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Stretching for Stress

When stress builds up, it can have negative effects from increased shoulder and back pain, a natural consequence of tense muscles

For most of us, feeling at least some stress at some point during the day is probably inevitable — whether it’s thanks to too many emails in your inbox, too many appointments on your calendar, too many at-home chores to keep up with, or a problem you have to deal with, like a clogged sink or an illness or injury.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, Stress in your muscles manifests as tightness — and when you relax those muscles, you can tap into your body’s ability to release mental stress. Stretching promotes increased mobility and flexibility, prevents injury and can ease or eliminate the pains that go hand-in-hand with an aging body.

When performing your own stretch routine, the recommendation is to hold each position for 15 to 30 seconds along with five slow and controlled breaths; repeat each two to four times, per guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine

Stretching, however, works even better when it’s assisted. Trained “flexologists” employ a “push & release” type of stretching (technically “proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching”, or PNF) where you will be resisting a bit at times during the stretch and then releasing, resulting in a more effective stretch.

To learn more about one-on-one assisted stretching, StretchLab has a location in Boise and Eagle: