“Therapeutic Stretching” Book Review

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Being sore sucks, plain and simple. After a hard night of training, your body is aching and your brain refuses to allow you to lift your feet higher than half an inch off the ground. Recovery is key, especially when you are a novice to whatever martial art of physical exercise that has just started to train seriously. One of the best ways for your body to acclimate and heal faster is through stretching, and today we have just the book to help teach you to do that the right way.

Released by Human Kinetics, “Therapeutic Stretching” weighs in at just over 170 pages long, and features over 140 different stretches to do on your own or with a partner to help. This book includes enough info to do a total body stretch for rehab, PT, massage therapy, and athletes in need of loosening up tense muscles after a rough workout.

Jane Johnson, author of this book, is no stranger to writing, as she has written countless other books on massage and stretching, some of which we may review in the near future. Johnson, who is a physiotherapist and sports massage therapist from England, holds plenty of accolades in her field, and this book gives you a chance to glimpse at that knowledge without traveling to the UK.

“Therapeutic Stretching” is like a beginners textbook to the world of massage therapy, and covers a wide variety of topics related to it. This book helps the reader to identify and diagnose various injuries and ailments and tells you how to work on improving them, and how to create a routine for yourself or your client that would be most beneficial to them without accidentally causing them harm or making them uncomfortable. Readers will learn the difference between active and passive stretching, and the techniques to do both across every part of the human anatomy.

Some stretches are done solo, others with a trainer or partner, but overall you will feel relieved once you start practicing some of these techniques. The written instruction is short and concise, with little tips to optimize the experience of the stretcher or the person being stretched. The most important aspects of stretching each limb group is at the start of each chapter, so I suggest you pay keen attention to that info since it is just as, if not more important, than the stretches themselves. There is some medical jargon in the book as well, but it is explained early on and readers should easily be able to avoid being confused by the terms.

Overall, Johnson has written a great starting place for people interested in stretching that serves a purpose beyond Yoga. Readers should keep in mind that this is not a Yoga book as that is more recreational, while this is meant for healing and recovery. With that said, both are beneficial but this book is made more for the athlete and a trainer or coach for before or after a workout or to deal with nagging injuries.

You can order “Therapeutic Stretching (Hands-on Guides for Therapists)” on Amazon.com for around $27, which may seem pricy for such a smallish book. The information in this book is different compared to something like a Yoga instructional, in that this book is essentially information that a professional physical therapist would know and offer to you. If you have been injured before and required to do PT, you will know how much those sessions cost, and also how incredibly beneficial they are to recovery and even making you stronger than you were before you got hurt in many cases. Getting stretched by a pro is an intense thing, and this instructional offers you many essential things, from routines to working on what specifically ails the reader and how to fix it. At $27, this book is quite the value, and I recommend it to anyone who wants a good way to recover from hard workouts, and especially for coaches who want to keep their students safe and injury free.

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