Mike Pineault Describes Why You Need to Know About Fascial Stretch Therapy

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As most of us who workout know, improving flexibility in a safe and effective way can be one of the most difficult things to master, especially if we are exercising on our own. But, we also know (and as plenty of studies have shown), flexibility goes a long way in improving athletic performance and reducing the risk of injury.

Even the Mayo Clinic supports the importance of flexibility, highlighting that improving flexibility through stretching can increase blood flow to one’s muscles and decrease injury risk through “helping … joints move through their full range of motion and enabling … muscles to work most effectively.”

This may be all fine and good. However, that doesn’t mean that how one can improve flexibility is crystal clear. In fact, ever since static stretching (the kind of stretching we were most likely taught in gym class) was called into question, many of those who exercise have been confused as to how to stretch properly.

Over the years, other types of stretching techniques have been developed, such as dynamic stretching and ballistic stretching and Active Isolated Stretching, or AIS.

One type of stretching technique that is gradually gaining more attention in the health and fitness world is something called Fascial Stretch Therapy, or FST.

Developed in the mid-90s by Ann and Chris Frederick of the Stretch to Win Institute, Fascial Stretch Therapy is conceptually much different than most other stretching techniques.

As it turns out, a layer of connective tissue surrounds your muscles, bones and tissue. This layer of connective tissue is what’s called the fascia and it plays an important role in the body’s flexibility and athletic strength and performance.

Fascial Stretch Therapy targets the fascia and in a table-based regimen of exercises works to derestrict the fascia and the body’s joint capsules. By derestricting these parts of the body, not only does the body improve as far as strength and flexibility, one’s posture is also improved. Fascial Stretch Therapy is also known to relieve chronic pain.
As mentioned, ever since the development of this stretching technique, many in the personal training and physical therapy world have to come to realize how powerful Fascial Stretch Therapy can be.

One of the technique’s proponents is Mike Pineault, a Canadian personal trainer who runs a fitness studio based in Timmins, Ontario, a fitness studio that offers Fascial Stretch Therapy to its members. Having studied Fascial Stretch Therapy for a number of years and having personally benefited from the technique, Mike Pineault is a proponent of the therapy and has spoken about the therapy in the past.

However, his support of Fascial Stretch Therapy comes with its caveats. In particular, Mike Pineault highlights the difficulty level that comes with doing Fascial Stretch Therapy.

“[Fascial Stretch Therapy] really does produce results as far as increased performance and strength and even pain relief,” Pineault says. Mike Pineault then adds, “But, it is a table-based form of stretching and at least from the outset, this type of stretching requires someone who is trained in the Therapy. People who believe that they can pick up FST immediately and do it by themselves from the get-go will be mistaken.”

Mike Pineault then adds one other point that is good to know.

“I really do urge people to learn about FST; it’s an entirely new approach to effective stretching. But, like anything else, the benefits of Fascial Stretch Therapy are seen over time by regularly doing FST’s stretches. The benefits of FST come relatively quickly, but not overnight. Those who have just started FST need to remain patient and stick with the therapy.”

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