Hi, I’m Shama Kern with Thai Healing Massage Academy. Welcome to another edition of our Thai Massage Question And Answer series. Today’s question is: How long should you do a stretch or how many times should you repeat it? Well, there are really three scenarios, and I will take you through them one by one. But first of all, there are really no hard and fast rules. There is no one number which is right – you do it one, two, three, four times. It depends. But there are some general rules. What you should never do is do a stretch just one time. Especially if you do it strongly – that doesn’t do anything. Actually it can shock the system into resistance. Another thing you should never do is repeat a stretch many, many times because the client just will tire of having that stretch done so many times. So now let me take you through the three steps for stretching. First of all, we’ll use this hip stretch as an example. So the first method is that we use the one-two-three-two-one method. I call it that because you’re just hitting three spots near the knee, in the middle, near the groin, and then back to the middle, back to the knee. So one, two, three, two, one. That is something you do with the other hand, the right hand in this case, while I’m stretching. But it’s also a timing mechanism. So it would result in doing the stretch five times. It looks like this: one, two, three, two, one. So just because of what I’m doing with my right hand, I did the stretch five times. So that’s one way how a stretch can be timed. So in this case it just makes sense to do it five times. Now there are other stretches where you cannot use this one, two, three, two, one method. Let me show you one. For example, this here is a stretch. It’s an upper body twist, and the hand stays in the same spot the entire time – both hands, right. So in this case, a good measure is to do it three times. The first one gently and slowly, always slowly. The second one a little bit stronger. And the third one even a little bit more strong – not too strong, obviously. So three times is a good measure here. Less than that is no good. You could do it four or five times. Three might be the ideal number. So that’s our second scenario. Our third scenario is that you discover someone has a real problem. Let’s go back to our first stretch – this one here, and you find out just by trying to move the leg, it’s all locked up. It’s stiff. Let’s say the leg is like this – sticking up in the air. You let go – and it just stays up there. It doesn’t move anywhere. It doesn’t fall down naturally. So you realize the adductors are all locked up and the hip is locked up and nothing moves. So now it really doesn’t make any sense just to go right into the stretch if you feel resistance and it’s all locked up. So in that case, what you need to do, first, before you do any stretching, you have to work on it a little bit, loosen it up. Let’s take a pillow for support. So let’s say you do a little circling motion, or you do some elephant walking, or you do a little rocking up and down and well, or you might do some circling, whatever. So before you do the stretch, you loosen everything up around that stretch, which would be in this case the hip joint, the adductor muscles. And when you’re done with it, then you can do the stretch again, and chances are it will work much better then. And now we’re back to our one, two, three, two, one technique. All right, so now you have those three options. One is that you do a stretch five times because of one-two-three-two-one. Other stretches you do three times. You could do more, but three is a good number. And then, if you work therapeutically, the whole thing could take much longer because you work around the stretch before you repeat it. So first you try, you find out it doesn’t work, then you loosen things up, warm things up, and repeat the stretch. So that might be a process of quite a few minutes. So now you have a better understanding how often you do a stretch and how long you stay with a stretch.