The Importance of Stretching

When’s the last time you purposefully and intentionally stretched out your pinky toe? Hips? Your elbow? Mouth?

Exactly why you should continue reading.

Physical meditation

At last year’s Eczema Expo in Scottsdale, Arizona, I led a ‘not-so-average’ morning meditation. We didn’t sit in traditional Indian style position, with our eyes closed, and still for 30 minutes. We may have had our eyes closed for different reasons, but our bodies we’re moving the entire time.

Awakening the mind and body

This meditation was not only about awakening the mind, but also one’s body. Inch-by-inch, I instructed my participants to “awaken” every part of their body starting with their toes, rising to the hips, and leading all the way to the top of their head. This allowed the participants to become present to every area of their body - not just the part that may or may not have eczema.

Eczema restricting movement

Eczema can leave us feeling stuck physically for a variety of reasons. Maybe we’re solely focused on the body parts that are red and flared up. Or maybe we can’t move a certain way because it would reopen a wound. Or maybe we avoid moving because of the fear of sweat touching our skin.

Whatever the case may be, physical movement can oftentimes cause more pain and distress than we would like. But it’s vital to not forget about the importance of moving and stretching out the parts we’ve consciously or subconsciously have been avoiding.

Benefits of stretching

There is endless research discussing the benefits of stretching, one being that it can help us bring healing both mentally and physically. Here are some other ones:

  • Increases blood flow to muscles
  • Supports the immune system
  • Helps with relieving stress
  • Can calm the mind
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion

Stretching for eczema

The symptoms of eczema can already cause tension in our bodies and mind. Stretching is a form and excellent tool to relieve that tension from our bodies and therefore from our minds. Here are a few tips to get you started on your stretching journey:

Start small

Even if that means stretching out your toes today and your hips tomorrow. Start small and start slow. Do as much as you’re comfortable with doing.

Slow and extend

Stretching is not about getting it done as quickly as possible. The purpose of this exercise is to elongate your muscles by stretching them out for at least 30 seconds each movement.

Don’t forget to breathe

I love stretching because it reminds me to simply be still and breathe. It’s my form of meditation on a daily basis.

Create a daily routine

Stretching has become such a huge part of my daily routine. "A lot of people don't understand that stretching has to happen on a regular basis. It should be daily," says David Nolan, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.1

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