“There are three things that stop your flexibility,” The instructor explained to us. I and my massage therapy teacher are sitting in a chiropractic clinic taking a continuing education course on some new massage tools. We are the only massage therapists in a room full of chiropractors.
“Can I borrow you?” The instructor asks me.
“Sure,” I respond hesitantly, not quite sure what we’ll be learning.
I stand up out of my chair and move to where I am in front of the class.
“The first thing that can stop the optimal range of motion (also known as flexibility) is a joint restriction.”
The instructor continues. He then has me face away from the class with my feet together and tells me to twist to the left without moving my feet. I twist one direction and then the other, only to find that I can’t twist as far one way.
The instructor explains that if I had a joint restriction that I would reach a portion of the movement where I simply couldn’t go further and if he attempted to help me do so it would just feel hard and unmoving. He turned to the class and explained that the solution for this is typically a joint manipulation.
“The second thing that can happen is a soft tissue restriction.”
He goes on to say that a soft tissue restriction occurs when the person stretches as far as they can, you come to help them stretch further, and then the moment you stop helping, they spring back to the position they were in before, similar to an elastic band stretching back.
“The third thing that can stop flexibility is the nervous system.”
This time the instructor places his hands on my shoulder and turns me all the way around to where I can look back at the audience, where I wasn’t able to on my own. He explains that sometimes, the brain and the nerves just don’t talk well to each other. Determining what flexibility restriction or restrictions a person is facing is the key to them being able to obtain optimum flexibility.