Olivia Di Bacco, B. Kin. (Hons.), RMT, FST Level 1
My first interaction with Fascial Stretch Therapy was at the 2015 Olympic wrestling trials. I was about to compete at the biggest tournament of my life, and was unable to get into a full squat - a vital part of wrestling. To say I was freaking out would be an understatement. One of the therapists available was a fascial stretch therapist. She got me on her table, told me to breathe, and worked some magic. Thirty minutes later, I got off the table, and was able to do a full squat with no pain. I went on to win my next match and ultimately finished third, one spot away from qualifying as the Olympic alternate. My interest in Fascial Stretch Therapy was piqued, and I continued to implement it into my personal treatment plan. Fast forward a few years, and I became a registered massage therapist. Following my certification as an RMT, the first supplementary education I wanted was Fascial Stretch (FST). I am very proud to be able to offer this service to my clients. My hope is that whatever your movement or fitness goals are, FST will help you to reach them!
Who benefits from Fascial Stretch Therapy?
- Do you ever stand up after sitting for an extended period of time and feel as if your lower back is “tight”?
- Do you struggle to get into a good squat?
- Are you unable to put both of your arms straight overhead?
- Is relaxing and decompressing after a long day a struggle for you?
- Do you reach the end of a busy week of training or physical activity and feel sore all over?
- Fascial Stretch Therapy (FST) is a hands on therapy that can help you take your movement to a new level. If you want to move safely and efficiently through whatever tasks your daily life brings, FST could be part of an effective overall treatment plan for you!
What is “FASCIA”?
Connective tissue runs throughout your entire body, and is the most prevalent form of tissue in your body.
- Fascia = another word for that connective tissue
- Fascia = a full body communication and force transmission network
- Fascia = connected to, and influencing every body system
What does a Fascial Stretch Therapy session look like?
FST, while based on physiological principles, more closely resembles a dance than a strict therapeutic modality. No two treatments are alike, as FST therapists interact with your current levels of body tension, stress and individual needs.
As a registered massage therapist in addition to FST practitioner, I enjoy incorporating soft tissue work alongside fascial stretch techniques to provide a comprehensive treatment!
- You, the client, can expect:
- Continuous communication about your level of comfort, your breathing patterns and any changes taking place in your body tissues
- NO PAIN
- Passive (I move you) movements of your joints, limbs and body parts
- Active (We move together) movements of your joints, limbs, and body parts
- Work in multiple planes of movement: up, down, side to side, diagonal, spiral...
- Full body work
What will I feel like after a Fascial Stretch Therapy session?
Like an itch that is hard to scratch on your own, the goal following an FST session is for you to feel a sense of “ahhh...that’s better.” Ideally, a sensation of “openness” or “clearing out” of areas in your body where dysfunction in the form of fascial restrictions have been residing will follow you off the table. As a full body treatment technique, it is not uncommon to have an overall increased sense of relaxation, both physically and mentally.
Why use Fascial Stretch Therapy?
FST is a treatment format that focuses not on individual muscles or areas of the body. Instead, it employs a full body method by dealing with what Thomas Myers refers to as “Anatomy Trains.” Anatomy trains, or fascia mobility nets as Chris and Ann Frederick call them, are a visual representation of our fascial anatomy. Using fascial nets allows us to assess and treat with the chain, or ripple effect that may be happening, in mind.
As we move about our day completing various tasks, these nets will work together, with different contributions depending on what those specific tasks are. Often, as we interact with a particular net, you may experience a sensation in a different area of your body than the one being touched. For example, many athletes have fascial restrictions in their lateral line/net. This can present itself while the therapist is moving the foot/ankle as a sensation in their hip, or around their rib cage.
Using these fascial nets also helps the therapist be more efficient in providing treatment. Instead of worrying about whether they are treating the cause or effect of a problem the client is experiencing, this global approach will ideally address both.
Finally, FST works well with a variety of other treatment forms. It can enhance the effectiveness of soft tissue techniques and manual adjustments.
Why do you use straps?
Fascial Stretch therapy involves the use of straps on the table to enhance the experience for the client, and make the treatment easier for the therapist. By putting one leg at a time under the straps, the client feels more secure on the table, enabling them to relax. This also limits unwanted movement, and helps the therapist manipulate the joints, limbs and tissues more effectively.
What are you waiting for?
Whether you are a desk worker tired of having a sore back, an athlete looking to push the needle on your recovery process, or an individual with high levels of life stress, FST could be a useful component of your treatment plan. With physical, mental and emotional benefits to be gained, the time to see if Fascial Stretch Therapy is right for you is NOW!
*With thanks to:
Thomas Meyers, author of “Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement.”
Chris and Ann Frederick, authors of “Fascial Stretch Therapy” and “Stretch to Win”
What Patients Are Saying
I had an amazing foot treatment with Steve yesterday. It left me feeling like I have #newfeet #sharpdressedman" - Darlene