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three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Posted by alan k on 4/02/00 at 00:00 (018152)

I of course was only offering the idea of not holding stretches as my own point of view, which is similar but not the same as Bob's. I'm glad to hear you are getting so much better and are having success with the nightsplint/s-sock combo. Of course in yoga we hold our stretches for much longer than 20 seconds, but that is as healthy individuals.

Perhaps the closer you are to %100 the longer you can hold your stretches (but only after warming up!). For those who have little or no success with stretches so far, it might make sense to try it differently with three principles.

1) warm up thoroughly first. This is for everyone.

2) be gentle and unambitious. Put the enthusiasm into being consistent and frequent.

3) don't hold stretches for long or at all. This is for people who have had little success with stretching so far.

These principles are based on experience and Thai medical massage, but are also confirmed by Western trainers and therapists (or at least 1 + 2 are, while 3 probably only some myotherapists agree).

Of course this is only for people who want to try something new while if what you are doing is working then you should do that.

alan k


Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Bob G. on 4/02/00 at 00:00 (018157)

That sure sounds like good advice to me!

Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Nancy S. on 4/02/00 at 00:00 (018161)

These three principles sound perfect for me. I have made a lot of progress, but not as much as Bob, and this past week has shown that I can too easily overdo it. (I lightly massage my legs before I get up, but have been afraid to massage my foot -- because I wonder if there is any possibility of causing or aggravating microtears in the fascia. Do you think this concern is based on reality?)

(P.S. alan x: I unexpectedly received a catalog from my alma m. What fun! Learned a little more with very little digging; does this mean I'm not as polite as you? Also discovered numerous people I learned from are still there: Kelly, Wilson, La Farge, Rosenberg, Grab, to name a few.
M e m o r i e s galore.)


Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

alan k on 4/03/00 at 00:00 (018171)

Nancy,

Massaging the feet isn't so important as massaging the calves, although I realize that seems counter-intuitive. If you feel reluctant then just massage the calves as most of the tension originates there and gets translated down into the feet.

Perhaps you might experimentally massage the feet also, avoiding anything that makes you uncomfortable in any sense. My wife is not here right now so I can't get the right Thai medical explanation for why massage-- which does do a kind of 'damage' on the muscle fibers-- causes regeneration of elastic muscle fibers and decreases the proportion of inelastic fibers.

Basically, massage squashes the muscles, stretching the myofascia side-ways. This breaks down the fibrotic inelastic tissue and stimulates the growth of elastic fibers.
Also,Blood flow is increased in the myofascial capillaries (the 'revascularization' which some ossatron doctors theorize is how their machine works-- they are not sure how it works, though). And, according to Thai medicine, the energy flow through the 'sen' lines are enhanced.

In this condition, the muscle can now be stretched safely and without tears. In healthy individuals who are warmed up this stretching can be rigourous. For those who have done everything right with stretching (warm up and massage first, consistency) but have not improved it may make sense to adopt the no-or-little-hold principle at first, opting for brief, repeated stretches (even five in a row, say, which are not held) rather than long stretches (which can be good of course-- hence yoga).

yours,
alan k

PS If you'ld like a shock: Guess who is the slimmest one around here? R. Kelly. (As it happens, the effects of Tibetan Buddhism on him)


Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Nancy S. on 4/03/00 at 00:00 (018177)

Alan -- Oh good. I do feel reluctant to massage the fascia directly right now and am sticking to the calves, and am glad the effect gets transferred to the feet. And ever since you posted about not holding the calf stretch, I have been doing it that way -- more of them, but no holding. This seems safer to me right now; am doing pretty well painwise, but I know my legs and feet are weak from resting. They feel a bit fragile or something. This is also why I am starting to increase swimming this week -- for strength without extra weight-bearing.
However, I think I followed your description of the effects of massage on the feet. For future reference, if you have anything to add after talking to your wife, I'd be interested to hear it.
Alan, are you now walking around with no (or little) limping or pain? No more crawling to hot water in the morning?
--Nancy
p.s. No!!! He was such a Big presence when I was there! And he shrank due to Buddhism. Good for him. This is not easy to picture.

Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

alan k on 4/03/00 at 00:00 (018188)

Swimming really should be good for you, just sneak up on it slowly. That fagile feeling is probably atrophy so you are going to have to do something about that-- walking or standing alot is not it, though.

I get about fine now, but I do not go for long walks or anything. Nor have I returned to my yoga group (they are too vigorous for me now). I still rest my feet by giving over all the exercise I can to non-weightbearing activities. My philosophy is rest and exercise by avoiding walking standing (even if I can stand it now) and doing alot of total foot-work. MAssage is also helping a lot, and more than enough to be certain that the calf is essential to work on (and I happen to be very flexible in my calves). Serious, ouch, ouch pain is not part of my life anymore.

alan k


Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Bob G. on 4/02/00 at 00:00 (018157)

That sure sounds like good advice to me!

Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Nancy S. on 4/02/00 at 00:00 (018161)

These three principles sound perfect for me. I have made a lot of progress, but not as much as Bob, and this past week has shown that I can too easily overdo it. (I lightly massage my legs before I get up, but have been afraid to massage my foot -- because I wonder if there is any possibility of causing or aggravating microtears in the fascia. Do you think this concern is based on reality?)

(P.S. alan x: I unexpectedly received a catalog from my alma m. What fun! Learned a little more with very little digging; does this mean I'm not as polite as you? Also discovered numerous people I learned from are still there: Kelly, Wilson, La Farge, Rosenberg, Grab, to name a few.
M e m o r i e s galore.)


Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

alan k on 4/03/00 at 00:00 (018171)

Nancy,

Massaging the feet isn't so important as massaging the calves, although I realize that seems counter-intuitive. If you feel reluctant then just massage the calves as most of the tension originates there and gets translated down into the feet.

Perhaps you might experimentally massage the feet also, avoiding anything that makes you uncomfortable in any sense. My wife is not here right now so I can't get the right Thai medical explanation for why massage-- which does do a kind of 'damage' on the muscle fibers-- causes regeneration of elastic muscle fibers and decreases the proportion of inelastic fibers.

Basically, massage squashes the muscles, stretching the myofascia side-ways. This breaks down the fibrotic inelastic tissue and stimulates the growth of elastic fibers.
Also,Blood flow is increased in the myofascial capillaries (the 'revascularization' which some ossatron doctors theorize is how their machine works-- they are not sure how it works, though). And, according to Thai medicine, the energy flow through the 'sen' lines are enhanced.

In this condition, the muscle can now be stretched safely and without tears. In healthy individuals who are warmed up this stretching can be rigourous. For those who have done everything right with stretching (warm up and massage first, consistency) but have not improved it may make sense to adopt the no-or-little-hold principle at first, opting for brief, repeated stretches (even five in a row, say, which are not held) rather than long stretches (which can be good of course-- hence yoga).

yours,
alan k

PS If you'ld like a shock: Guess who is the slimmest one around here? R. Kelly. (As it happens, the effects of Tibetan Buddhism on him)


Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

Nancy S. on 4/03/00 at 00:00 (018177)

Alan -- Oh good. I do feel reluctant to massage the fascia directly right now and am sticking to the calves, and am glad the effect gets transferred to the feet. And ever since you posted about not holding the calf stretch, I have been doing it that way -- more of them, but no holding. This seems safer to me right now; am doing pretty well painwise, but I know my legs and feet are weak from resting. They feel a bit fragile or something. This is also why I am starting to increase swimming this week -- for strength without extra weight-bearing.
However, I think I followed your description of the effects of massage on the feet. For future reference, if you have anything to add after talking to your wife, I'd be interested to hear it.
Alan, are you now walking around with no (or little) limping or pain? No more crawling to hot water in the morning?
--Nancy
p.s. No!!! He was such a Big presence when I was there! And he shrank due to Buddhism. Good for him. This is not easy to picture.

Re: three principles of stretching for those with no success so far

alan k on 4/03/00 at 00:00 (018188)

Swimming really should be good for you, just sneak up on it slowly. That fagile feeling is probably atrophy so you are going to have to do something about that-- walking or standing alot is not it, though.

I get about fine now, but I do not go for long walks or anything. Nor have I returned to my yoga group (they are too vigorous for me now). I still rest my feet by giving over all the exercise I can to non-weightbearing activities. My philosophy is rest and exercise by avoiding walking standing (even if I can stand it now) and doing alot of total foot-work. MAssage is also helping a lot, and more than enough to be certain that the calf is essential to work on (and I happen to be very flexible in my calves). Serious, ouch, ouch pain is not part of my life anymore.

alan k