I usually talk about the importance of balancing the body’s energy to maintain optimal health and wellness but stretching is equally important to keep muscles elongated and firing correctly.
There seems to be a lot of people with tight IT bands and low back discomfort lately. This is not unusual since it is the season of gallbladder, and part of the gallbladder meridian follows the exact path of the IT band. During spring, the subtle energies of nature are most active in gallbladder and liver meridians, and any stagnation or blockage in these pathways can create pain and discomfort.
The beginning of the warm weather also brings out sandals and flip flops, which can create tight calf muscles and sore feet. When the legs are tight the vital energy becomes blocked and can’t rise up the back of the body. The blood flow follows energy, and it will also be stagnant; this creates discomfort and pain.
Bodywork therapy can balance the energy and unblock the energy flow but sometimes stretching can also alleviate some of the problem. If the imbalance is not too great stretching may solve the discomfort.
There are two books which I refer to for stretching exercises; they are: Comprehensive Myofascial Self Treatment by Joyce Karnis, and The Permanent Pain Cure by Ming Chew. They both offer a lot of stretching exercises for specific problem areas. These books are valuable not only for correcting muscle spasm but also for maintaining balance after bodywork sessions. Maintaining health and wellness is a personal journey. Having resources to help us makes the journey easier.