Newsletter no. 7 – Monday 9 August, 2021

This is the web-based version of Stretch Therapy Newsletter no. 7

In today's newsletter, Kit writes about how to find sensation in the body.

And, find two videos. One is an extended version of the neck flexion/extension video of last week. The second is a RollStretch technique to soften the muscles of the middle back.


How does that feel?

The most common question from teacher to student is, ‘how does that feel?’; where do you feel that?’; and ‘can you move/change that feeling (and how)?’. This is the process by which we have come to learn that science has only a partial understanding of the process of becoming more flexible, or stronger. I spent many years in graduate study at the ANU, in the Philosophy and Human Ecology Departments, and one of the main focuses of that work was trying to understand the limits to science, as a broad set of tools for understanding the natural world.

And it became clear that science has little to say on those aspects of human experience that are (often pejoratively) labelled as “subjective”. Pain is a perfect example, and an individual’s experience of the many sensations of the activity of stretching is another. No amount of understanding of the biology, mechanics, or  neurophysiology of stretching will actually get you into side splits. We have spent 25+ years in the close study of this most intimate and inner of human experiences, and now we understand something about it.

Read the full article.


In last week's newsletter no. 6** we included a video of neck flexion and extension. Today we include an extended example of the same sequence – this one has additional movements, and is more intense than the previous one.

As well, in practicing the neck flexion movement, you may have also felt sensations further down the spine, perhaps into your middle back muscles. If so, today's second video is a RollStretch technique to soften those tissues.

A complete sequence for stretching your neck muscles

Once you have become familiar and comfortable with last week's gentle neck flexion/extension sequence, you can give this one a go!

RollStretch for the middle back

An amazingly effective technique for targeting middle–upper back tension, of the sort produced by too much computer work! Let Olivia take you through a RollStretch technique she has developed which targets this usually hard-to-get-at spot perfectly.

This tension is held in a group of muscles called the ‘paravertebrals’; they are spinal muscles that we use to extend the thoracic spine (to sit up at the computer, in other words). As well, levator scapulae and trapezius are involved, too. This one simple exercise can find all the sensitive spots there, and using her techniques, we can learn to relax onto the ball. The result is instant softening of areas that are otherwise hard to work on by yourself.

A note from a student

I finally attempted your neck muscle stretching sequence properly. Neck in ‘desk-work’ spasms… I wasn’t able to hold the stretches as long as you however….wow! I cannot describe the RELIEF I feel at the moment. The shooting pains have subsided! When my body is in such a state – NOTHING gives me such relief!

Thank you so much Olivia for the clear instructions and demonstration! This is pure RELIEF from my GRIEF!! 😁

Meera P., Australia

** My apologies if you received newsletter no. 6 twice last Thursday – operator error 🐱 I pressed 'send', and immediately noticed an error: I tried to 'recall' but am not sure how well that worked! Cheers, Olivia.