Stretching for Health

stretching-woman-in-blackThere has been much controversy over stretching recently. Questions like should it be done before or after exercise?

Is it necessary to warm up the muscles before exercise or more important afterwards? If it hurts to stretch, should it still be done?

I, personally, have found that I like to stretch first thing in the morning (just like a cat or a dog does after they wake up) before I roll out of bed. First I stretch my arms over my head, clasping my hands together and stretching my fingers out too at the same time.

Then I roll over from side to side with one leg hanging over the other to get a nice low back stretch. I always felt better doing this before I have to jump up and start my day.

I was happy to find this video of what one doctor found out about what happens to our muscles, more specifically our fascia, when we sleep. The video is by Dr. Gil Hedley, PhD entitled, “The Fuzz Speech”. [Editor’s note: This film is medically graphic but very informative.] In it he talks about and shows examples of muscle/fascia fuzz. Yes, you read that correctly, FUZZ.

What is it, you ask? It forms in between the sliding surfaces of your muscles at night while you’re sleeping. The only way to get rid of the fuzz is to stretch first thing in the morning.

Dr Hedley does a great job of explaining how the fuzz forms and if it’s not melted away on a daily basis by stretching, then more fuzz accumulates. Over time, the fuzz forms a harder tissue and we become stiffer and stiffer. When that happens it takes more than stretching to relieve it. He states that massage therapy is one of the best ways to add more fluidity to the muscles.

Dr. Hedley has been on the Dr. Oz show and has been to many universities to give his “Fuzz Speech”. Although, he isn’t a medical doctor, (he graduated from University of Chicago in the field of theological ethics.

He also graduated from an esoteric healing arts school. Practiced and taught Tai Chi and became certified in massage therapy and Rolfing) his discovery of finding “fuzz” was groundbreaking to many therapists.

He coined the word “somanauts” to describe anyone who is interested in “exploring the inner space of the body”. You can read more about him and view his other films at gilhedley.com.

Marie Pietras, LMT

October 2015

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