• Michael L Dods

Kit Laughlin Stretch Therapy

My attempt to describe what a stretching routine looks like through the Kit Laughlin Stretch Therapy lens: We could say that the point of stretching is to make a lasting change to the range of motion of a joint(s), or to move things that don't move well and could/should move "better". What defines "better" with regards to movement or range of motion required will differ from person to person depending on what it is they need or desire their body to do (from contemporary dance to tying shoe laces). The first step would be to ascertain what moves well and what doesn't move well (range of motion or movement testing), this can be through a stretch (joint range of motion i.e. Straight Leg Raise), asana (yoga posture i.e. Majari-Asana) or any other movement i.e. Squat. This would be the "assessment" part of (assessment, treatment, re-assessment). Kit also suggests daily limbering, that is, taking your body gently and with an enquiring mind through a set of movements and using the feedback from your body to identify any areas that could use some focused attention, he also encourages the exploration of a number of different vectors within movements, don't just explore perfect form, but explore what happens when you add a little posterior tilt to your pelvis or rotate your thoracic spine or any other ways that wind up your fascial system/lines/trains (When we move in life, not just under the controlled conditions of Pilates, the Gym etc. these deviations will occur). Once an area of restriction has been identified it is then time to stretch or for the "treatment", similar to treatment from a therapist, Kit suggests that this be done once a week, taking the body into end range and working the "razors edge" - stressing the system in a way that is challenging but that ultimately you can soften or yield into, using breath and focused attention to achieve this. Whether this takes 2 minutes or 10 minutes depends on the area of restriction, your relationship with yourself and your ability to yield into a challenging position. After this takes place you would do a "re-assessment" by taking your body through the movement and observing any change and whether the treatment has been successful. After this increased range or better movement has been achieved, it is then integrated by accessing this new range and using the new movement, whether this be through daily limbering or incorporating it into your existing movement patterns. The underlying foundation of all treatment whether it be stretching, using tools (cups, balls, broomsticks etc.) or receiving hands on treatment from a practitioner should always be assessment, treatment, reassessment so you know whether what you are doing is having any influence on what it is you are trying to achieve.

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