Moving with Purpose: How to manage, maintain and increase your flexibility

In this video, Kim, a physiotherapist at CFNPS, goes into different techniques she uses to assess clients that come into the clinic, and techniques she uses to keep her own body in check. The first action is the seated trunk rotation.

Mobility test

To perform the seated trunk rotation, a person sits at the edge of a seat and twists to the left. Be sure to make notes of how far they can turn, and take notice if there are any tight areas in the back or anywhere else in the body. Then test the other direction.

Next, perform a self-check in a figure-four stretch for the hips. The first step is to cross your right leg over the left. Then take the ankle of the right leg and place it above the knee of the left leg, making sure to lock the ankle to protect the knee. Lean forward, taking note of any areas of pain, tightness, or where the mobility is limited.

Some people cannot perform the figure-four stretch, so here is an alternative stretch. While still being seated in a tall, upright position, clasp the hands together and pull on one knee at a time while bringing it to the opposite shoulder. Once the knee has been brought to the chest, gently push the knee into the hands, still noting any issues in mobility.

The next step after the mobility test

After performing the self-checks, someone notices they cannot twist as well to one side as the other. What can be done? Massaging the feet could change the mechanics in the hips and the trunk. This is because the nerves that run through the back attach to the feet. This provides an easy way to access all the nerves that are connected to the mobility of the hips and trunk.

Feel for tightness in the outer part of the leg and hip area; that is going to be where the massage will take place. If tightness is felt in the inner leg, the inner part of the foot needs to be massaged. There is a tool called a loofah which is great for massaging the feet. It can get in between the bones and toes very efficiently. Take note of all sensitive areas when using this tool. As the loofah tool is being used it can be quite sensitive. To ensure effective use of this tool, breathing consistently must take place. Likewise, keep all pressure that is applied with the loofah within someone’s pain tolerance level.

After massaging the feet with the loofah, note any changes in the feet. If someone cannot handle the pressure from the loofah due to the pain, they can use a sock. Take the sock and begin to massage the same area, in the same manner as it would’ve been done with the loofah. This will still massage the same nerves, however, the sensitivity will be reduced.

What happens if someone cannot use the loofah or is just unsuccessful in using it during the massage? A recommendation from the clinic is to use a massage hammer. It has a flexible handle, long neck, and head that resembles a hairbrush. If you do not have a massage hammer, you can use a flat hairbrush found in your home.

After performing the self-check, there may have been certain spots like the feet that could not be reached. This could’ve been due to a poor range of motion or while massaging the feet, the sensitivity was too much. Massaging the leg is a great alternative. Specifically targeting the branches of the sciatic nerves, which come from the back. Take the hairbrush tool (if someone does not have this, a fist can be used instead) just above the ankle where an acupuncture point is. This is where the nerves are exiting, use the hairbrush tool or someone’s fist in this area for three to five minutes. From there, work up the leg right by the knee. Slightly below the joint is another great acupuncture point to stimulate the nerves. This will help the back feel great and improve mobility. This drill can be done with the hairbrush tool or someone’s fist and can be applied to the entire leg, working from the front of the leg to the shin, and carried on into the inner leg.


In closing, the first thing to do is a self-check. Starting with a seated trunk rotation, to the left and then to the right. Make sure to note how far your range of motion is. Next is the figure-four hip check. If that movement was too difficult an alternative can be performed by clasping the hands and pulling the knees to the shoulder.

Next in this blog, two quick tools were introduced to improve the flow of nerves, the loofah and the tool that resembles a hairbrush. There are a lot of nerves that come from the back that congregate in the foot so massaging the foot can help with the overall mobility of the back.