Well, we’re halfway through Shoulder Week (the phenomenon undoubtedly sweeping the nation), so I figure that this is probably a good time to talk about good stretch technique.

When you stretch a muscle, mechanoreceptors called muscle spindles within the tissue will try to inhibit the stretch by contracting the muscle fibres. The more sudden the movement, the stronger this reaction (it’s a protection mechanism). The muscle spindles are less sensitive when the muscle lengthening happens slowly and evenly.

In addition to keeping your stretches slow and steady, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use diaphragmatic breathing throughout the stretch
  • Position the body/limb along the direction of the muscle fibres
  • Think about the actions of the muscle you want to stretch; the opposite actions will stretch it
  • Ease into the stretch to the “bite point,” and hold it until the sensation lessons

Now, on to today’s stretch, the reverse prayer. Try to get the palms of your hands to touch as Denise is doing here. I’m not there yet, personally, but I’m working on it!

Denise demonstrating the "reverse prayer" shoulder range of motion technique

Hold for several seconds, breathing deeply.

Massage is a physical profession, and RMTs need to stay active to be at the top of their game. A good therapist will also be well-versed in exercises that will benefit their clients. Vicars students recieve training in remedial exercise, and our “remex” sessions incorporate exercises and stretches from many sports and athletic traditions. Practice along with us!

Each exercise is demonstrated by Denise Currie. In addition to being an RMT (and our Director!), Denise is a personal fitness trainer and highly regarded yoga practitioner who regularly trains other teachers.