Therapeutic Stretching


Therapeutic Stretching focuses on the use of both active and passive stretching as part of the rehabilitation of common musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Covering all forms of stretches for the able-bodied, injured, and selected special populations, Therapeutic Stretching is a comprehensive resource for practitioners and students working in massage therapy, osteopathy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, and personal and athletic training.

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Therapeutic Stretching focuses on the use of both active and passive stretching as part of the rehabilitation of common musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Covering all forms of stretches for the able-bodied, injured, and selected special populations, Therapeutic Stretching is a comprehensive resource for practitioners and students working in massage therapy, osteopathy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, and personal and athletic training.

With both active and passive stretches outlined for a range of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, Therapeutic Stretching offers a range of rehabilitative stretches for the foot and ankle, knee and leg, hip and thigh, upper limb, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers, and back and neck. Author Jane Johnson, a practicing physiotherapist, sport massage therapist, and body work instructor, provides information on incorporating passive stretching as a treatment option and selecting appropriate active stretches for clients to practice at home.

Heavily illustrated with more than 230 color photos, Therapeutic Stretching provides excellent visual instruction on client positioning and the most effective handholds for the application of passive stretches to various joints and soft tissues. A user-friendly format, clear explanations of stretching techniques, and visual guidance from photos help students and practitioners readily incorporate these stretches into their practice.

Therapeutic Stretching outlines the rationale for stretching after musculoskeletal injury along with general safety guidelines and an overview of the musculoskeletal conditions addressed in the text. Also included is a discussion of the differences between and applications of passive, active, and advanced forms of stretching such as muscle energy technique (MET) and soft tissue release (STR).

Readers of Therapeutic Stretching will find a 10-step process for designing, implementing, and assessing a stretching program. The text discusses applications of therapeutic stretching for three special populations: elderly clients, pregnant women, and athletes. For each, a listing of common physiological factors or characteristics that might affect a stretching program is included, along with tips on modifications to employ when working with these individuals.

Following this foundational information are three chapters with photos and descriptions of active and passive stretches for musculoskeletal injuries and conditions of the lower limbs, upper limbs, and trunk. Here readers will find stretches useful for treating injuries and conditions such as sprained ankles, shin splints, runner’s knee, tight calves or hamstrings, adhesive capsulitis, lateral epicondylitis, stiff wrists, kyphosis, low back pain, stiff neck, and whiplash.

Special Tip boxes throughout the text offer guidance on modifying the stretches and techniques to meet the needs of individual clients. Tables detail the passive and active stretches covered in each chapter and indicate whether a stretch is contraindicated for a particular injury or condition. Following most chapters are five Quick Questions that assist readers in gauging their understanding of the content.

In addition, Therapeutic Stretching includes a visual guide to stretching routines that could be performed in the prone, supine, and seated positions. These suggested routines assist students and practitioners new to therapeutic stretching in learning to apply these stretches in an efficient manner and without excessive repositioning of the client.

Therapeutic Stretching offers a range of stretches to assist both current and future practitioners in safely treating clients rehabilitating from musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Delivering the most up-to-date stretching techniques, this guide is a valuable resource for professionals in health care, rehabilitation, fitness, and body work seeking tools to assist their clients in alleviating muscular pain, reducing joint stiffness, and speeding recovery from injury.

Therapeutic Stretching is part of the Hands-On Guides for Therapists series, providing tools of assessment and treatment that fall well within the realm of massage therapists but may be useful for other body workers, such as osteopaths and fitness instructors. The guides include full-color instructional photographs, Tips sections that provide advice on adjusting massage techniques, Client Talk boxes that present ideas for creatively applying techniques for various types of clients, and questions that test knowledge and skill.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Kimberly M Martin, MS, ATC (The Ohio State University Medical Center)
Description: This comprehensive guide to stretching as part of a rehabilitation treatment plan for musculoskeletal injuries and conditions provides visual depictions of a variety of stretches that can be used by a practitioner or patient with a specific injury.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an introduction or a reference for healthcare providers to incorporate stretching into rehabilitation treatment plans. It explains why stretching is important, discusses precautions, and provides visual references of a comprehensive group of stretches.
Audience: The book is written for a variety of healthcare students/practitioners who specialize in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. The author is a physiotherapist and a sports massage therapist. With this clinical background coupled with experience from providing continuing professional development workshops, she has the level of expertise necessary to compile a comprehensive guide.
Features: This is an excellent guide for incorporating stretching into a therapeutic treatment or rehabilitation protocol. The necessity of including the goals and methods of measuring progress of stretching is highlighted in the book, something which often seems to be left out of a typical treatment plan. The book includes photographs for all stretches that show correct body alignment and hand placement of patient and practitioner. Also included are progressions for some stretches as the patient becomes more comfortable, or as the injury or condition continues to heal. The book also has suggestions for both active and passive stretching, and when each might be indicated or contraindicated.
Assessment: This book will be useful to practitioners who want to incorporate stretching into their treatment or rehabilitation protocols. It also would be a good visual reference for patients to use for a home program. The approach is novel, arranging recommended stretches by injury or condition, rather than just body part.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781450412759
  • Publisher: Human Kinetics Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/13/2012
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 406,347
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Johnson, MSc, is co-director of the London Massage Company (London, England) and is a chartered physiotherapist and sport massage therapist. An experienced body work instructor, Johnson has been a regular provider of continuing professional development workshops for the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) for over 10 years. This experience has brought her into contact with thousands of therapists of all disciplines and helped inform her own practice.

Johnson is also a regular presenter at the annual Complementary and Massage Expo (CAM) held in the United Kingdom. She is a full member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists and is registered with the Health Professions Council. She is also a member of the Institute of Anatomical Sciences.

In her spare time, Johnson enjoys taking her dog for long walks, practicing wing chun kung fu, and visiting museums. She resides in London.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Getting Started with Therapeutic Stretching

Chapter 1. Introduction to Therapeutic Stretching

What Is Therapeutic Stretching?

The Need for Therapeutic Stretching

Why Should I Incorporate Stretching Into My Practice?

Overview of Musculoskeletal Conditions Covered in This Book

Why Do People Stretch?

The Challenge of Designing a Stretching Protocol

The Rationale for Stretching After Musculoskeletal Injury

General Safety Guidelines

Closing Remarks

Quick Questions

Chapter 2. Preparing for Stretching

Step 1: Assess the Client

Step 2: Identify Treatment Objectives

Step 3: Choose a Stretching Method

Step 4: Set Stretching Goals

Step 5: Screen for Contraindications

Step 6: Contemplate the Stretching Environment

Step 7: Take Measurements

Step 8: Create a Stretching Plan

Step 9: Carry Out Stretches

Step 10: Reassess and Document Findings

Closing Remarks

Quick Questions

Part II. Stretching Methods

Chapter 3. Active and Passive Stretching

Active and Passive Stretching Definitions, Advantages, and Disadvantages

Guidelines for Providing an Active Stretching Programme

Guidelines for Applying Passive Stretches

Closing Remarks

Quick Questions

Chapter 4. Advanced Forms of Stretching

Muscle Energy Technique

Soft Tissue Release

Closing Remarks

Quick Questions

Part III. Implementing Your Stretches

Chapter 5. Stretching the Lower Limb

Foot and Ankle

Knee and Leg

Hip and Thigh

Quick Questions

Chapter 6. Stretching the Upper Limb



Wrist, Hand and Fingers

Quick Questions

Chapter 7. Stretching the Trunk

Head and Neck


Quick Questions

Part IV. Stretching Routines

Chapter 8. Prone Stretching Routine

The Lower Limb

The Upper Limb

Chapter 9. Supine Stretching Routine

Lower Limb

Upper Limb


Chapter 10. Seated Stretching Routine

Lower Limb

Upper Limb


Questions for Self-Reflection

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