What Are the Mechanisms of Passive Vs Active Stretching?

Several studies have suggested that stretching may have an inflammatory effect on the musculoskeletal and connective tissue. However, in vitro and in vivo studies have also been performed. In the in vivo studies, the effects of stretching were determined by examining the cellular composition of the muscle and connective tissues, and the in vitro studies investigated the effects of stretching on a resident human dermal fibroblast.

Inflammatory effects of stretching on musculoskeletal and connective tissue

Several studies have investigated the effect of stretching on musculoskeletal and connective tissue inflammation. These studies have revealed some of the molecular mechanisms involved in the anti-inflammatory properties of stretching.

The effects of stretching on inflammation are primarily local. However, stretching can also affect systemic inflammation. It can decrease inflammation-related inflammatory mediators, such as TNF-a, IL-2, and IL-10, and decrease the number of neutrophils and migration of these cells.

In addition to reducing the infiltration of inflammatory cells, stretching may also improve microvascular endothelial function. This increases the number of vascular endothelial cells and reduces the thickness of the inflammatory infiltrate. This results in increased influx of calcium and NO, a potent vasodilator, and decreased capillary diameter.

Stretching has been shown to reduce the expression of inflammatory genes, including MMP-9, VEGF-A, and COX-2. It also increases the expression of resolvin D1, a signaling molecule that has anti-inflammatory properties.

Another study on the anti-inflammatory effects of stretching found that, after a stretch, the ratio of RvD1 to LTB4 was increased by two times. Resolvins are endogenous regulators of inflammation. These molecules may participate in crosstalk between muscles and distant organs.

The study found that IL-1b, an inflammatory mediator, is present in synovial tissues in joint-related conditions. This may play a role in cartilage degradation and destruction. Stretching is believed to lower the amount of IL-1b, which reduces the expression of MMP-9 and iNOS.

There are also studies on the influence of stretching on myokines, which are regulators of muscle metabolism. These proteins are released during contracting muscles and are thought to regulate injury-induced inflammation in the site outside of the muscle.

The effects of stretching on collagen synthesis and degradation are also studied. Studies have found that stretching can reduce the formation of hydroxyproline, a protein responsible for promoting the degradation of collagen.

There are other factors that can affect the anti-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic effects of stretching. They include the duration and the intensity of stretching. The effectiveness of stretching can be maximized by properly guided rehabilitation, which can minimize the disabling effects of chronic health conditions.

In vitro studies using resident human dermal fibroblast for stretching could overcome limitations of histopathology

During mechanical stretch, multiple signaling pathways are activated. Cellular adhesion molecules are common upstream regulators of these pathways. They are important for the mechanical stretch process because they sense the mechanical stimuli and may initiate intracellular reactions.

Mechanical stretch induces changes in cell states, including the formation of a fibrous capsule surrounding the tissue expander. This capsule is composed of collagens and fibroblasts. It may serve as a source of repair for muscle injury.

Other factors associated with tissue expansion include growth factors and stem cells. The release of growth factors and cytokines stimulates the proliferation of stem cells. They are also involved in promoting regeneration of the tissue.

An example is the formation of hair follicles. Hair stem cells proliferate when 33% to 40% of strain is exerted. This results in the increase in blood flow and accelerates the rate of hair growth.

In addition, stretching improves local inflammation. One study reported that passive stretches reduced neutrophil infiltration. Another study found that short-term stretching increased resolvin (RvD1) and SDF-1a expression. A third study found that 10 minutes of active stretching caused localized inflammatory changes. The mechanism of these changes is unknown. However, the authors suggested that it is related to the migration of MSCs.

The resulting biological response is the most important and long-lasting. It is responsible for the majority of the newly grown skin. In order to increase the number of these cells, genes that are involved in cell division, metabolism and angiogenesis should be upregulated.

During tissue expansion, macrophages are recruited. They are polarized to an M2 phenotype and release growth factors that activate stem cell proliferation. This is mediated by the expression of a protein called integrin-recruited FAK, which inhibits the LATS1/2. Its activation translocates to the nuclear compartment. It is believed to have a role in the apoptosis response during the regeneration phase.

The inflammatory response is key to the recovery of an injury. The effects of stretching on inflammation resolution are not well-studied in animal models. In the future, animal studies may be used to examine specific injuries and tissue adaptation.

In vivo studies of yogic stretching promote muscle and connective tissue function

Several in vivo studies have shown that stretching exercises have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. However, the mechanisms behind these effects are still not well understood. The aim of this review is to summarize what we know about the molecular and physiological mechanisms that underlie these effects.

In a nutshell, stretching decreases inflammatory infiltration, reduces cytotoxic immune responses, and enables the production of new blood vessels. In turn, these changes may lead to improved joint and muscle condition and reduce the incidence of chronic diseases.

Among the myriad of positive effects of stretching, increased range of motion is a major one. This effect may be due to improved circulation, which contributes to the anti-inflammatory effects of stretching.

A review of the literature on the molecular and physiological mechanisms behind stretching’s anti-inflammatory effects reveals that the smallest improvements are achieved at the most local level. The most impressive of these is the ability to increase the levels of a signaling molecule called resolvin D1 in the body.

In addition, stretching increases the number of INF-g+ CD4+ T cells. These cells play a crucial role in the regulation of muscle metabolism. It is also thought that INF-g may modulate the site of injury-induced inflammation.

It should be noted that while a variety of stretching techniques can be effective, certain modes of stretching seem to be more beneficial than others. Compared to passive stretching, active stretching produces a greater effect, though the mode of stretching is still not fully understood.

In a recent study, a combined modalities approach was applied to two swine species. After eight weeks, a passive stretch, followed by three active stretches at the same time, significantly decreased nerve stiffness and the thickness of the fascia and sarcomere. This was also accompanied by an improvement in the augmented index, a measure of the degree of overlap of the sarcomere.

While a whole-body stretching regimen has not been demonstrated to have the same anti-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic effects as the localized stretching, it does have the benefit of enhancing blood flow and increasing the range of motion. These benefits are similar to those of therapeutic soft-tissue stimulation (TSS).


Whether you are interested in yoga or not, you may have heard of passive vs active stretching. Each type of stretching is a tool for increasing flexibility, which is essential for your physical health and fitness. You’ll want to choose the type that best suits your needs.

The difference between passive vs active stretching is in the way the stretch is achieved. Passive stretches involve placing the body into a pose and relaxing completely. The stretch is held for about 15 to 30 seconds.

During an active stretch, the person engages muscles to stretch the opposite side of the body. It is also called reciprocal inhibition. The active stretch is not performed until the opposing muscle begins to feel relaxed. This decreases the chance of overstretching. It also mobilizes stiff joints and enhances blood flow to the muscle. It also carries fewer risks than passive stretching.

An example of an active stretch is the arms-over-head side leaning stretch. This movement is a great warm-up for a run or exercise session. The active stretches are also used in yoga. This posture requires the body to be in a side-leaning position and involves a variety of hamstrings, quadriceps, and back musculature.

Another example is the seated twist. It is also a good idea to have props available to support the pelvic tilt. This helps ensure the movement will stretch the tendons. The seated twist is usually performed with the hands as props.

Active stretches are often done as part of a mobility workout, as they are effective at improving the range of motion in the hips and legs. They can be done before or after a workout or exercise session. Adding these stretches to your routine can make a huge difference in your flexibility and well-being.

Both active and passive stretching are useful to increase flexibility, as well as to improve range of motion in your joints. The key is to find a suitable stance to perform each. In addition to being useful to warm up and cool down, both types of stretches are good for your overall health.

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