I Love Upgrading
rfst - Mar 21, 2007
One of my favorite activities is to stretch myself, get stretched, and stretch others using a method called Resistance Stretching (Resistance Flexibility Training).
This type of stretching is different from traditional stretching in that instead of elongating the muscles and holding the stretch while trying to relax, this modality encourages the participant to elongate the muscles while continuously contracting them.
I stretch myself by elongating my muscles while continuously resisting against my own body or against an object in my environment.
I get stretched by resisting against another person as they elongate my muscles.
I stretch others by elongating their muscles as they resist against me.
Resistance Stretching provides an eccentric contraction of the muscle. Eccentric training is necessary for optimal functioning of the body and is the missing regiment in most people’s exercise routines.
I also like to strengthen myself, get strengthened, and strengthen others using a method called Resistance Strength Training.
Instead of using weights or a machine, I strengthen myself, get strengthened, and strengthen others by reversing the direction of the stretch while continuing to resist, which causes the muscles to shorten while they are continuously contracting.
Resistance Strength Training provides a concentric contraction of the muscle. Concentric training is also necessary for optimal functioning of the body and is something that our culture has realized the benefits of. There are gyms across the world that are dedicated to this type of muscle action.
Practicing both of these methods together is called Resistance Flexibility & Strength Training (RFST) also known as Meridian Stretching or the Meridian Flexibility System and was founded by Bob Cooley, author of The Genius of Flexibility.
Self Stretching & Strengthening
|One way to stretch myself is to use my arms to stretch my legs as they resist. When I do this, my legs are resistance stretched (contracting while elongating) while my arms are strengthened (contracting while shortening). If I reverse the stretch to provide strength training, my legs are strengthened while my arms are stretched. Stretching and strengthening this way provides a full body workout.|
Another way I stretch is by resisting against an appropriate object while elongating my muscles. Stretching this way provides greater leverage that allows me to resist more intensely and get a better stretch. This movement can also be reversed to provide strength training to the same muscle group.I develop a profile of the strength and flexibility status of every muscle group in my body as I strengthen and stretch myself. The internal perspective I gain from this activity is priceless. I am then free to upgrade my body by resistance stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles.
Assisted Stretching & Strengthening
When two people pair up to stretch and strengthen each other, both people benefit. When I am stretching another person, they are strengthening me. When I am strengthening them, they are stretching me. Together, the resistance of both involved is efficiently utilized instead of being pumped into a workout machine that stands to gain no benefit from the hard work.
Assisted stretching allows a person to resist maximally, which brings about a better stretch. This practice is also beneficial in that the assister is able offer the person getting stretched an external perspective on their body that the person cannot get on their own.
When you practice RFST, not only are you strengthening and stretching unique muscle groups, but you are also tapping into the energy channels, known as meridians, that run through each of these muscle groups. Each of these meridians also travel through a particular organ and are thus named after the organs they pass through.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has explored this method of healing the body. When you receive an acupuncture or acupressure treatment, needles or pressure is used to stimulate the different points of the body that correspond to various meridians. RFST provides the same effect on the meridians, only through the use of stretching and strengthening with resistance, instead of needles or pressure. Thus, there is a stretch for your Lungs, Thymus, Skin, Heart, Pericardium, Appendix, Large Intestine, Spleen/Pancreas, Liver, Sexual, Bladder, Small Intestines, Kidneys, Brain, Gall Bladder, and Stomach.
Not only does RFST improve the health of the muscles, but it also improves the health of particular organs as well as their physiological, spiritual, emotional, and psychological concomitants. Each of the meridian muscle groups (MMG) is associated with a high and low trait. So, if the energy is blocked, or if the muscle is weak and/or inflexible, a person would experience the low traits associated with that meridian muscle group. If the energy is flowing, or if the muscle is strong and flexible, a person would experience the high traits.
I know that this can be hard to believe for many people, as western culture tends to view the body as individual pieces put together instead of a whole organism. We have been conditioned to believe that the body is susceptible to weakness and that the solution is to take prescription drugs when these weaknesses occur whether it is a physical, emotional, or psychological illness. Western medicine has no doubt made incredible advances in life saving emergency techniques and surgeries, but still has yet to adopt a preventative holistic approach to health that does not require intake of drugs.
You can also think of it like this: when there is a part of the body that is experiencing pain, tension, or weakness, a signal indicating this status is continuously being sent through the person. Everything the person thinks, says, feels, or does is going to be thought, said, felt, and done while that pain/tension/weakness signal is being broadcast. The pain/tension/weakness is then embedded into every aspect of that person’s being and affects them on all levels of their expression.
If that same part of the body is in good health and experiences strength, flexibility, and a ‘good feeling,’ then everything that person thinks, says, feels, or does is going to be thought, said, felt, and done while that ‘good feeling’ signal is being broadcast. Thus, if the different parts of the body feel good, then a person will feel good, and if they feel bad, the person will feel bad.
I highly recommend reading The Joy of Feeling: Bodymind Acupressure, by Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, for more information on the connections between the body and mind explored by Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Each meridian muscle group is also associated with a tissue or body part such as ligaments, tendons, oxygenation, venous blood flow, muscles, fascia, blood volume, cerebral spinal fluid, nerves, hormones, arterial blood flow, skin, bones, joints, cartilage, and lymph nodes.
Each meridian muscle group is also associated with a particular function of the body such as fat metabolism, detoxification, air elimination, waste elimination, enzyme catalyst, blood circulation, cranial sacral system, nervous system, endocrine and reproductive system, arterial circulation, external immune system, urinary system, toxin elimination, and the internal immune system.
Upgrading the Self
As stated above, people have all of these different energies coursing through their being. RFST allows a person to test the strengths and weaknesses of all of the major muscle groups in their body. Then, a person can RFST particular meridian muscle groups (MMG) to bring out the high traits associated with the MMG. In this way, a person can develop him or herself into whatever ways they wish to be in. RFST can also be used to alleviate pain, rehabilitate injured areas, increase athletic performance, as well as upgrade many other parts of a person.
16 Genetic Personality Types
To take things even further, the Meridian Flexibility System also includes personality types. So, not only is a person composed of all of these different energies, but also there is a particular energy that each person identifies with and ‘gives off’ more of. This is the person’s genetic personality type. So there is a Lung type, Heart type, Spleen/Pancreas type, etc.
The Lung, for example, is associated with being a leader. Everyone is capable of being a leader, but some people seem to be more natural at it. The Spleen/Pancreas is associated with being peaceful. Everyone is capable of being peaceful, but some people seem to be more natural at it.
There are different ways to determine your personality type. One way is to think about what positions you rested in as a child, or particular movements you made with your body. For example, as a child, some people would tend to stand on one foot with the other foot resting on their thigh while others tended to frequently perform handstands.
Another way is to determine your learning style: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. You can also take into consideration your instinct, time reference, awareness, function, viewpoint, response, stretching aspect, sound of voice, facial expressions, body expressions, and many other attributes to determine your personality type.
When you know what your personality type is, you are more familiar with the highs and lows that you tend to experience. You are also more able to ground yourself into your energy by performing “your” stretch. You can also perform your balancing stretch (balancing MMG) that will tap you into your unconscious. Then there are stretches that can help you bring about change in your life, complete tasks, and help you stay out of your own way.
As each of the different energies in the body have unique relationships to each other, so do each of the personality types. For example, when you are with a person who is your balancing type, they are conscious of your unconscious while you are conscious of their unconscious. Each person is ‘in’ on the other and together they form a feedback loop to form a whole. There are certain types of people that help you bring about change in your life, help you to complete tasks, and more.
Feeling Good and Upgrading
I enjoy practicing RFST because since no equipment is required, it can be practiced anywhere and allows for stretching and strengthening the muscles in angles, planes, and directions that machines cannot match.
RFST is a unique way of training the muscles that offers a wide array of unique benefits. Each major muscle group that is resistance flexibility and strength trained provides a specific ‘good’ feeling and causes the participant to ‘feel good’ in specific ways. I practice RFST because it makes me and others feel good. I love feeling good and I love helping others feel good.
I love this system because it provides a new way of understanding myself and my relationship to others. It also allows me to develop myself to be in whatever way I wish to be in. I believe that stretching and strengthening each other is a way for us all to come together as ONE and set each other FREE.
The Meridian Flexibility System is a continually evolving open system. It borrows from the wisest ancient traditions without being limited by them. Each person who practices is free to make it his or her own and practice in their own way.
If any of this resonates with you, please contact me. I aim to collaborate with people interested in a holistic approach to health. If you want more information about MFS and RFST, please check out the official website at www.thegeniusofflexibility.com, and read The Genius of Flexibility by Bob Cooley.
With love, peace, and freedom,