The K-Stretch® Method

ks1The K-Stretch ® Method is a method of postural rebalancing created by Danilo Barzio that respects the fundamental principles of postural methods mézièrista origin and its main goal, to return the body to its functionality and efficiency through Muscle Chains fascial (myofascial chains) treatment.

What are muscular chains?

By muscular or muscle chain we understand a number of functional units (muscles, connective tissue, fascia, and joints. Therefore called actually chains myofascial ie chain not only composed of muscle, but also composed of tissue overlying and penetrate , ie fascia) related to each other in order to accomplish several human functions, such as : standing, sitting, moving, relationships , food, etc...

" We may state that muscular chains are a real team serving the human being”

What are the consequences of excessive tension and muscle shortening?

Any given problem that may arise as a consequence of an injury, excess of chronic muscular tension, muscle shortening, and so on, affecting any component of this “team”(i.e. one or more areas of the muscle chain) will inevitably cause efficiency loss (functional limitation) that, sooner or later, will also produce discomfort, joint and muscle pain, stiffness and inflammation, which may happen in whatever area of the affected muscle chain, sometimes also including areas which are unrelated (side effects) to the initial problem (cause). Therefore, initially, it will cause altered posture conditions (hyperlordosis, hyperkyphosis, rectified or inverted physiological curves, valgus or varus knee, recurvatum knee, talipes cavus (hollow foot), flat feet, bunions, and so on) which together with an unhealthy way of life and wrong habits (lack of exercise, excessive sitting during the day, repetitive tasks, excessive exercise, high stress situations, wrong eating habits, etc.) will cause the body to suffer from the typical muscle-joint pathologies: backaches, lower back pain,, cervical pain, cervicobrachialgía, herniated discs, protruding discs, arthrosis of the hip, arthrosis of the spine, arthrosis of the knee, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, trochanteritis, etc.

How does the K-Stretch® Method work on muscle chains?

In order to re-establish a harmonic situation, the whole affected muscle chain is treated with this method by applying a global tension and avoiding possible compensation, that is to say, avoiding the mechanism used by the body “to escape” from tensions generated by stretching and re-alignment of shortened hips (in classical-analytic stretching we stretch an area of the body while another one shortens up). For a better understanding of this concept we must think of the muscles of the body as if they were a single large muscle going from the head all the way to the toes. In order to stretch the stiffer and more shortened areas of this large muscle it is necessary to “pull” from both extremities for a long enough time to prevent possible compensation and using proper power.

“By returning lost elasticity to these tonic chains, we will free joints blocked by excessive tension and shortening, improving body functionality in daily chores, working life and sport activity”

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What is the role of posture related to tonic muscle chains?

In the human body Posture is controlled by tonic muscles (two thirds of the body total muscles), These muscles are constantly working (they fight gravity in order to keep a proper standing posture) and for this reason, they are pathologically prone to stiffness, to shortening and excess tone (hypertonia). A stiff, shortened muscle, is not fully efficient and causes increased joint pressure (one of the most important causes for muscle-joint chronic pain) because muscle groups arch like a bridge right above it. On the other hand dynamic muscles are not permanently contracted as it is the case with tonic muscles and they only activate when they have to carry out a movement and then relax. This is the reason why these muscles need to be stimulated by physical activity, since they have a pathological tendency towards power loss and decreased toning (hypotonia). In reality, this difference between tonic muscles and dynamic muscles is needed to better define and distinguish the main function they are destined to, since all of them, in different percentages, are made of tonic and fascia fibers. Tonic muscles have mainly a postural function, dynamic muscles have a power function (they generate movement). Therefore, since the quality of our mobility (of our gestures and movements) is determined by posture function, an altered (unbalanced) posture may not produce good and effective movements.

What is a Postural K-Stretch® rectifying session all about?

- Meticulous Postural Evaluation and specific Anamnesis (history) before the session

- Postural and Muscular Tests

- Choice of Stretching Postures based on previous evaluations and on patient/client symptoms. Said postures are carried out on a special hammock, the K-Stretch® Hammock (from which the name of the Method has derived), created by Danilo Barzio, to assist and guide the person during the exercises in order to guarantee a safe and effective work out. Breathing is extremely important. It has a determinant role in each posture and helps the diaphragm muscle and other breathing muscles ( such as neck, back and breast muscles that often suffer from excess tone and muscular shortening) to be more effective.

- Joint mobility exercises (among different postures) according to different cases. .

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What are the important benefits of the K-Stretch® Postural Hammock?

- It eliminates compensations, which are generated when we stretch and rebalance the shortened muscular chains thanks to its two mobile planes and gravity.

- It keeps the body in the correct posture during global stretching exercises. The trunk and the lower limbs have to be placed on the mobile planes. A special accessory created by Barzio “the wings”, easy to place and remove, keeps the upper limbs in a correct position and allows simultaneous work out on the arm chain and on the back chain regardless the elevation of the mobile plane of the trunk (Pictures 1,2,3,4).

- It works in the easiest and more comfortable way on muscular chains thanks to the two adaptable and controllable planes according to the possibilities of the patient/client.

- It controls stretching intensity according to patient/client possibilities in a simple and extremely correct way. It helps avoid forced posture that will cause incorrect exercise execution, especially in cases where the patient suffers from limited flexibility and major joint stiffness. Please see picture 1 as an example, with the hammock showing a noticeable closing (major stretching of the back muscular chain) to be used by more flexible patients, in picture 2, on the other hand, we notice major opening for those people with very limited flexibility ( as patients slowly regain lost elasticity and flexibility the hammock may be progressively closed in order to reach proper tension).

- It distributes stretch intensity between trunk and lower limbs since both planes can be lifted simultaneously (Pic. 3). K-stretch® reaches angles from 0˚ to 180˚.


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Picture 1                                     Picture 2                                     Picture 3                                     Picture 4