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  • Robin Hill LMT, RN

Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST)

I recently traveled to Chandler, AZ in February to get certified in Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) to continue my education, knowledge and skills so I can help all of you even more than I already do. Ann and Chris Frederick have developed the FST system of stretching and are bringing it to the world at the Stretch To Win Institute.


I am getting questions such as: What did you learn? What is it? How can it benefit me?


Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) is a table based assisted neuromyofascial stretching method that focuses on the connective tissue system (fascia) rather than isolated muscle treatment developed by Ann and Chris Frederick. This can also be performed on the ground, mat or field. FST is unlike traditional stretching that isolates and stretches specific muscles. FST creates lasting change with gentle, painless assisted stretching, and dramatically improves your flexibility by decompressing your joints and unwinding the connective tissue “web” of your body. Lack of flexibility and “tightness” is the cause of most people’s day-to-day aches and pains. These aches and pains can significantly affect your health and quality of life. The sessions are customized stretching for your needs.

What is fascia (FASH-A): The body has a connective tissue system that is a three dimensional web which wraps around muscles, nerves, organs, bones and just about everything else head to toe. This connective tissue is called fascia (thick white coating on a skinless chicken breast, yes that is fascia). It is a huge factor that affects your flexibility.


Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF): What is that you ask? FST-PNF is an evidenced based technique that uses neurological reflexes to get even more range of motion than from just stretching alone. PNF is an extremely effective way of using reflexes to boost muscular relaxation. This has been shown to be superior to static stretching in some literature.


Research in sport science and other disciplines repeatedly demonstrates that stretching using specific proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques yields the most gains in range of motion in the shortest amount of time. PNF was developed in the 1940s as a complete system and philosophy of rehabilitation that used principles of neurological reflexes to improve the functioning of the body in people who had polio and other neurological disorders. Since research at that time demonstrated that PNF worked so well with that population, modified PNF techniques were developed for people who participated in athletics and wanted the benefits of increased flexibility and strength. Recent research has demonstrated that the specific technique of modified PNF called contract-relax-agonist-contract (CRAC) and contract-relax (CR) has had the best overall results in improving flexibility. Ann and Chris Fredrick ‘s own research has shown that assisted PNF contract-relax stretching, combined with the use of special table straps to passively stabilize the non-stretched limb, results in even better and longer-lasting ROM (Frederick 1997). They describe their version of this technique, which we call undulating PNF. Suffice it to say here that this technique employs well-known neurological reflexes that enable the body to take advantage of windows of opportunity in getting more range of motion and longer-lasting flexibility from stretching than would otherwise be possible.


What Can I Expect From a FASCIAL STRETCH THERAPY SESSION?

FST sessions are performed on a massage table with comfortable padded straps that stabilize the parts of the body not being stretched. Clients typically wear loose-fitting or athletic clothing. You will breathe and ease into a gradual series of gentle, but deep stretching movements. The experience is relaxing and pain-free.


What is FST good for: Improved quality of life, faster recovery from fitness and athletic activities.

Here are some of the benefits of FST:


1. Increase Range of Motion & Flexibility - greatly improved.

2. Muscular Balance

3. Improved Sports Performance - and recover faster.

4. Reduced Pain - often greatly reduced or eliminated.

5. Reduced Risk of Injury

6. Improved Posture - Look and Feel healthier and more confident.

7. Improved Muscle Function

8. Improved Circulation

9. Decrease Compression and Impingement in the Joints

10. Improved Energy

11. Improved Sleep - wake up rested and refreshed.

12. Reduced Stress - Immediately and significantly reduced.



FST is supported by extensive evidence-based studies found at https://www.fasciaresearchsociety.org



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