NYC Physical Fitness Training - Custom Performance NYC

Flossing, not just for your teeth: Joint Mobility & Muscle Flexibility.


Flossing, or compression band therapy, is a tool that sports medicine professionals can use to assist with other manual therapy techniques. The “floss” is a latex, elastic band that is wrapped around a body part with varying degrees of tension. It cleans and clears muscles of irritation or congestion, improving muscle flexibility, joint range of motion, pain sensation, and blood transfer. It is commonly seen in the CrossFit population and people like myself with giant muscles… just kidding!

The floss improves joint mobility by compressing the joint. When you try to move the joint through its range of motion (ex: flexing or bending the knee), the compression will force the joint into areas that are typically restricted or avoided. This same principle is applied to muscle flexibility. The muscle tissue is compressed, forcing adhesions to break up to achieve the desired movement.

This is analogous to an onion. Onions have a bunch of tightly packed layers. If you cut it in half, squeeze it tight, and try to rotate the onion, some of the layers will spread out and move more freely. Boom, same thing as your body! The floss uses compression and movement to help improve mobility and tissue extensibility.

There are no specific protocols for flossing, and it will have different effects on different people. Some may love it and use it all the time, but others may feel nothing at all. Because of this lack of instruction, I highly recommend asking a sports medicine professional to teach you the proper techniques. You can damage muscular and other soft tissues if flossing is done incorrectly.

Once you learn how to “floss” and know the unique ways it can be applied to your body, try adding flossing to your normal warm-up. If you have questions about flossing or other techniques to improve flexibility and mobility, please reach out to us for help!

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