Tag Archives: Stretching

Unsticking the sliding surfaces in the morning

Taken from Internal Power Training

The fascia that interfaces the muscles allows tissues to slide over each other smoothly without sticking. However, when we are sedentary for a long period of time, such as during sleep or if we adopt the same position throughout the day (like sitting at a desk) a type of ‘fuzz’ builds up in these sliding layers which makes them begin to stick.

This is the reason we often feel a little slow or achy in the mornings and need to make a stretch. Anyone with dogs or cats will be familiar with this ‘waking stretch’. The ‘fuzz’ is essentially melted by these stretches allowing the interfaces to slide smoothly.

However, if we don’t adequately melt this fuzz it can actually thicken and bind the sliding surfaces together creating more permanent stiffness in isolated areas. This, lack of melting is essentially created by lack of movement and stretching and can be the reason some people need regular massages or tissue work to be done. They simply do not move enough to consistently melt this fuzz and it builds into thick bindings.

Here is where internal training and the notion of full body movement comes into its own, especially in the mornings.

If, once areas of sticking become engrained, we were to simply stretch the tight area of the body it is unlikely we would hit enough of the sliding surface to solve the issue. We would, in reality, only hit the portion of the tightness we are able to perceive.

Bound tissue in our body is not very easy for us to precisely identify. People will often talk of a tight ‘area’ or region of the body rather than an exact location, it is only when a massage therapist finds a ‘knot’ that the person will identify the exact problem!

To cater for this lack of specificity, internal training methods will move and stretch entire chains of tissue rather than singular points. This movement along an entire chain will mean that not only the perceived tight areas will be released, but also where they are bound to other muscle or connective tissue groups. We often call this method of stretching ‘pulling silk’, which very well describes the actual material we are pulling on in order to melt away. (see image of Fascia Fuzz.)

If a dysfunction is deeply engrained it can take many months of full chain stretches to unbind the tissues. But this releasing of bound tissue can produce some very pleasant sensations for the practitioner. Sudden warming of an area of the body, tingling, relaxation or relief from long standing pains are all characteristics that we feel as release or opening occurs.

It is also extremely useful in the mornings to increase energy levels throughout the day by allowing effective muscle function.