Dealing with nagging injuries or tight, stiff muscles that are painfully lingering? Try this alternative method of stretching and strengthening.
Repetitive movements from work or play, poor posture, and exercising day after day with no time for recovery can result in overuse injuries. Traditional treatment often includes anti-inflammatories and using ice to take down swelling. Rest and taking a break from the culprit activity is also recommended. But what if your efforts to repair are ineffective?
Try something different. Meridian Flexibility and Strengthening (MFS) can help you heal those tender areas through a unique series of stretching and strenghtening exercises. In addition to ridding you of pain, this alternative technique can impressively increase your range of motion and improve your strength.
The Basics: Bob Cooley spent decades seeking a way to help him heal from serious injuries after being hit by a car at 70 mph. The result of his search? A system of 16 stretches focusing on continually contracting the muscle as it is being stretched. Today, professional athletes like Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and speed skater Eric Flaim credit the method for getting them faster and fitter, and Al Roker demonstrated some moves during his quest to lose weight for a Today show segment (see video below).
The Belief: Also known as Resistance Flexibility and Strength Training (RFST), the method is a combination of Western physical therapy, psychology, and traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture and acupressure. The meridians are 16 channels running through the body that control your chi or energy. Experts say these stretches open each channel, allowing your chi to flow while releasing toxins trapped in the muscles.
The Benefits: Aside from effectively increasing flexibility, decreasing pain, and preventing injuries, the method is said to improve the immune system and relieve migranes, asthma, allergies, digestive problems, and sleep disorders.
Getting Started: Check with your local health club for Meridian classes, workshops, and private instructors or pick up Cooley’s book The Genius of Flexibility (Fireside, 2005) for a detailed guide to the program’s series of 16 resistance stretches.
For more information, visit:
Meridian Flexibility Center – find classes, workshops, videos, or an instructor near you
Helios Center for Movement – see sample stretches demonstrated by Carrie Collins