This week I saw a client who had an overstretch injury which she gained following instructions from a health professional. This led me to think about the fact that I often suggest gentle stretching to my clients and indeed do some of this during my normal massage routine.
Talking with this client before the massage reminded me of how important it is to know your client when advising things such as stretching. I do not have any hesitation in saying that stretching is an important part of keeping fit for many, myself included. However it has to be done carefully and with knowledge of what is involved. I teach clients to recognise what stretches are good for them and which are not. I also make sure they know about warming up before stretching. (It can be done from cold but extra care is needed to avoid injuries. When I do stretches as part of my massage routine it is after warming up the muscles with massage. I am not going to advise on stretches in general as I only do so after assessing a client and even then usually not until after I have done at least one massage with them as this forms part of my assessment.
I am not saying be afraid of stretches but in general, if they are not already part of your regular routine, take it gently to start with. Learn which discomfort means back off and which is, “good pain.” Remember, you have known about your body a lot longer than I have but pay attention to what it is telling you!