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The body dynamic Stretches

Some basic rules to follow: Stretch until you feel a mild tension that relaxes as you hold the stretch. This should take between 10 and 20 seconds. Breathe slowly and deeply while you stretch. If a stretch hurts, ease up on the intensity.

Stop doing the stretch if you can’t do it without pain. Consult your health care provider before beginning a stretching program, especially if you have had any recent surgery, muscle or joint problems.

You will start most of these stretches from a comfortable seated or standing position with relaxed shoulders and looking straight ahead. Several stretches are described for only one side of the body. Please stretch both sides to maintain balance.

Do at least one from each group daily to enjoy variety while stretching.

Face

1. The Scream (usually silent except for exam day) – Raise your eyebrows, open your eyes and mouth as wide as possible. Hold for about 5 seconds. Repeat at least twice.

Neck

1. Upper Trapezius - Slowly tilt one ear to the shoulder. Repeat on the other side. To increase the intensity, hold on to the side of your chair or gently pull your head to the side.

2. Extension – Open your mouth. Tilt your head back so you are looking upwards. Slowly close your mouth until you feel a stretch in the front of your neck. To intensify the stretch, place your fingers on top of your clavicles before you begin.

3. Rotation – Turn your chin toward the right shoulder to stretch the left side of the neck.

Shoulders

1. Roll - Lift your shoulders up like you are shrugging, roll them towards the back and around to the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times then reverse direction.

2. Shrug – Lift shoulders and let them fall back down. Repeat 3-5 times.

3. Pull Down - Use the large muscles of your back to pull your shoulders back and down. Repeat 5-10 times. Hold light weights to increase the intensity. This is a great stretch, do it ANYTIME you think about your shoulders.

Arms/Hands

1. Upper Arms – Hold one arm straight out in front of the body then move it across to the opposite side. Use the other hand to stabilize the stretched arm and intensify the stretch. Bend the elbow and pull the arm closer to the body to stretch the triceps and posterior deltoid.

2. Forearms - Bend your elbows so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Place your palms together so wrists are flexed (praying hands). Hold for 20 seconds. Place backs of hands together to stretch the extensors.

3. Wrist rotation – Bend your elbows so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Flex the fingers in a soft fist. Rotate the wrist in a clockwise motion. Repeat 5-8 times. Repeat in the other direction.

4. Finger Fan - Bend your elbows so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Gently stretch your fingers out like a fan. Keep your wrists straight.

Upper Body:

1. Chest stretch 1 - Stand in a doorway. Place your arms up in the shape of a goal post with your hands on the door frame. Lean through to stretch out the pectoral muscles on the chest.

2. Chest Stretch 2 – Interlock the fingers behind the back. Slowly straighten arms and reach upwards bringing shoulder blades together.

3. Side stretch – Interlock your fingers behind your head. Lean over to the side to stretch. Reach upwards with the top elbow.

Lower body

1. Lay on the floor with bent knees. Place your arms out at 90° from the body. Lift the left ankle up to the side of the right knee. Bring both legs over to the right until you feel a good stretch along the side of the hip, in the lower back, or along the ribcage. Keep the upper body flat on the floor.

2. Back Extension/Abdominal Stretch – Lay on your stomach. Place your palms down next to your shoulders. Lift your shoulders and chest off the floor. Hold 5-10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

3. Glutes – Sit comfortably in a chair. Place your right ankle on your left knee. Hold the ankle with your left hand and place the right hand on the right knee. Lift your ribcage and lean forward.

4. Seated Lower Back Exercise – Sit up straight with knees together and feet flat on the floor. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, tighten your abdominal muscles and flatten your lower back against the chair. Take another breath, and on the exhale, release, arching the back. Repeat 3-5 times.

Self-massage

1. Head – Grab some hair as close to the scalp as you can. Gently pull and hold for about ten seconds. Work methodically to cover the entire scalp.

2. Jaw – Many people will clench the jaw without realizing it. Use fingers to massage trigger points on the lower jawline and up to the cheekbone.

1. Neck – Use a firm pressure with your fingers to massage the pressure points on either side of the spine.

2. Shoulders – Grab the top of the shoulder with the opposite hand. Knead the area until tension has been released.

3. Arm & Hand – Use the thumb of one hand to massage trigger points on the hand, wrist, and forearm

4. Lower back massage – Do as many pressure points as you can reach along both sides of the spine and on top of the hip bone.

 

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