Does Stretching Help Relieve Anxiety?

Yes it does! Discover exercises to improve mental and emotional health - particularly anxiety.

We have a client who’s loves to get her 7 year old son to stretch because it calms him down. I know I can relate to wanting solutions to calm myself quicker. Most of us know why exercise is good for anxiety in general - it gets your body moving, releases endorphins and allows you to rest easier in the night. If you do some research you’ll find it is very difficult to say what exercise is best for anxiety - there are so many options! However, at Bendable Body we can target specific disturbing emotional states with specific associated stretches… and the results are both measurable and tangible.  

Have you heard of the 54321 technique? Or the 333 rule? These along with a long list of breathing exercises are some of the most common exercises used for anxiety relief. Two things all of these methods have in common are: they get you breathing (as opposed to holding your breath) and they get your attention out of your head where anxiety builds and mounds and they ultimately show you how to relax. These mental exercises for anxiety are great… but one downside is they don’t necessarily impact your anxiety in a permanent way. You have to keep doing them over and over again, always starting from ground zero.

At Bendable Body there are 4 muscle groups that when stretched with resistance, do both of these things, and a whole lot more! Namely, they make a permanent change to your anxiety.

What are the 4 areas of the body associated with anxiety?

  1. Back of the shoulders, Upper back, Neck - Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, Teres Minor
  2. Back outside of legs - Lateral Hamstring
  3. Front center of legs - Psoas Major, Rectus Femoris 
  4. Inside of legs - Gracilis, Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis

Each of these areas of the body are also associated with a meridian channel according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They are respectively: 

  1. Small Intestine Meridian - Affects the small intestine organ and digestive system
  2. Bladder Meridian - Affects the bladder organ and urinary system
  3. Sexual Meridian - Affects the sexual organs and endocrine system
  4. Liver Meridian - Affects the liver organ and digestive system

We also know from TCM that each of the major meridians in the body also affect mental and emotional states. Which is why at Bendable Body we can target things like anxiety specifically with stretches that traverse fascia and meridian channel planes. 

What are the Stretches for Anxiety?

As you know when you are anxious you tend to hold your breath (and if you didn't notice this, next time you are feeling anxious, pay attention to what is happening with your breath) - which is why so many of the exercises for anxiety out there tend to focus on breath. What's really cool about doing Bendable Body stretches for anxiety is they will teach you to naturally breath freely. It won't be something you have to impose upon yourself, but rather will happen naturally. 

Another thing that tends to happen for some people that worsens anxiety is they go in their head and the anxiety mounds. The stretches we teach you for anxiety will also help you to bring your attention outside of yourself and out of your head. When this happens you can both process your anxiety and relax! 

You may be thinking, how does stretching do all of this? It's pretty simple - your body and mind are interconnected and at Bendable Body our doorway into the whole you is through your body. Our stretches make permanent or at least long lasting changes to your fascia and in doing so create long lasting holistic changes for you. But don't take our word for it... see for yourself! 

Try this stretch to relieve anxiety. Watch now:

12 thoughts on “Does Stretching Help Relieve Anxiety?”

  1. I find I can only Do 3 stretches at a time and it is difficult to breath while I do these. The exertion is so difficult that I tend to hold my breath . But even a few stretches help me to relax which made my sore back feel much better.

    1. Holding your breath is very common when stretching dense fascia. As your body gets healthier your breath will too. But in the meantime – it’s ok that you are holding your breath. I am so glad your back is feeling better!

    1. Hi Kerrie, Thanks for inquiring. We sure can. For the arthritis we would recommend you focus on your body as a whole. For the depression and anxiety we would give you a stretch for the back of the shoulders – associated with the small intestine meridian in Chinese Medicine. Did you you happen to sign up for our Free Training Series that starts on the 19th? Come to that – I think you will learn a lot! You would have gotten an email with the sign up link. Or you can sign up directly on our website.

        1. I just sent you an email with all of the information. We show all emails as having successfully sent to you on our end. I would check your spam folder and add to your contacts to help with getting our emails.

  2. I’ve had three back surgeries, most of the day I’m in pain and exercising really makes it worse, will this kind of exercising be less hurting to a body that already is in pain. I did the leg exercises and must say it felt good. Can’t wait….

    1. Hi Luz, the movements we make are the opposite of traditional exercise movements. So stretching in this way should take the pain out – not put it in. The key is the resistance!

      1. I have difficulty holding the static leg with my hand the way you do, due to arthritis, is there another way to do this stretch?

        1. Hi Lynn, you can just keep the stabilizer leg on the ground, don’t hold it in the air. But I would bend it plant your foot on the ground and press your foot into the ground.

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