When You Stretch: The First Fibers Of The Muscle That Lengthen/Relax Are The Fibers That Are Least Tight
Stretching/yoga is a great all round exercise for your body. Stretching is essential for overall muscle health. Stretching adds flexibility and lessens tension. Stretching definitely helps tight muscles become less tight, though stretching doesn’t target first releasing the tightest muscle fibers that are causing the most trouble.
When you stretch and your muscles relax and lengthen, it’s the fibers that are least tight that relax/lengthen first. As you hold the stretch for a longer and longer period of time you’re giving the fibers in the muscles that are tighter (and tightest) time to relax/release their tension and lengthen. In stretching, the tightest fibers of the muscle release last and the least tight fibers release first.
Trigger Point Massage Relaxes The Tightest Fibers First
A trigger point is the strongest build up of tension in the entire muscle. In trigger point massage your time and effort are focused on releasing the tightest fibers of the muscle. Trigger point massage is very specific stretching to the tightest fibers in the muscle. Click here to read about trigger point therapy. My clinical work with people has shown me that the best results come when the tightest, most troubling fibers of the muscle are released.
Tendons, Stretching and Trigger Point Therapy
Tendons are very tough transitional fibers (much stronger than muscles) that anchor the muscle to the bone. Tendons are needed because they can withstand a lot more pulling pressure than muscle fibers. If the muscle fibers attached directly into the bone they would tear when the muscle goes into a strong state of contraction. Click here to learn more about tendons by going to the wikipedia page about tendons.
Your tendons are having a constant pulling/lengthening/stretching pressure on them when you stretch. This constant pulling on a healthy tendon is not a problem. If your tendon is already stressed, then stretching can cause further irritation to the tendon. When you’re using trigger point therapy in the tightest spot in a muscle this pressure puts no stress on your tendon.
In conclusion, trigger point massage and stretching help muscles to let go of tension, though these two methods work very differently.