The Anna Harris stretching technique

My client Anna Harris, a project manager in financial services, came up with this approach to stretch calves and hamstrings without spending a single minute extra in your day:

The Anna Harris stretching technique means using your dental hygiene routine to stretch your calves and/or hamstrings.

You should be spending two minutes twice a day, brushing your teeth. This is the ideal opportunity to get into regular stretching.

Good electric toothbrushes vibrate every 30 seconds to ensure you brush all four quadrants of your teeth equally. Luxury models even come with digital timers. This is the perfect cue for you to move through your stretches.

We have been teaching this approach for over eight years now. Those clients who adopt this as a regular habit, achieve sensational results within 3-6 months without spending any extra time.

Come to our clinic for a massage and include a few minutes for being shown the three stretches (one for hamstrings and two for calves) that build the core of this technique.

The Anatomy of Stretching

cover of The Anatomy of Stretching

Brad Walker: The Anatomy of Stretching

£19.15 on www.amazon.co.uk

This is very probably the best stretching book I have ever come across. It's very clear anatomical illustrations make it crystal clear which muscle you are meant to stretch. Furthermore, each stretch comes with indications of how people commonly get that particular stretch wrong, which is very helpful.

While you could use this book on its own, it is a perfect complement to a one-to-one stretching workshop with a stretching specialist. Our sports and remedial massage therapists therapist all offer such workshops (60 minutes) at the clinic. Please book a full hour massage and then reply to the email confirmation to let us know you wan to use it as a stretching workshop appointment.

Stretch before or after exercise?

Over the last two decades, scientific research suggests that stretching after exercise is much more effective than before.

You should still warm up before exercise, though.

photo of tight neck

How long should each stretch last?

There is a wide difference of opinion regarding this topic, and sensible recommendations go from as little as 20 seconds to 40 or 50 seconds to even several minutes in some cases.

It is worthwhile to know that while you are unlikely to do serious damage by spending a lot of time on one stretch, you can easily overstretch a muscle by simply pulling too hard.

One-to-one stretching workshops

Are there muscles you don't know how to stretch well? Do you find stretching boring? Somehow not as effective as it should be?

We believe that stretching can be, well, let's be honest, not necessarily fun, but certainly satisfying. A good deep stretch done well leaves you with a feeling of achievement. And a good stretch is never really painful.

At the mittelmaier clinic, our sports and dance therapist offers one-to-one classes to look at the stretches you are already doing, and to potentially add some that you are not aware of yet.

Sadly, it is only a small minority of clients who stretch enough. These people have fantastic results, and, yes, they do not need as many massages to look after themselves well. Why not join them?

Book yourself in for a one-to-one stretching session - see above for details.