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To fully reap the benefits of a massage therapy session, it is beneficial for therapists to help clients with stretching exercises prior to massage. Clients love when therapists go the extra mile, and stretching covers that mile.

To enable the body to take full advantage of the benefits from massage therapy, start with a stretching routine. Stretching is especially effective when used before massage therapy sessions to help clients whose goal is to restore the health of muscles and body tissue. An added benefit of stretching is that it can help to relax and soothe clients prior to starting massage.

Sports massage and massage as part of a rehabilitation plan are ideal types of massage therapy that benefit from stretching prior to a session. The main function of stretching prior to massage is to help relax muscles and improve circulation. This contributes to improved flexibility and quicker recovery from physical injuries.

Different stretching techniques can be utilized prior to a massage session.  Active stretching is one of the more common stretching techniques. Active stretching involves positioning the client’s body a certain way to help lengthen specific muscles or groups of muscles. This type of stretching is often popular for athletes and can be used for most clients. Active stretching involves staying in an elongated position for up to a minute at a time. This gives a client’s muscles enough time to adapt to the stretch. As a result, the client is able to slowly build strength and greater control over his or her body.

Another popular stretching technique is yoga. Yoga uses breathing, meditation and self-awareness during active stretching.  The combination of these techniques helps a client to prevent muscle injury. Yoga has also been found to be an effective technique to help treat carpal tunnel syndrome in clients. Yoga uses specific body poses, which focus on building strength and stretching muscles. Some of the most common positions in yoga include the lotus position, downward facing dog and warrior pose.

Active isolated stretching is yet another commonly used technique, and is most often used when working with athletes. Clients hold this type of stretch for only a few seconds at a time.  This kind of stretching is called muscle lengthening, and improves range of motion without causing trauma or tension. This technique helps to improve elasticity of muscles. Active isolated stretching can also be an energy boost for clients.

We are holding a Stretching Techniques Class on July 15 from 9am-1pm. In this class, students will learn how to stretch a particular muscle group that may ail clients. Stretching tips and body mechanics will be addressed, along with review of muscle origin, insertion and action. Quads, erectors, and hamstrings are just a few of the groups that will be covered during the class.

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