Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. One very common source of pain is conditioned deep muscle tension. Conditioned deep muscle tension can arise from repetitive motions or long periods of inactivity and poor posture, as well as traumatic episodes. It will distort the skeletal structure: striate muscles pull on tendons, which pull on bones. This causes imbalances that gradually stress the body in ways it was not designed to withstand for long periods.
When trauma is the cause, the muscle tension can and frequently does continue to generate subconscious anxiety, and may re-trigger the memory of the traumatic episode.
Resistance Stretching is an extremely effective way to eliminate muscle imbalances. In Resistance Stretching, a muscle is contracted and then forced to lengthen through its full range of motion, while resisting. Resisting while stretching safeguards both muscle and joint integrity, greatly reducing the chance of structural damage.
By resisting through the entire range of motion, you generate a stretch through the entire range of motion, as opposed to static stretches that generate the stretch only at the end of the range of motion. The resistance improves strength through the entire range of motion; the stretched muscle is going through an eccentric contraction (getting longer while under tension) and generating about 15% of the strength improvement that a concentric contraction (getting shorter under tension) produces in the muscles generating the force to overcome the resistance.
Blood flow to a muscle is maximized at between 25-75% maximal contraction. At less than 25%, there is little demand for blood, at more than 75%, the muscle is too dense to be permeable to blood flow. However, even at maximal contraction, the eccentric contraction will improve permeability while generating high metabolic demand for blood flow, greatly increasing blood supply to the muscles.
A skilled practitioner can easily determine where your imbalances are and rapidly correct them; or you can learn the self stretches. These exercises are set up in pairs so that you first work a muscle group and then work its antagonist (in this system, balancing) muscle group. This allows you to maintain a high level of effort while reducing or eliminating rest period.