Fascial Stretch Therapy for Better Flexibility

You'll never stretch the same way after trying fascial stretch therapy

Credit: Robin Turner

Fascial stretch therapy is an excellent way to improve your flexibility

To help improve my flexibility, I recently tried a novel treatment called fascial stretch therapy (FST)

For this I went to see Robin Turner, a colleague who is a kinesiologist, fascial stretch therapist and co-owner of Body Engineering Personal Fitness.

Having seen many techniques come and go in the fitness business over the last 25 years I tried to keep an open mind going into the session but will admit I was skeptical as to how much FST could help me, if at all.

As it turns out I was blown away by how effective FST could be. And I was also pleasantly surprised to learn the principles and philosophy behind FST are very much aligned with my own conclusions regarding flexibility and stretching after extensive research.

How Fascial Stretch Therapy Works

While FST looks like other forms of assisted stretching, it has some unique characteristics.

FST uses traction and a multi-dimensional stretching technique to increase a joint’s full range of motion and to affect deep to superficial muscles. Typical stretching does not follow this approach.

It also follows a logical anatomical progression to work through the entire chain of muscles throughout the body. FST is very participant oriented by using the stretch reflexes of the client to help improve the muscle response.

My Experience with FST

Before beginning treatment, Turner does an assessment to determine which areas are tight and restricted to guide his treatment approach.

With me, Turner spent the entire hour-long first session working on my hips. He stretched the hip flexors and glutes on each side by taking them through various movements designed to take the tissue through multiple planes of motion. Some of the stretches were uncomfortable but I wouldn’t say they were downright painful. My body was just moving in a way it wasn’t accustomed to.

But unlike a simple assisted static stretch, Turner also instructed me when to contract and relax the muscles as he moved them. This engaged my nervous system to help relax the muscle.

After the session my hips felt amazingly more mobile and I felt like I had more space in the actual joints. My hips could move more freely and I walked with a lightness I didn’t have before the session. The results typically last 48 to 72 hours though they will last longer following successive treatments. And doing proper stretching between sessions will also increase how long you’ll keep the increased flexibility and mobility.

Stretching and Flexibility Resources

Stretch to Win is the website of FST creators where you can find therapists all over the world. You can also buy the book and a DVD with FST-based stretches to do on your own between treatments.

To get certified, therapists have to undergo a five-day, 40-hour course. For additional levels they must take more courses and have at least 100 hours of patient contact.

Robin Turner is a level II therapist with more than 1,000 hours of practical experience, plus he’s a registered kinesiologist and personal trainer. I’ll personally vouch that Robin knows what he’s doing and if you’d like to try a session with him contact Robin through Body Engineering Personal Fitness Inc.