July 2019

"Change happens through movement and movement heals."

 - Joseph Pilates


At Osetra Wellness, we focus more on passive and active stretching than exercising when you are on the table and for home practice. Exercising is where the target muscle is contracting with some resistance or repetition to improve circulation, strength, and/or mass. Stretching is where the target muscle is being extended to it's limit to diminish tension in the muscle belly and tendons. Exercising falls into the scope of practice for Physical Therapists, Fitness Instructors, and other movement focused therapies. As Massage Therapists, we are focused on manually manipulating your muscles into relaxation.

Passive Stretching is where the therapist is engaging your muscles to stretch while you are relaxed. The goal is to go improve limited range of motion but not exceeding ideal range of motion. This is a helpful technique for very tight muscles as well as injury recovery. 

Active Stretching is where you join in on the stretch. The therapist is guiding your joints into a good alignment for the stretch while giving you a little bit of resistance into the stretch. This is good for when you feel a distinct spot in the muscle belly is stiff or if we've noticed a muscle is joining in the muscle contraction when it shouldn't. 

Breathing is very important in these subtle movements. It helps center your self into your body's movements and keeps a consistent pace in your stretches and exercises. In the exhale, the body is at its most relaxed state. For passive stretches on the table, the therapist pushes your muscles a little past their limited range of motion in the exhale.  

When Not To Stretch

There are times when stretching will aggravate your situation. The main ones are when you are dealing with sharp pain before going into the stretch, a broken bone, a torn muscle or ligament, or a general instability of the muscle tissue. Specifically when your muscles are fatigued or the joints they attach to are unstable/inflamed. Muscle fatigue is when the muscle belly has been used to the point where if you were to put pressure on it, the muscle tissue trembles. This means you shouldn't stretch at the moment. Drink some electrolyte water and use heat to help relax the muscles. In 24 hours or so when the muscle tissue has rested and hydrated, you should stretch the muscle to it's full range of motion.

If the end points of the muscle or a particular joint is unstable/inflamed, this means the whole muscle isn't stable. Instead of stretching, do gentle movement exercises to engage the region rather than isolating the muscle. This should help improve circulation and decrease the inflammation.  

Sophia's Recommendation

Adductor Stretches
When stretching the thighs, most people focus on just Hamstrings, Quads, and IT Bands. But we have a whole group of muscles that do the opposite actions of the big three. These are mostly the Adductor muscles. Their action is to bring and rotate the leg in towards center. A simple stretch while standing is to have a stance where your feet are a little wider than your hips. While standing straight and looking forward, move your weight from one side to the other with a slow inhale and exhale. This is a great warm up before hiking, running, or even just a day of sitting at work.

Another version of the stretch is to sit on the floor with your legs bent in front of you with the bottoms of your feet pressed against each other. Slowly bring your feet in close to you until you feel a moderate stretch. Be cautious if you don't have much flexibility in your knees. The standing version is a bit more ideal for unstable knees since your joints are a bit more aligned.

Angelica's Recommendation

Above: The External and deep rotator muscles of the hip from the posterior angle

Hip External Rotator and Back Extensor Stretch
This is a seated-floor stretch that focuses on the glutes and parts of the lower back. With your legs laying flat on the floor, bend your left leg and place your left foot outside of your right knee. Take your right arm and anchor the elbow against the outside of the left knee. Place your left hand on the floor to help hold yourself up. Twist your trunk as far to the left while keeping the left knee stabilized with your right elbow. Keep in mind not to arch your back or bend from the waist. Repeat with the other side.

"Try Something New" Special

We are offering $10 off a session if you ask to try a massage style or technique you haven't received before and want to try. We have experience in a lot of different styles of massage outside of Deep Tissue and Swedish. If you're interested in the special but don't have anything in mind, we can discuss what new techniques would benefit you most.

This is only valid for one session paid out of pocket excluding Groupon and Spafinder. We don't offer Thai Massage.

Osetra Wellness
1777 Borel Place, Ste 104
San Mateo, CA 94402