If you Google "FST" or "Fascial Stretch Therapy", not much will come up for you to fully understand it. It's shrouded in mystery full of benefits that is only heard & read of, but we have more for you.
Know everything you need to about FST, from when you start a session, assessments, engagement during a session, physiology, benefits, & where you can find a Fascial Stretch Therapy..The Ultimate guide to Fascial Stretch Therapy.
Enter the Fascial Stretch Therapy
FST(fascial stretch therapy) is developed by both the amazing Ann & Chris Frederick in the early days of 90s, & it's a treatment table based stretch, done by a qualified provider. It's the first table based stretch therapy developed, paving way for other brands to replicate & compete(word has it that it all started with FST!), however (if you haven't read the article about Dr Stretch & FST, read it here), FST stands on its own platform being the industry Gold standard for stretching based therapy training from when it started & still is a demand from many gyms, clinics & sports centres. It is pain-free, incredibly gentle, & custom to individual. Belt(s) are used to help secure clients from compensational pattern while maneuvering & transitioning from one move to another, the belt(s) plays a crucial role securing clients on the table & avoiding anyone from rolling over & falling off the table.
They has been tirelessly developing the FST course constantly & evolving with keeping the course of its current development in science world of fascia & the body systems, so every course is updated with latest research collated & contributed by them. They have written multi best sellers on stretching & optimising human function, which can be bought & stored on kindle or other electronics, Fascial Stretch Therapy, & Stretch To Win.
The Stretch To Win facility is exclusively for the training of Fascial Stretch Therapists, which has seen people from over 100 countries, which includes graduates from UK, Singapore, Taiwan, Mexico, Australia amongst others. The facility can easily accommodate 50 people in a session, & without losing its capacity to keep their stringent quality control by a systematic teaching pedagogy which is seen in graduates to being a provider for FST.
To date, they have trained thousands of individuals, groups, companies, organisations, of which many are fitness / health professionals such as Personal Trainers, Physicians, Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, Osteopaths, Rehabilitation specialists, Licensed/ Registered Massage Therapists, & other manual therapists. More & more people are still coming on board to learn FST & applying it successfully.
For those who wants to learn how to apply FST to a professional settings, you can find out more information here.
Is FST a stretch session?
Yes & No. During any FST session, stretch will be used and applied in both active & passive method by the therapist. However stretch is not the only component in the session, it takes into consideration of how one can facilitate the nervous system to release its brakes from any form of tension, both mental & physical. If you look at the word, "nervous system", you can see that whatever you do with the body, you must ensure that it doesn't get nervous! The components that are taken into considerations are:
"Movement back and forth in a regular rhythm". Slow passive joint oscillations allows the nervous system(software) to bring the connective tissue(hardware) to bring your body into a slightly more down time. This is because the brain loves repeated movements that is slow and non-intrusive, such examples can be found in the simplest of life moment when a baby cries, dad picks the baby up & oscillate through all angle, with slow, non-intrusive oscillations(if this doesn't work, give it to mom).
Small controlled oscillations helps with proprioceptors around the joints as well by waking up the dormant nerves that has been either compressed for too long by either muscles or misaligned of the affected joint and may have been cut out from blood supplies. Joint oscillations helps facilitate flow in & out of the affected area, help gently stretch the ligaments, tendons, nerves, & muscles to gently stretch and slow the nervous system down from a heightened state of awareness. It's important to know that these oscillations are done in a very skilfully manner not to provoke both the muscle & golgi tendon reflexes because when it does trigegr the reflexes, neither you nor the therapist can stretch you!
There are two types of tractions that may be used during FST session(s). One of which is known as a sustained traction, & the other is intermittent traction. The difference in these two is that a sustained traction is used to generalise the affected area to relax, flush blood back into the area when the traction is released. The other(intermittent), is to gently allow the affected joint to glide, flush blood in & out, to facilitate function & of course relaxation to the area, this starts to actually move the joint from dormant to slightly more active passive way. The latter also allows any fibrotic tissues to find elasticity and even facilitate regeneration of new fibroblasts if done correctly under controlled induction of creating new vectors of movements & stretch to, which will create new connective tissues, allowing healing to take place.
This plays the biggest role in any treatment to pain. When you are angry, sad, surprised, in pain, it changes how your posture is and how you breathe. The breath is innervated by the autonomic nervous system which means that if your body is going through stress, it automates you in the fight of flight mode, & if gone unnoticed, you will go in the cycle of pain. If you haven't read how the breath affects us, read it here.
Breath as well allows your body to increase oxygen consumption, which is closely related to healing. The higher the concentration of that blood flows around your entire body systems, the better it can rid of any waste product, creating an ever flowing flow of blood containing rich nutrients, vital to the functions of the bodily system, healing the body. When you have tight muscles that restricts your movement, the will be a high chance that that area of your body is being constricting precious blood flow towards & away from the area, which may have supplies to the nerves, arteries, lymphatics, & of course the muscles.
During FST session, you will be taken through a simple way of breathing to help facilitate your mind & body from a sympathetic mode to a much more relaxed mode known as para-sympathetic mode. Breathing, coupled with stretching will help you to relax further into the stretches, decrease any pain that you may be experiencing, & help decrease both stress & tension.
4. Finesse of movement
Movements during FST is never fast nor jerky, unless specific protocol calls for. Fast, jerky movement engages the muscles spindles/ golgi tendon relfex & having the, engage will not improve any range of motion, in fact it will shorten your range even further which is a natural physiological to ensure that your limbs are protected from any form of injury. During the session the therapist will skilfully facilitate to enhance the reflexes to slow down & allow stretching to happen by sedating it through finesse of movement. Movement via the therapist & the client is more of a romance between the nervous system & the body. In any case this is what makes FST such a gentle therapy session that can be enjoyed with so much benefits both mentally & physically.
Mechanics of FST
"As pictured above, there are many of us that don't realise how our body is holding a "particular strain pattern". This strain pattern(s) can be felt when assessing using FST or any form of fascial assessment as you get to feel the whole body with a glance of a touch"
As humans, we stand upright, walk, sit, sleep on the side, run, jump & crawl against gravity amongst all other movements that we are capable of producing. We have a slightly more complex lifestyle than any being on earth, which means, life is dynamic & sedentary as well (ironically), but all of us are battling against gravity. Gravity can be either a friend or an enemy, relative to our posture, & most of us are stuck around the trunk altogether with rotations or torsions holding our body. Each assessment FST does, allows us to see the body in a multi dimensional /dynamic kinda way(so to speak) & informs the therapist see where the lines of tension(s) are. As it is, most of our trunk(torso) is affected (pictured above) as to how we sit, stand, breathe, & emotional state of mind/ body is, at the moment, or if there was any injury causing compensation(s). FST aims to stretch the connective tissue from the trunk(core), & work outwards or distally to the extremities. This helps the body sort out any kinks or tension that's being held into a pattern. If you do a mirror test or take a picture of yourself from the front / back, you get to see how your body holds tension or is holding torsion, from the trunk.
Other stretch system out there aims to stretch the body in the classic anatomical way, muscles by muscles. FST take a global approach by stretching the connective tissues & assessing the strain/ tension of the whole body because a pattern of tension isn't only found in a muscles, but found globally!
During the session, the therapist may also ask of you to contract a chain of muscles along the lines of your restrictions, then to allow a stretch to passively follow right after the contractions. This method is referred to by a few names which includes, MET (muscle energy techniques)/ or PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). Which, if not done by a professionally trained individual, makes it no better than trying self stretches at home or on the bed.
Apart from which, the target of a progressive session may be to bring more elasticity to the muscles, tendons, increase/ improve blood flow to the joints, muscles, decompress the joints & may include the spine(head to toe), & lastly to bring your body out of any distortion, allowing them to be in its natural state of ease.
Are there any other stretch therapy?
Sure there is, check them out & see how they are inevitably similar, yet so vastly different from the practitioners/ providers, to what it can offer a client, & so on.
In terms of global approach of detailed assessments via the fascial networks & strain patterns, you can see that FST provides a more complete system to approach your neuro-musculoskeletal pain related condition(s). It's a system of employing all the important parts of taking a person as a whole & treating it as a whole, not muscle per muscle ,as the classical old school anatomy of thought was. As science develops, so has Fascial Stretch Therapy.
Why choose an approved FST provider?
Simply because of keeping oneself in the forefront of the developments of science & learning in the industry of health sciences never stops. It is mandatory for an approved FST provider to keep their certification on "live status" that they are practising FST in their professional practise, it can be found here. So engaging a current practitioner is important to know as they are in on the latest research on what they offer to provide you improved results each session.
As well, another added benefit to engaging an approved FST provider, is that you will be in safe hands knowing the individual has & still abides in the highest standards of professional conducts & ethics set up by the Stretch To Win Institute.
FST as an Intervention
When an injury happens, the body secretes out collagen which in turns allows the structures surrounding the affected area to be more resilient of future injury(short read on injuries can be found here) . The affected area will have a higher ratio of fibrotic tissues also know as scar tissue, & if no intervention is provided throughout the healing process(post-injury rehab), it may likely lead to a decreased rate of blood flow, impinge against nerves, vascular bundles, arteries, lymphatics, & other vital connective tissues, dampening their functions. When this happens, the area can't get rid of any form of stagnation also known as tissue hypoxia(decreased level of oxygenated blood to the affected area), & may gradually increase irritation of the area causing an inflammation process which will build up even more fibrotic tissue, once again halting any movement(s). It's a vicious cycle for those who don't realise why you keep injuring the same area(s).
With precise selective movement(s), a fascial stretch therapist will be able to facilitate & encourage lymphatic flow, re-organisation of collagen(fibrotic tissue), increase rich nutrients dense blood flow, & to decrease inflammation. This also help the now dormant muscles to engage, balancing out the body to have all affected muscles to distribute workload, & be happy. More movement, less pain & inflammation process, higher resilience to injury towards the same area.
As you have read from the above, an FST session also holds the capability of helping tone up the dormant muscles, thus a combination of strength component is also a valued composition that happens during a fascial stretch therapy. For seniors/ elderly that needs to get stronger & be less dependant on others, FST helps facilitate just that. It's gentle enough for seniors yet challenging to the high powered athletes, because it is custom to each individuals current state of being, tolerance, & goal.
Are the benefits similar to a a qualified therapist who knows how to stretch with anatomy / physiology knowledge?
Find someone who owns a luxury watch such as a Rolex ,& ask if they would send their watch for servicing at a local watch shop, or a person who is qualified to repair watches, or a person who owns a Rolls Royce to repair at a local garage shop. It'll be a lot cheaper, but not any owner of a luxury watch would take their chances. The same goes for your body, it's worth every single bit of a valued FST expertise that it can have.
Where/ how do i find an FST provider?
If you are ready to experience what FST can offer your mind & body, you can simply look it up here. Simply type in your country/ area & you find the best of the best in stretch therapy that is second to none. If they show up on Google listed as an FST/ Fascial Stretch Therapy
As a client, you need to know what you are spending your hard earned money on, it doesn't matter if it's groceries, a bike, house, supplement, & so on, & if you are looking for any stretch therapy, it has to be with those trained with FST Stretch to Win Institute because of the rigorous hours for hands on practise, clinical case studies, professional corrections/ modifications for clients that needs modifications & best of all, how to use the FST system as a stand alone or used with other modalities, or educational background that they are trained in.
"Don't settle for less when it come to your body, we know we won't"
We would love to hear from you if you have any other comments, feedback or suggestions to other therapies that comes as close as a Fascial Stretch Trained Therapist down below at the comments section.