Introduction: Falling is a leading cause of injury-related death. Previous studies reported that an impairment of standing balance is one of the causative factors associated with falling. The combined use of static and dynamic stretching has been reported as a treatment method for improving standing balance. As one of the combined methods, stretching based on Mézières' concept, which has an efficacy on the improvement of body flexibility, has been used. However, it is not fully clear whether stretching based on Mézières' concept can improve standing balance. This study aimed to examine the effects of combined method of static and dynamic stretching of anti-gravitational muscles based on Mézières' concept on body flexibility and standing balance.
Methods: This study employed a quasi-randomized controlled trial design. Thirteen subjects were assigned randomly to one of two groups: stretching or control. A sit and reach test (SRT), functional reach test (FRT), and total trajectory length of center of pressure (COP) during static standing were assessed at pre- and post-intervention. An independent t-test was used to compare the rate of improvement between both groups at each assessment.
Results: The stretching group demonstrated a significantly larger rate of improvement in the total trajectory length of COP compared to the control group. In the SRT and FRT, the stretching group showed a trend toward improvement compared to the control group, but did not achieve statistical significance.
Conclusions: The combined use of static and dynamic stretching of anti-gravitational muscles might have the potential to improve the standing balance.
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