Why is Stretching Important?

Those of you who have received a massage treatment from a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) have most likely heard this at the end of your session, “Drink plenty of water and STRETCH!

What exactly is stretching? It is the sepaFull Mat Repration of the origin and insertion of a muscle, or attachments of fascia or ligaments, by applying a constant pressure at a right angle to the fibres of the muscle or fascia. More easily said, you are trying to extend a muscle to its full length.

Why is this the most common home care recommendation? Because it makes our job easier? Partially. However, the benefits of stretching go far beyond loosening tight muscles.

There are many different ‘types’ of stretching. Some examples; ballistic, dynamic, active, passive (or relaxed), static, isometric, PNF and fascial. While each type are executed differently and may be recommended at different times of your day, exercise routine, or during different stages of injury healing, they all have the same basic benefits.

  • Increase/maintain complete range of motion of a joint
  • Relieve muscle soreness
  • Improves our capacity for activity (stretched muscles require less energy for completion of movements)
  • Decreases unnecessary neuromuscular tension, promotes general body relaxation, reduces emotional stress
  • Relieves muscle-joint stiffness associated with aging
  • Increase in musculotendinous extensibility
  • Elongates the fascia, provides the binding together muscle support system
  • Helps prevent joint sprains, muscle strains/tears, including preventing re-injury to prior muscle trauma
  • While warming-up, it increases tissue temperature by an increased metabolic rate
  • While cooling-down, it increases blood flow to fatigued areas, eliminates cellular toxic waste products, reduces soreness, relaxes muscle, and improves flexibility
  • Increases a muscle’s strength potential
  • Reduces tightness that may contribute to pain, spasm, or cramping
  • A complimentary tool in recovery during the rehabilitation process

Undoubtedly, adding stretches into your day or even dedicating a couple of days to a longer stretching practice will benefit your body, life and mind.

Happy Stretching 🙂

Suzanne Shynkaruk, RMT