Discussion #4228

The 'S' Word

60 min - Discussion


On August 25, 2020, we talked to Ann Frederick about the 'S' Word, also known as stretching. She explains the benefits and "how-tos" of stretching as well as why it is becoming such a hot topic. She also shares information about fascia and how everything in the body is connected.

Links and Resources

- Stretch to Win

- Stretch to Win Book

- Australian Ballet Dancers Quit Stretching

What You'll Need: No props needed

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Sep 01, 2020
(Log In to track)


Read Full Transcript

So, I'm going to officially start, welcome Ann Frederick. Hey, Amy. Thank you. Thank you so much. And for all the Pilates Anytime Members watching right now, you're here for the curiosity of this topic, which is not new to Ann.

I'll let her give us a little bio background, but we're here to talk about the S word, stretching. So Ann, I would love for you to give a real quick introduction. You can tell us as much or a little about yourself, but background why this subject is so what it is for you? That's a loaded question, Amy. I know.

(laughing) In a nutshell, I spent the first few decades of my life dancing and teaching dancing. So, the S word was something that you had to do, because it's just part of being a dancer and a teacher for many years. And then I decided to go to school and create something a little more official about the S word and created a technique through using science and many, many hours of hands on assisted stretching with athletes and eventually developed a school and met the man of my dreams, my husband, who is my business partner, my life partner. And written a couple books and started something 30 plus years ago that now is this huge industry. And I think it's hilarious how the S word can actually be used in this context and people can figure out what we're talking about.

I know, I know. And for those that are just joining in and I'm so excited I just jumped right away, any questions you have, I'll just touch on this real quick. Any questions you have for us, put those in the Q and A part of the choices there and any chat or general comments you can drop in over on the chats, but any questions really drop them in Q and A, and we'll get there. Typically how these webinars go, about the first 20, 30 minutes, I'm asking to answer some questions and we're doing some interviewing of course and unraveling the topic. And then we wait for the Q and A however, if it seems like the right thing to do in a Q and A, get something from the Q and A during this first 30 minutes, I'll go there, but Ann played it down a little bit on her mastery of this subject.

I think science is a big, big part of this. And I found when I was interviewing Ann, getting ready for this, she enlightened me on how many times the word stretching had been Googled. And how did you all find that? I think it was, you said Chris had found this, right? Well, we are forever trying to get a pulse on what's happening in the industry because it's changing so rapidly and so dramatically.

And he was saying when he was looking for things that over a trillion with a T Google search, the word stretch and stretching and it's one of those things that boggles my mind because, you know, coming from a dance background, Pilates background, it's not a big deal, but the general population is curious. And we'll talk through this webinar about why that is and answer all those questions. Yes, well, why do you think people like to stretch? What drives them to, first of all look up the word and learn about it, but why do you think people like to stretch? Okay so, from a like standpoint.

Okay. If it's done in a positive manner, it can be very, very pleasurable. It can be very beneficial. And I think it's something that they particularly like how they feel after they've done it. So, I think that's a driving force.

Although part of the challenge with it is learning how to do it correctly, because what old school mentality is, is unfortunately exactly that old school mentality and part of when you educate as you and I are both educators, the whole thing is giving people tools to have a better understanding so that they can have more knowledge to apply thence. Exactly, can you define old school? And give some of the members of a reference point here about that. Usually it's two ends of the spectrum. It's either ballistic where they do no warm up and very aggressive, very over zealous attempts to try to get flexible in a very short amount of time or very, very passive and not integrating nervous systems or the control of the motor unit, or balancing and stabilizing.

So, it's both ends of the spectrum where either they just lay there (laughing) and don't do much or they're way too aggressive. So, I think those in my opinion are the two ends of the old school spectrum. Okay, thank you. I followed you, but for those that might be wondering, well what does that mean, you know? Absolutely.

And I agree, I mean, yeah, stretching has really become such a hot word. And I think, what do you think this feeling and the need comes from? I mean, again, it's I... I think we are now living in a world Amy that is stuck in a sedentary situation. And I think our ancestors moved from morning till night.

And I think we now live in a world where we sit, particularly I think the level of sitting that we've done the last six months has been extraordinarily higher than usual. I think people sit to commute. I think they sit at work. I think they sit and watch TV. It is turned into the sedentary.

And then a lot of times they'll go out and do activity that has to do with sitting like cycling and things like that (laughing drowns out speaker), it is. We are now a society globally on many levels of people that sit and we're supposed to move to be healthy. I agree, do you like the phrase sitting is the new smoking. Wow. I mean, of course we've have you here but- You know what?

Because it's now detrimental, the smoking thing for sure, it's getting- We're so unhappy longterm when we sit. So, at the idea of why do we want to stretch? We feel the innate need, the intuitive sense that we really need to open up into the opposite direction of the position we've been stuck. So, I think it's very innate. You know, you look at the animal stretch, right?

It's the most natural, you got baby stretch. It's just a natural thing. And so I think people are tuning into that a little deeper because they're stuck for so long into this holding patterns. And your body's just very unhappy about that. Yeah, I was getting ready for today.

I was tuned into my little Paparu here. Don't want to say the name because that will alert her and make her think it's about her right now, but I was watching her and just that beautiful thing that they do. And you know, that kind of little after twitch that she does when she gets to kind of her, what seems like maybe her end range at that moment, that little kind of vibration, then she kind of settles into it. It's beautiful and they don't sit and think about stretching, they just move. It's called pandiculation with animals.

Pandiculation. In case you needed to know that. (laughing) Hey, pandiculation. I didn't know that actually. I mean, I'd heard it, but I didn't know the reference but- Yeah, (murmurs).

So, can you define your, how would Ann Frederick defined stretching? Well, I think- Your definition. I think just like there's a spectrum of very gentle, very soft ways to approach it. I think there's a spectrum with how you can increase it. There's a few things and I can't not go here right away because it is something that I feel so deeply about.

Go here, go, go (laughing). First thing I'm going to tell you is there can't be pain if there's going to be benefit. That to me is the first and foremost golden rule, if you will, to not ever create that and that gains need to be made gently and incrementally. The other thing is truly doing an assessment as to what's going on with the body so that you're not doing what I call random acts of stretching, because what we simply think is tight. Most of the time, it's not actually what the main problem is.

It's what I call the victim in the situation. So for me being more assessment based and not just general. And then the other thing with that is doing the multiple angles and the dancing and the breath. Then those two are interrelated with each other. And so, it needs to be something for me that is so gentle and fluid and natural and not an attack.

I always talk about, it needs to be a romance of the nervous system, not an attack in the nervous system in order for it to be beneficial. And you can get great gains if you can make, even with yourself, you know, we can talk about the difference between the self stretching and assisted the stretching, because I've got a very developed background in both of those. But for me, it's that lesson of you don't have to do harm in order to get benefit. Right? Well, no, I think this is great.

I think, you know, I also come from the dance world and stretching was of course, we always sit there and do the stretching, but I don't really know how much good it was doing for me. You know, I just did it. You warm up and as I think back on it, I was stretching or putting myself in positions repetitively, I mean, over and over and over. I did have some injuries clearly, it's how I found Pilates. And I still have those things that kind of creep up, there less of course, cause I'm not dancing, but I've also learned to listen and not go into something painful, but it's taken me a really long time.

But I think about all the dancers, all the athletes in the world. Who, maybe the younger because they don't know it yet, but no pain, the pain does not equal gain at all, ever in anything really. Should it? No and unfortunately when you add people that are driven and have this sense of perfection and that that's the most important goal, it's how they look, not how they feel. And so, they're always putting that ahead of their wellbeing.

Yeah. And that's a tough one because they're so driven. Yeah. To try change that paradigm and reeducate. I always like to do the analogy.

I've spent many, many years working with professional, specifically NFL guys. Yeah. And trying to give them and then I now will put the CrossFitters in that, that kind of mentality of thinking that if it's going to be worth their time and energy and money or whatever, it's gotta be painful to make a difference, trying to reeducate them in my whole thing for folks like that, the philosophy is if you are gentle with yourself and specific about what it is, you need to balance, and we'll talk about creating that harmony in the system, then you can be better and recover faster at whatever it is you want to do. So, that was always the trade off that made sense to them. As opposed to push harder, because pushing harder from trying to gain flexibility has a backfire where the tissue gets actually tighter and more restricted and rebounding and they keep going backwards.

So, the whole argument of, well, I don't ever get any better and it's the definition of insanity, cause they're doing the same thing over and over (laughing) and they're not getting any better. Yeah, yeah. And I will say, I'm going to take this moment right here. We had a wonderful thank you and bookout who wrote in saw that we were doing this content for this webinar and wanted me to ask Anna a question to have Ann address this. So, the question is, I'm going to do this now. I told you I would do some preemptive things.

Was, could you briefly give your current views on passive versus active stretching. A year ago or so the Australian National Ballet Company had the dancers cease doing passive stretching and substitute in active stretching, prescribed by their therapy staff. They achieved a significant decrease in injuries as a result. Let's talk about active and passive stretching. Sure.

The general definition is passive basically is how traditionally dancers and I was guilty of that when I danced, because that's what you're taught. You get into extreme positions. And you just flop down like a ragdoll and hang out there and talk to your friends and maybe move around a little bit. But it's very long duration and can be pretty, just kind of hanging out. And it's not bringing in strength components.

It's not bringing in stabilization components and it doesn't transfer to active movement. So, one of the things that I've always found interesting is if you're trying to transfer to active movement, like as you tare in the air, you need to have active flexibility to have the ability to control and sustain that safely in the air. So, for me it's always about how does it transfer to performance? So, when you work with dancers and pro athletes, it's transferred to performance and that tells you the truth, the quickest. So, I was delighted with that question because I would love to see more people adopt that, because they're gonna find a much larger safer gain in their activities.

Absolutely, I could not agree. That was a beautiful definition. And Jia, thank you for dropping in that link there. And we will periodically put things in the chat everybody, references for you to go read more in depth of what Ann touches on and the data, the evidence, the facts, the research, which supports everything that Ann and Chris do in their work. And their company, Stretched to Win, that phrase, I love that.

Stretch to Win and you win in, you know, for athletes, dancers, normal people to have a harmonious system is what you said a moment ago. So, let's find harmony in the system. Can you define that a little bit more? Absolutely, it's a matter of coming up with creating balance and harmony. So, one of the things actually, balance is not my favorite word, although it's used a lot.

And so, we prefer to think about it in terms of creating harmony in the body, harmony in the fascial system, we'll go into that. Yeah. Because balanced sometimes takes effort. Yes. And you have to give up something for something else.

So, I love harmony because there's this give and take, but there's a beautiful homeokinesis, where everything is in this beautiful flow state and it doesn't take effort to make it happen. So for me, that's the goal that we have as human beings is to find that beautiful state, we searched for it mentally. We searched for it emotionally. And sometimes we forget about the physical part of that. That's true, unfortunately, and then we have an injury or some setback where then it kind of (murmurs) forces us to stop and then try to search for something to balance us out or to find some other remedy if we will.

But yeah, okay. Yeah. I'm going to go next into muscle versus fascia. Oh, easy. That's an easy one. Yeah.

So, when you shift paradigms and have a new way of looking at things, it's a large undertaking to try to redefine what people think of things. So, the way I look at things is this, your bones float in your body, your bones don't touch, they're floating and the muscles attached to things, right? I know (murmurs). I love that, I just love that. (laughing) All of us movers.

(laughing drowns out speaker) lets just move for a minute everybody, seriously- Floating. And what happens is we get compressed. Yes. And it's not just the muscles that compress us. It's the whole fascial net, that gets squeezed down.

So, it is absolutely positively impossible to isolate a muscle or even just a group of muscles when you stretch. And one of the things that I highly suggest anybody doing if they ever have the ability, even if it's just virtual and there's lots of those now, is dissection. Because when you do dissection, you realize everything is connected to everything. So, the concept of isolating something, you can focus on it but you cannot simply isolate a hamstring. So, let me give you some examples for that.

So, being a bit of a scientific nerd, because that's one of the things that I think is very important to validate something. When they've done stretching studies, when they've done studies that are very validated, that it shows that when they think they're stretching the hamstring, the highest activation lengthening is actually in the TFL. It has nothing to do with the hamstring. The hamstring is like forth down the list. Wow, nice.

So, it's really interesting, because what we're feeling is not actually always what it is. So, the concept of isolating a specific muscle that's the problem is unfortunately pretty far off the mark from typically what's causing. I always give the idea of whatever is yelling the loudest is usually the victim and not the criminal in the situation. Yeah, okay. I love this. So, again when I was having some introductory talk with Ann a couple of weeks ago and I was referencing a client of mine.

I love this, it's a man. One of the first things he does when he comes into class or session, he does private lessons with me, is he gets in there and he bends forward to touch his toes. And he does it and he hangs out upside down. He loves that and he gets his toes, he touches, he gets his hands flat to the ground. And I think he feels a sense of achievement with that.

And I always just stand and watch him, like, "What is he craving?" (laughing) What is he craving in that moment? But he also he has a sitting, he has as a desk job. So, I just zip it, I just zip it. And I'm just obsessing and I'm watching. But when it comes to certain exercises, when it requires hamstring length or sensation in those muscles or that area of his body, he kind of doesn't have a feeling of it, in certain exercises.

But then in some he's like, "Oh my gosh," it's so interesting. And I asked him recently, "What is it about bending forward to touch your toe, "what is that?" He goes, "It just feels good." You know and I wanna honor what feels good, but he's getting slowly, slowly getting more of an understanding of, "Oh, that's maybe not what I need to do," because in certain other exercises on the equipment, he's realizing he's not as flexible in that area as he thought. Yeah. Because he thinks, "So I can touch my toes. "I must be flexible." It's like (grumbling).

I'm waiting for him to have the discovery. So, it's really been joyful, but- So let me explain to you that's a very common thing actually. Thank you, I was going to say, I bet there are a lot of people. (laughing) So, let me explain a very common thing that I saw a great deal with with my pro football players. Perfect.

What happens is when people sit all day or football guys are in flection and then they're in meetings, so they'd sit more than you think. Their hip flexors get hypertonic and being hypertonic, they are so tight that the reciprocal side, which are the glutes, down to the hamstrings, are stuck and are hypotonic and lose their ability to fire. What happens is they are already overstretched. So, if you're sitting there an elongated position. Right?

So, like I said, "What yells the loudest," which is typically hamstrings, is what does not need lengthening. The front of the hips need opening, the neck is the exact same way. Everybody complains about the traps, the back of the neck being the problem. So, they stretch and stretch and stretch the back of the neck. It's as you know, from life stretch, it's the front of the neck they need opened up.

Yes. What they complaining is the back. So, I think it's that education as to where they actually need to open it. Thank you for that, and I agree. And so with this particular client, and it has been since day one, we do a lot of front of the hip, front of the body opening, because he's at the desk. Yeah.

And if he's starting, like I said, he starting to go, "Oh." I didn't want to force that. It just caused the paradigm to shift, right? Yeah. You don't want to do that abruptly. No, no, I know, yeah.

So, I'm kind of a slower teacher and that way is, I want them students, they need to discover it. Absolutely I had to discover my stuff. I know my teachers at the beginning were like, "Oh my gosh, is this girl gonna get, "you know, certain cues or certain," I had to feel it. I had to have the moment. Much more valuable that way.

That's a much deeper lesson that way. Yeah and so yesterday, and then I'll move on. We were doing Eve's lunge on the Reformer, because we do that one all the time. And he actually had a natural hamstring and glute contraction on his own. (laughing) (cheering) He just kinda, he went, "Oh," and he actually kind of grabbed the back of his leg and I said, "You okay?" And he goes, "Oh my hamstring contracted, "I mean hip extension right, now." And I said, "thank you, you just made my day." (cheering) Yeah, so it's really that of course look how joyful I get when we- (laughing) Stretching should be fun, stretching should feel good.

And I think, you know, I'm going into this question now, the difference, like is yoga a good way to stretch? We get the question a lot in the Palates Industry. You know, what's the difference between maybe, yogic stretching versus maybe fascial stretching. But I know my answer, but I want to hear your answer. Well, that's a very broad question because there's many. Yeah.

Many kinds of yoga. Okay. There's many different philosophies in yoga. True. I think yoga is spectacular for many, many things.

I think it's awesome for breath or I think is awesome for quieting things down and just getting things moving. I think from a just stretching perspective, it has a few downfalls in the fact that it doesn't address asymmetries out the gate. Right? It can be very extreme for some people. It can be very frustrating for some people so that it becomes counter productive and they don't feel good about the experience.

It becomes very negative. Okay. It can also be in positions that don't have a lot of transfer to function. Yeah and yes maybe the way the presenters, teachers teach (murmurs). (murmurs) like anything Amy it comes down. Yes.

Many, many times to the quality of the teacher. Always, I think. Yeah. And now a I know. So, I hope that's a huge, huge piece.

You know, people ask me that all the time and I think there's a place, but I also think we've Americanized it and it's very, very different than how it was originally intended. Okay so when, I mean, just like in Pilates and in yoga and in movement, gymnastics, golf, anything you do movement, our fascial system is responding and having an experience. So, we talk about what that means. Let's talk (cross talk drowns out speaker) facial system. Unless we've got some of my FST's on the (cross talk drowns out speaker).

I know facial system. For what we refer. Yes, but at the beginning of this webinar, I was kind of tongue in cheek a little bit that people were seeing those three letters, F-S-T at the beginning, you know, we are talking about- Fascia. Yes. So, one of the things it's always an interesting thing when you start doing something that now is the hottest thing ever, which stretching was, now everybody's doing fascial stretching.

And I find it interesting when so many people don't know, actually what they're speaking about. There are two different definitions of fascia There's the definition of fascia, which is something that you can cut out of the body and it can be a single isolated piece. And then there's the fascial system, which is what we deal in, which is where, in my opinion the magic lives in the system, the amount of what's called interceptors and proprioceptor live in the fascial system, much, much, much more back to the concept of the muscles. There's 10 times the amount of sensors in the fascial system than there are in the muscles themselves. The nervous system runs through it.

The lymphatic system runs through it, and it is this beautiful network tense it's and just to coin another phrase tensegrity is something that we talk about. Bio-tensegrity, for me it's about learning this glorious interconnected system that the nervous system and the whole well being of the body lives in. And that is, what's different about how we approach stretching is through the system of the fascia. Yes and thank you for that definition and clarity and all. I will add that and kind of circling back to, you had said something a bit ago about your approach is an assessment based first and foremost, rather than maybe advising someone, "Yeah, you look tight, you better stretch," you know.

Hey know that you could actually be, you know, obviously mis-educating someone or damaging someone, but we don't all need to stretch the same things. We don't only just, you know, but we need to move well. Yeah. And so, and I will say, I found your work through a couple of my colleagues here in Santa Barbara, who when they came to fascial stretch therapy, fascial stretch therapy at Stretch to Win, I have my certificate right there. (laughing) And you know, they needed some practice buddies when they came back from school.

And of course I immediately, helped. Anything hands on, I really enjoy. And I will say from a receiver standpoint, it felt really different than other assisted stretching modalities that I've received. I will say a little mysterious and in some way kind of softer than I was maybe expecting, but I really felt great. And I felt some of the kind of constant restriction that I have seems to sit on my left posterior hip, former injury, long time ago there.

So, I think there's still memory there, but she didn't really, my friend Mandy didn't really address the hip or that side. And I'm like, "Oh, but, but, but, but, but," and she just kinda heard it and went on her business and did some other things and sure enough, then I didn't feel it anymore. You know and the next couple of days I'm like, "Oh, the hip feels better," but she didn't touch that so much really. I mean, she did, but not, you know, and it was enough of a curiosity for me to look into it. So, I went through level one training and there are three levels.

Can you just touch on it real quick, your school, your program? And cause some other people here might really be interested too. It's a beautiful bridge. I'm going to say from my perspective, a beautiful bridge, when I've had a client that maybe appearing having restrictions or lack of mobility. And I'm trying, what I think I know, I'm running into some and I feel like I know quite a bit, but I have more tools now and it's beautiful.

It is a bridge, it's a bridge because I have always had Palates. I've always had a studio. I have a studio in my house. It's a beautiful bridge with helping people move better through that piece. We have a school in Chandler, Arizona, my husband and I run.

We have three different levels, but it's as you said, and you hit on it beautifully and good Mandy for doing the right stuff. God love you. Yey, Mandy. It's a global system. And when you try to just look at whatever's yelling.

You ignore all the other pieces to balance out the fascial harmony is what we're saying. Right? And so when you have something that's gentle and deals with the global perspective, things start to balance themselves out. I've had people that are hyper mobile that have way too much mobility that after they experienced the technique and the gentleness of it and the philosophy of it, they have stability because it gives it like recalibrates, if you will, the tension and the balancing that needs to happen in that net. Can you, talk a bit more about that piece?

Because I think the hyper, so hyper mobility, the question often comes up or should I stretch if I'm hyper mobile? Not what's already hyper mobile, you need to stretch the hypo mobile. And when you have somebody that has got too much movement on one side of the joint, the other side needs to get addressed to balance it out. And I think it's falling into the trap of not always stretching, what's talking the loudest. And I say that over and over again, because it's a big paradigm shift from people just stretching what they think they need, as opposed to having the assessment.

And, you know, one of the things with "Stretched to Win," which is one of our, it's our self stretching book that we've written. Talks about the assessment piece and how you can do a self assessment. So, before you start into a program, take a look at what's going on so that you have a better template to move from, and then you can shift it and change it as you reach your goals. But don't just randomly stretch everything the same because in doing that, you make it looser, but you're looser still in asymmetries. Exactly and instability, you know?

And so again, with my, this thing, I can't, the back of my left. It's not very stabilized. Right? I had a slip and fall. And also then dance repetitive, repetitive, repetitive, repetitive movement on that side.

It is not stable. And so my craving, my desire sometimes is to kind of, you know, talk to it because it's really loud, but I need to just go, "Hey, wait a minute. "What's going on? "How about over here?" Or your iliac is on that side. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The other side of joint. The other side of the joint exactly. And which that's exactly right. Of course it is, (laughing) you know, but it's a really beautiful feeling when it's not loud. It's really a lovely feeling when it's not loud.

And then I feel like I sit better and I walk better. I'm not just, everything's better. And really, you know, and is it not what we want to live in a body that has that quote, "Zest and vigor," that Mr. Pilates, talked about with our Pilates system. So, thank you Jia. So, Jia just dropped in quite a bit of information for us here, the Stretch to Win website, the link for the book you can find on Amazon and thank you, Janice for that statement there and Christie so much as well.

Is there a right, I mean I know, well, what if someone can't, let me say this differently. Self-assessment, can you talk that first prior to maybe seeking out a one-on-one. Sure. Since right now, especially in the COVID world that- Absolutely. May not be, yeah.

It's an interesting thing. And you learn this with Live Stretch with the looking and that piece. It's really important to be able to know your own body and in order to do that, one of the things that's awesome about, and I give my husband credit, cause he wrote that whole section on the self assessment with what it is you need to look for. And I think most of the time we have we have asymmetries. So, I decide we have asymmetries upper body at lower body we have tendencies with, you know, not so much phones anymore.

Cause we don't do that, but keyboards and all kinds of things like that. So, I think from an assessment standpoint is it doesn't have to be complicating, be very, very simple, but it's a better place to start from a better foundation than just general or just doing what you know how to do already. Right? Okay so, you know, for someone who might be going, "Okay, I'll do that, I'll go look." I mean, I would do I look in the mirror and I would see, I know my things. Right?

What then would I do if I saw something? So, I think one of the really good benchmarks is just to look for overall asymmetries. Okay. And part of the thing that we talk about too is trying to get people, not even to use their eyes, but to close their eyes and feel what's happening instead of letting their eyes judge them. Okay.

Because that can be a very judgmental thing, right? We do enough of that. That's true. Close your eyes and start to feel what's going on with how you're standing, feel where you're holding tension and going from that perspective is a really lovely way to start checking in with what's happening as opposed to being critical about what you see, because half the time you'll go off (laughing) on a negative tangent about what is or isn't there, right? Yeah. No, thank you for touching on that.

Yeah. And I think I look at the mirror, I steal that dancer modality you know, (laughing) (laughing drowns out speaker) stand in front of the mirror and check it out, get your leg up. I don't do that anymore. I don't, that's not good for me. And I really love the sematic flavor of all of this anyway. In deed.

I am such a, just drop on down to the ground and like just, I love that. And it feels right, meaning at home, it feels the harmonious sense of also giving myself time to drop in and feel and listen through, "Now, am I really feeling tight where I think I am" "or (grumbles) is it the opposite side or." And that's wellness in my opinion. And it starts with the breath, the breath. Yeah, yeah. Where is the breath happening and where is it not happening?

Because everything begins and ends with breath. Right? So, I think focusing on that. And if you can just get in touch with what's happening with your breathing, is an awesome for step as to what's going on with your body. Right, right, right and breath, (inhaling deeply) right now (exhales heavily) And the beginning and ending of all.

It's true, and right now in the world that we're in it kinda- Other, the respiratory things that are going. Oh, man. Oh, that and also just the anxiety and that we're all holding. Yeah. With obviously COVID, with the restrictions in travel with the restrictions in being around people.

Not being around people is what I mean, you know all of that. And I think, I would imagine many of us are in this kind of unconscious internal holding pattern, around our diaphragm. Absolutely. Which affects every single thing around us. And because of just the given anxiety that we're in, in the world and you know.

Yeah. Anyway. Also the Root Chakra for all of us has been in quite a place of panic. Yeah, yeah. Yes, it has.

Just that, "Wow, what is going on?" (laughing) I know, mine knocked a couple times pretty loudly, "Oh, wow." Yeah, yeah. No, okay. Round two, we will come back and talk about the Chakra. (laughing) Well, that's a whole another thing with this, but let's pop in a few questions. So, I'd like to refer Joanne, thank you for asking this question. We kind of did a little bit of it, but here's the question.

What is the difference between, FST and active isolated stretching. A huge difference. I've trained with Erin Madison, who developed AIS. We're kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum with how we approach it. It is something that I think there's a place for everything.

As long as there's not pain, that's kinda my barometer. And I think from a self standpoint, Erin's work is with the ropes. And his philosophy is it's like less than two seconds intervals and very choppy, if you will. Okay. A bit more of a ballistic sort of rhythm to it.

And FST is gentle and dance like, and never stops for very long anywhere. And doesn't have direct patterns. It has this flow and this, it looks, and I'll give this example because when I was, Oh, goodness. To getting ready for the 2000 Olympics with the Ladies Track Team at the Olympic trials, I was with a batch of my girls that were there. University of Texas was a bunch of very, Sandy Richards, Olympic hopeful runners.

And when I was doing that it was still very, very new in the industry and AIS was very big back then. And I had folks all around me doing the AIS and it looks so dramatically different than the patterns and the AIS the practitioners working really hard. The athlete was working really hard and I'm over here dancing and we're laughing and having fun. And so the dichotomy between the two was like, "What are they doing over there? "That looks so different." So, it is a very different concept.

And I think it's important to know, all the different philosophies that go in. it simply is kind of the other ends of the spectrum. And like I said, I'm was lucky enough to train with Erin, 2001 I think we went and trained with him. So, it's been many moons, but it's just kind of the antithesis of that philosophy. Okay, is the end result is still the same or I should say the end goal but probably- I'm gonna say we've had quite a few folks that have done AIS training that have come to do our training.

It's easier for the practitioner. It's not as much work to do FST as it is AIS, can be a tough workout for the practitioner. Okay. I can't speak on research that's been done for results. So, I can't give you hard evidence that way.

Okay. You know, everybody's got preferences, but I know that it's important to know the spectrum of what's out there. Yeah, okay. I know FST has had pretty stellar results across the board with all of the athletics that have, the amount of athletes that have experienced now, it's pretty wild. I think we did the first sports FST class, I think had 28 different kinds of athletes.

My practitioners came, we went down the list and was like from aerial people to synchronized swimmers to- I love it. Oh, it was amazing, the list was like, "Oh my God, this blows my mind," and (murmurs) people to the just incredible, to the strong man. That's so cool. It was so cool. So, the spectrum is just so incredible.

Yeah, wow. That would have been fun to be there. It was really fun. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was like, "Oh my God, (murmurs) candy store in here." I bet. Oh my God.

I will say from my, just, I'll add this in too. From being a recipient of FST is a, you know, guinea pig for a couple, I know Sarah, Burney, Charlie. Yeah. Mandy, Bright and Sarah, Burney and Charlie both of them. Yeah.

I have to shout out both, and I will be with my girl friend Sue. So, I feel very comfortable. Sure. With receiving body work from being my friends. And but I noticed that during their session giving to me.

Why am I doing this? Because that's what they were doing with me. (laughing) You're dancing with them dancing. I am dancing, so there were certain moves that they were doing. And as I'm lying on the table, I'm dropping into a much more, almost quiet meditative sleepy state, which I know for me, that's good.

If I can in drop in like that and get in there. Very sympathetic is what we are trying to get everybody (crosstalk drowns speaker). Very sympathetic (exhales heavily). Down regulating those nervous systems. Yes.

It's so amped up out there. That's one reason why I really love this work, I appreciate it and I know it's good for me. It's healthy for me to receive it, also to give it because then as I'm giving. I am in the in wave like movement. So, they give something called the Stretch Wave.

Yep. I purposely left my hair wavy today. (laughing) I did, I was getting ready to curl it as I do a lot of times for these, I'm like, "No, I want my stretch, I want my waves." (cross talk drowns out speaker) But it is, it's this beautiful wave movement through the body and the tissues and the hydration and the flow. It's just really delicious. So anyway, so Christie Cooper asks us a great question.

How do you deal with a person who knows they're strong, even prides himself on it and get them to go in like this, to check it out. How do you get someone else to be sematic? Christie. Big boy, Christie. That's a tough one. I think one of the challenges we have is, it's okay Christie.

(laughing) One of the challenges is to try to show people the many sides of things and that it's not giving up being strong to experience this. And I think you hit it kinda on the head with that flow and that the way I'd like to express this. And so Christie, we'll talk about how to work on your dance honey, is it's the synergistic dance of two fascial systems working in harmony together. That's what this is. So, you can dial it down or what we do when we get ready for what we call the game day quickies. And I am from way up that you've got the underclass, right?

Oh, my God. So, that's so curvy. That's the whole different spectrum, but then they're ready to go. So, they're not sleepy, they're ready to go. Exactly. So, you can turn it up or turn it down.

So, when you have somebody, back to Christie's question, when you have somebody that's priding on strong, there's nothing more magnificent than strong and flexible. Perfect for (murmurs). Yeah and mobile, you know, and obviously mobility is the name of the game with a well tuned body of any kind, whether the person is a athlete or kind of non, like a normal person. We want to be able to live in this body and do the movements that we do, whatever they are to not we going, "Oh my, my back is out" or "those things" and how those moments, like if we're really in a mobile body, a strong mobile body, you know? A sense of ease.

Yes, absolutely. So, Christie's other question, yes. Is that part of the FST training that felt very intimate. My one experience with FST felt very intimate, not weirdly so after all, is it part of the training? What do you mean?

Well, Christie, can you type in what you mean there? I'm not too sure what she means. Me neither, intimate in the way of the touch or the response that people, I'm not sure what she's asking us. Hope she is writing it. I hope so.

Where are you? Where are you Ms. Cooper? Well, it is intimate in a big way. You're right there with the person and you're- So, any kind of hands on bodywork that has a sense of developing trust, there is a level of intimacy with the trust. Absolutely.

So, I look at intimacy as that beautiful relationship where there's honesty, you can communicate whatever you're feeling, and there's no judgment with that. And that you have to be relaxed in your own body in order to give it. If you're tense and stuck in your head. And it's not going to have the same sort of connection as being dancing as one and having that bond and that special symbiotic relationship that needs to happen. This may not be, well.

I don't even know what time it is. Okay, we have 10 minutes. Wow, I have so many more questions for you. And I know that this could be a part two, actually. Yeah we can, I mean, I'm fine with that.

Yeah, I think we could because the fascial world is evolving and how about the emotional component with our fascia and holding patterns. And so I'm going to go into this when someone says, I feel tight, you know, and physically tight and maybe their hamstrings, I'm gonna just keep going to that category. Sure. Cause a lot of us movement teachers hear that, "Oh." Yes. You know, I know our emotional body and it's history memories, all it's in our fascia you know?

It is indeed. Okay. It's an interesting thing. The cellular memory lives there. So, trauma lives there and all kinds of things that, you know, it's one of those things, Amy that when I started doing this, I worked with pro athletes and there's not much of that, right?

Yeah, no. That wasn't the situation that came up at least verbally. Okay. But as this technique has evolved and we have thousands, we have over 5,000 graduates from the school all over the globe and you guys have had amazing opportunity to touch so many more people. And we live in a world of many, many wounded spirits, very common to have somebody lay down on the table and to have with the practitioner feeling the importance of that building that relationship.

There's a place of trust. And there aren't many places that exist out there like that. Right? So, I think one of the things with the emotional component is when somebody feels like they're in a safe space and they are being addressed in a way that's very gentle and kind and all those things that are harder and harder to come by out there, it's not uncommon to have emotional components come out and it comes out through the fascial system. So, one of the things that's always interesting is the level of when it comes out, it is very rarely something that happens in a timing that is ideal.

(laughing) Almost always comes out when there's somebody else waiting in the waiting room or, but I think one of the things is learning the importance of knowing your scope of practice with what isn't is not in your scope. So, one of the things that we always tell people is be very, very clear that unless your psychologist are trained that way. You don't go there. Right? You create a space, you know, you ask if the person wants to continue or if you need to step out or if they need to step out and you honor it, you hold space from and you honor it.

And one of the things that always amazes me is how they choose you. And you may not think you're ready, but they choose you. So, we're working a lots of levels with how to give more tools because there's so many spectacular books that have come out that address that, that can do it in such a beautiful way to understand the power of knowing the healing that can happen when your hurt and your intention is pure for that. Yeah, beautiful Ann, thank you, thank you. And I know, I feel in just knowing you a little bit that I do this, that topic can be expanded upon.

Absolutely. And you know, if there's enough interest, perhaps we can go into that next time, but the little bit of FST that I've been able to now give out. Darn COVID, I know it's kind of interrupted my giving, but yeah, almost everyone. And it's not that I'm looking for people to cry on the table. It's not that, I mean, sometimes there's been laughing, like just overjoyed.

Actually laughter is something, I'd get a great deal of and so that's a beautiful way. Just get kind of spontaneous little giggles and like- And like slumber party laughing, I can't control this. Yeah. And then you start laughing and it's like, "What is?" Yeah, I love it when the athletes used to do that and they cover their face, they couldn't figure out what was going on. (laughing) Okay.

(laughing) I know, I love that. So yeah, I know. And I think it kind of continues to wrap back into, you know, some of the earlier questions I had is like, why do you think people are wanting to stretch so much right now? Or what's their curiosity around stretching? Or why now is it becoming so such a craving?

And look what's going on, you know, and I think- I think the combination, honestly, it's been very interesting, the combination of sitting. Yeah. And the combination now of people that are so starved for contact for that sense of touch and that sense of connection. So, I think that's when we actually have been chosen to be subject experts for the National Academy of Sports Medicine, NASM. We're working with them on projects right now.

Wow. I think it's very exciting. And I've known him for 20 years and we were now working on a project together and it's been really cool because they did all the market research, you know like stretching is the single thing, everybody wants. There is nothing that tops it from a consumer standpoint, which is why we see the franchise is popping up everywhere. The demand is there.

Yeah. People are craving it and they're craving it all over the globe. It's crazy what's happening. It's an interesting thing being, I started this 30 years ago, not knowing I was gonna be at the beginning of the industry. I had no idea, but I have put my roots roots down very, very deep, and I have not done anything except put them down deeper and not lost perspective of the mission of being able to touch as many lives as we possibly could, through the school.

Oh, I love it. And I know too, that you, I feel, and you know, you are the palace with all the best, Robert Schleip, Thomas Myers, Yeah. Elizabeth Larico, Gil Hedley, like you're, you know, in the camp. Cause they are all my buddies. Yeah, yeah.

(murmurs) Yes, yes. And many of us who are watching now are also, you know, we hold high respect for this. We have high respect and regard for the evidence, the research, the data that can back up, the feeling that we all feel or that we share. And I think globally, the more evidence, the more research we can have, then I guess the better in that regard but, oh, what was that question? Do we have any more questions?

Oh, Oh, huge support. Oh wait, Okay. Jenny has a question. Maybe a have a few more minutes. I've never heard of FST.

Could you describe it as an unwinding of fascial tension? Absolutely. I did Qigong could it be similar. It's moving energy. Yeah. Yep.

Just assisted. Yeah. When I worked on Chris's Qigong master, he said you're just dancing with my chi and I said, "Okay." Sounds good to me. Cool. Yeah, it sounds great.

And then Janice, thank you FST weaves, hugs into the dance. Oh. The practitioners are very respectful. I would agree with that. You're welcome, Jenny.

Yeah and we love it too. I actually love it, I need an FST session actually. (laughing) I can stand this to have a session right now, I don't. Ann thank you so much. You're so welcome.

I knew this hour would fly by and for everyone here, thank you for coming and supporting a more like-minded, like-hearted, like souled conversation. And supporting Pilates Anytime for bringing incredible presenters to come share and highlight and educate on their subject matter. And I think that's Ann's true kind of the depth of you as educator. Absolutely, first and foremost. Yeah.

And thank you. And everyone's coming in to say thank you. You're welcome. Oh, part two, please. Okay.

(laughing) Would be delighted to. Okay, well I think we'll have to set a date. Deal. All right Ann, thank you so much. Have a wonderful rest of your day.

You to Amy, it was my pleasure. Thank you guys for listening. Yeah, thanks everybody. We'll see you soon.


1 person likes this.
Fantastic discussion! I'm that "no pain no gain" guy that you described at the beginning, and had the exact issue with overstretching the hamstrings and other muscle groups at the expense of others.  Very interesting!
If a person has a regular regime of pilates and yoga workouts, combined with foam roller, restorative movements, etc., do you feel they would still benefit from mayo fascial massage/regular massage?  I heard an interesting comment that only we know our own bodies and by having another person manipulate our tissues and musculature we are allowing them to "fix" us according to where they think we should be, and they could potentially be causing more harm than good.  Interested in your opinions on this Amy and Ann?
Annie F
1 person likes this.
Hi Shannon 
I apologize for the delay in answering you. That is a really great question. I can only speak to my own technique of Fascial Stretch Therapy that is based on the Practitioner truly listening to their clients body and tissues. We allow their body "talk" to us as we move it thru space. There is never an agenda to  "fix it" because only the client is capable for healing themselves. We are simply the facilitators.  It is a synergistic relationship based on trust and never causing pain. I hope that helps!  Sincerely, Ann

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.

Footer Pilates Anytime Logo

Move With Us

Experience Pilates. Experience life.

Let's Begin