CSA Physio Blog

Goals and Guidelines for Stretching: Massage Home Care

Posted on: February 7th, 2018 by Dominic Young

Has your massage therapist recommended that you “do some stretching” at home or at work? If you are wondering how to proceed, this post will provide you with some goals and guidelines to help you get the most out of your stretching. Goals address the “why” part of stretching. Guidelines address the “how to” part of stretching.

Goals of Stretching

I always suggest to massage therapy clients that stretching should be relaxing. That’s the first goal to remember. A good stretch should produce an agreeable sensation in the muscles, not unlike massage itself. Relaxation goes hand in hand with decreasing pain caused by chronic muscle tension and increasing muscle and joint mobility. And there you have your second and third goals.

Guidelines for Stretching

Remember to stretch muscles when they are warm. Here are three good ways to warm up muscles before stretching: massage (give those forearm muscles a squeeze or use a foam roller to warm up the hamstrings); light activity (go for a short walk before stretching your calf muscles); and heat (use a heating pad or hot shower to warm up muscles of the neck). Stretch muscles to the point where you can feel a stretch. Do not stretch into or beyond the point of pain. Remember those three goals for stretching; pain is not one of them! When you are holding a stretch, take slow relaxed breaths. This can also be a good way to time the duration of a stretch. It takes about 15 seconds to take three deep breaths.

For stretching to be effective, you will need to do it regularly. In the next post I’ll write about how to set up a stretching routine for yourself.


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