Q: Is Stretch Therapy safe?
A: Safety and effectiveness are the two foundations of all Stretch Therapy exercises. Every exercise in the system has been tested by Stretch Therapy teachers around the world. In addition, teachers and advanced practitioners share their experiences and findings in a lively on-line forum. Over time, if a more effective exercise is found, that exercise enters the curriculum and the previous one is consigned to history.
Q: Do you have classes for pregnant women?
A: Wai Kuan practised yoga all the way to the 8th month of her pregnancy. And she delivered her baby naturally, without any medical assistance (that’s another story!).
Q: How does Stretch Therapy compare with Yoga, Pilates, etc.?*
A: Stretch Therapy is not Yoga or Pilates but it is consistent with them as all teach anatomy, physiology and awareness. Stretch Therapy uses some of the major Yoga poses, and adds effective techniques from dance, gymnastics and traditional Japanese exercise forms (Jikyo Jutsu and Makko Hoo), and has designed many new techniques and positions.
Stretch Therapy’s goals are to increase Range of Movement where desirable, to free the body from pain, and to optimise its functions. Stretch Therapy is an excellent preparation for Yoga.
Yoga lacks specific neck muscle stretches (particularly levator scapulae and the scalene group) so we designed a number of new exercises. Other differences include ‘Partner-Based’ poses and exercises, where a partner’s strength, weight or support makes the ‘contract’ part easier to perform, or the final stretch position easier to hold so the ‘stretchee’ (the person being stretched) can get the full benefit of the vital relaxing and breathing aspects more easily.
Another difference is that we sometimes target specific muscles for particular reasons (piriformis in relation to sciatica, and the scalenes for some arm and hand problems).
Q: Am I too old to stretch?*
A: In theory no; in practice, it depends on your health, any treatments you are receiving, any injuries or existing pain. We strongly suggest that you discuss stretching with your health care professional before you start a program, either on your own or with a Stretch Therapy Teacher. In our experience from children to 80 year olds, proper stretching results in increased flexibility and strength, leading to improved mobility and lower risk of injury, and a significant increase in the simple pleasure of being in your own body.
(*extracted and edited from stretchtherapy.net)
Q: Can I stretch while I’m pregnant?
A: Absolutely. Wai Kuan practised yoga all the way to the 9th month of her pregnancy. And she delivered her baby naturally, without any medical assistance (that’s another story!).
Q: How is Stretch Taiji different from normal taiji?
A: It is no different, in terms of moves. Our tradition is Wu-style (吳家) taiji and the moves we teach are as our masters taught us. However, in our teaching experience, ALL modern city dwellers today have some issues with posture and flexibility which preclude them from executing some taiji moves properly. Accordingly, our Stretch Taiji classes include Stretch Therapy™ exercises to help our students more quickly develop awareness, suppleness and strength. Also, we teach in modular format, rather than the full 108 Steps.
Q: I have bad knees. Can I do taiji?
A: It depends on how bad your knees are!
But seriously, in our experience all urban dwellers today have posture and flexibility issues of some sort. Chi-Chang himself used to suffer from back and knee pains, but not anymore thanks to Stretch Therapy™ techniques.
Q: Why don’t you teach the full 108-steps of your taiji form?
A: Most city dwellers today cannot commit the intensity and length of time necessary to properly learn such a long Form. Also, the full 108-step Wu-style Form takes a fair amount of space (about 14×8 = 112 sq ft) and time (about 25-40 minutes) to practice.
Our philosophy is that it is far more beneficial for taiji students to understand a short Form comprising a few moves which they can continue to practice, and practice frequently and well, instead of ‘knowing’ a long Form, but performing it with little awareness.
That is why we developed our modular format. This modular format is normal elsewhere in the martial arts world. In karate and taekwondo for example, there are many kata and hyung. Students start with simple forms and progress to more complicated moves and sequences.
We will teach the Wu-style 108-steps to interested students who already have a firm grasp of the basics and who can commit the time (we estimate 40 weeks)