By Michael Simmer, BS, CSCS, LMT, FST
I am sure that many of our members have heard one if not all of our coaches talk about FST or Sports massage, and usually end it with “talk to Mike about it” but just what is FST, how can it help and what exactly happens in the Muscle Therapy Room. When I first left massage therapy school, I knew that I was never going to work in a spa type setting, things are too quiet, peacefully and far to many candles for my liking, enter Pulse Fitness. No sooner did I walk through the doors and plans were being made about how I can best serve our members, so I was given the opportunity to go through Fascial Stretch Therapy certification course or FST. So what is FST? It is a type of stretching that targets not only the muscles, but the fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints. FST also targets the entire joint and joint capsule, using traction to remove restrictions from movement and to stimulate lubrication. A therapist will gently pull and move the arms, legs, spine, and neck in a smooth motion through varying planes of movement.
Sooooo it’s stretching? I do that anyways right? Not exactly, the problem with many standard stretching programs is, well, they are standard. An athlete will finish their workout, run through their “usual” stretches, maybe paying extra attention to tight hips, sometimes pushing through some pain to get that final stretch. Sadly, this type of stretching is not effective and may even be causing more tightness and inflexibility. When you cause pain with stretching, your muscles respond to protect themselves, tightening up in a rebound type effect.
By contrast, what I am able to do for an athlete is twofold, first I use my background in massage therapy and anatomy, to check the muscle tissue for imbalances and any trigger points, (a trigger point is a spot within the muscle that is usually over stimulated or hypertrophied to a point that it causes discomfort in another area of the body.) I will also use massage to help warm up the muscles, and release any points of tension within the muscles or connective tissue (fascia) itself. By doing this I am actually changing a bit of the fascial stretch dynamic, where I am not stretching a muscle that is in tension but rather a fully released and relaxed muscle which allows for a greater stretch and overall more productive results. The top benefits of our muscle therapy treatments have been;
- Increased Range of Motion
- Reduction in Pain
- Reduction of Injury Risk
- Improved performance (especially in Golfers and Runners)
- Improved Posture (especially in those who sit in front of computers all day)
Muscle Therapy is a great way to help our bodies recover from a tough week of work outs, and also it is an important part of maintaining our bodies through the entire year. We often say we train the athlete in you, in fact you have all probably read it on the backs of our shirts since you started coming to Pulse, well we mean that phrase in every way possible not just on the training floor. Every professional athlete has massage, stretch and modalities (such as cold tubs and the infra-red sauna) built into their training week and for many during their training day. It is not unusual for an athlete to have a pre workout therapy, and a post work out therapy. Our members work like athletes on the training floor, so you should recover like an athlete as well. Even just using the therapy once a month can have great benefits, especially if coupled with the sauna bi weekly. Help yourself and help your body and start getting into the therapy room today.
Contact us to book an appointment or to learn more about the importance of Muscle Therapy!