricting the fascia and joint capsules so as to attain improved flexibility, strength and athletic performance, as well as to achieve pain relief.
How is this done?
Fascial Stretch Therapy is a system of table-based stretches that is typically done through the assistance and guidance of an FST-trained health professional, such as a physical therapist or a trained personal trainer.
As the number of practitioners of FST has grown, the therapy’s ability to increase flexibility and athletic performance has received a lot of attention. However, there’s a reason why FST is called a therapy – that’s because Fascial Stretch Therapy also serves as a physical therapy for those suffering from a number of physical ailments.
Michael Pineault, a Canadian-based personal and fitness instructor who runs a fitness studio that incorporates FST, is well-aware of the multiple and varied benefits of this particular form of stretching.
Michael Pineault: “One of the things that attracted me to Fascial Stretch Therapy when I first learned of it is the fact that it can treat or help alleviate a range of physical disorders, like joint dysfunctions and chronic headaches and pinched nerves. In this and other respects, [FST] really is a powerful and exciting technique.”
Michael then adds another point regarding FST: “I really encourage as many people to learn about the technique and to experience it first-hand with an FST trainer ... However, Fascial Stretch Therapy is a technique that requires a trainer, at least at the outset. The stretches that are incorporated in FST can be done on one’s own, but it can be hard to master and it takes time.”