Dr. Verives post was an eye opener. I've tried to do further internet research on stretching but I usually just find tidbits with no context. However, the video http://athletesandthearts.com/hand-care ... odd-urban/
says that the static
stretching that famous musicians recommend is all wrong. I just read in a magazine that static stretching can quickly lead to a temporary decrease in muscle strength through the reflex action that both Dr. Verive and the video therapist mention. I'm not sure but some tidbits indicate that muscular strength helps prevent injury so static stretching could increase risk by the temporary decrease in strength in addition to the the rebound tightening that Dr Verive mentions. So both Dr. Verive and the therapist suggest that if one does stretch it should be passive stretching, which I take to mean just moving in and out of the stretch with no holding of the stretch. Another tidbit I read, again with very little context and no citations, is that stretching when done right may help decrease the risk of injury because it leads to greater strength. On the other hand some say that in the sport of running one shouldn't stretch at all (or at least not the way it's currently done).
Passive stretching means that you are allowing the affected area to be stretched without actively contracting the muscles involved. Passive stretching may be "static" (a stretch held in one position for a period of time) or "dynamic", as when a physical therapist performs "range of motion" exercises that create tension in the involved muscles, but over a range of positions.
Active stretching, on the other hand, involves stretching one set of muscles by using opposing muscles to create the force. Active stretching can be static or dynamic, as with passive stretching.
Essentially, all stretching is either active or passive (you are doing the work, or someone/something else is), static or dynamic (held in one position, or through a range of positions), or a combination of the above.
Passive stretching is commonly used to increase flexibility, but contrary to popular opinion it does not do so by stretching ligaments or tendons, but by training muscles to allow increased range of motion without stimulating them to contract to counteract the applied force. Since passive stretching does not involve muscle recruitment by the individual being stretched, it does not increase muscle strength or coordination.
Active stretching *does* involve using muscle strength and coordination, which if performed properly results in increased muscle strength, endurance, and control. Active stretching usually takes the form of controlled movements through a range of motion for a specific sport, although you can "circuit train" with various active stretching exercises.
Performed correctly, neither active nor passive stretching will produce "rebound" tightness.
Each type of stretching has its purpose. In any case, if you think you need to start stretching because of pain while playing (guitar, tennis, golf, or any other activity), the problem may not be lack of flexibility, strength, or coordination, but may be poor technique that will INCREASE the risk for injury - with or without stretching. Once you are using the proper technique, *then* you may want to consider stretching exercises, at which point I still recommend that you seek the help of a properly trained medical professional.
Michael Verive, MD