Muscle Contraction and Range of Motion
Chronically contracted muscles around a joint cause the connective tissue to shorten. Rolfing improves flexibility by lengthening connective tissue throughout the body.
Joints have a naturally range of motion-that is, the bones are designed to move toward and away from each other through an arc of a given length. Connective tissue structures, in and around the joint provide support and stability for the bony hinge.
Chronically contracted muscles around a joint cause the connective tissue to shorten. The available range of motion in the joint is then restricted.
A sudden forceful movement beyond the limits of the restriction- a movement, such as might occur in an athletic effort or in a misstep from a curb – will overstretch the connective tissue, causing a pull, sprain, strain, tear or break. Chronic muscle tension, then, predisposes one to a greater risk of joint related injuries.
In addition, short connective tissue around joints places an additional workload on the muscles, that must overcome the “drag”
of resistance imposed by the connective tissue.
The situation is like driving a car and stepping on the gas pedal and the brake pedal at the same time. The body expands more energy in moving, the situation that hastens fatigue. When this situation exists, the person is set to be “stiff” or “tight” or “to lack flexibility.
Rolfing increases muscle flexibility throughout the body by lengthening connective tissue. In restricted joints, the gains in ration of motion maybe dramatic.