Citizens — Plural

 By Anna Von Reitz

The physically-defined organic States of the Union have only one kind of citizen — a State Citizen.  
State Citizens hold a unique allegiance to their State of the Union and no other government at all.  
This is to enable them to act in the best interests of their State with a clear conscience and no conflict of interest.  This, in turn, provides a “check and balance” to Federal Subcontractor overreach. 
These State Citizens are “Organic” Citizens — Lawful Persons of the people who live in the Organic States of the Union. 
All the other kinds of citizens “inhabit” –on a temporary basis– the Non-Organic States of States and are “residents” with respect to our States under the Residency Act. 
The other kinds of citizenry originally included United States Citizens belonging to the original Confederation of States and the Federal Republic — please note: “United States Citizens”.  
Then, also, British Territorial Citizens known as “U.S. Citizens” and Municipal citizens of the United States (referenced in the 14th Amendment of the USA Corporate Charter). 
Here’s what George Washington had to say about it: 
To quote George Washington on the subject: “To every description of citizens, let praise be given, but let them persevere in their affectionate vigilance over that precious depository of American happiness, the Constitution of the United States. Let them cherish it, too, for the sake of those who, from every clime, are daily seeking a dwelling in our land.” 

****Remember that “the” United States that Washington is referring to and ‘the Constitution of the United States’ that is being referred to in popular terms is the Federal Constitution of the Federal Republic (1787) from which the Territorial and Municipal Constitutions derived.****

All these citizens of different kinds and political statuses are supposed to work together in common cause for their own good and the good of the country as a whole.  

We can judge how far our intended system has been corrupted and declined by the fact that so many people are clueless about their own political status, whether they are “citizens” of any kind or not, and if so, which kind of citizen are they?  

****Remember that “United States Citizens” upholding both the Confederation of States and the Federal Republic ceased to function in 1860-61, so today we are left with State Citizens, Territorial U.S. Citizens, and Municipal citizens of the United States. The missing United States Citizen status will return when and if Reconstruction is completed by the States.****

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Guidance for Assemblies

 By Anna Von Reitz

Regarding Limitations of Vetting Committees and Coordinators:

A Coordinator’s job is to help people understand what the assembly process requires, for example, help them understand what a lawful election requires, and then help them achieve that goal. 
The Coordinator is the go-between the Assembly and the Federation, a “point person” who goes back and forth between the Assembly and the Federation to answer questions and get assistance. Their role is supportive and educational, not political.  

If a Coordinator feels so strongly about an issue that they have to get in the middle of it at an Assembly level as a member of the Assembly, then they need to resign from the Coordinator position and go have at it. 

In our system….
Any candidate has a right to stand for an office if he or she is eligible and the people of each State have the right to a free and open election in which they and nobody else makes the choice to elect or not elect a candidate. 
A Vetting Committee oversteps its bounds if and when it goes beyond evaluating eligibility of The Candidate —- for example, a Vetting Committee decides they don’t like a candidate’s attitude or personality, and they disqualify him though he meets all the factual eligibility requirements. 
What next?  We could have a Vetting Committee that doesn’t like black candidates or Hindu candidates or female candidates and everyone thinks it’s okay for them to disqualify otherwise eligible candidates based on their own likes and dislikes? 
If we sink to that, what’s the point in having elections?  
If a Vetting Committee prevents an eligible candidate from getting on the ballot, simply because they as a group don’t like him, the Electorate gets short-changed.  You, the Electors, don’t get to see all the choices. 
That’s not the American Way.  That’s the CCP and Politburo and DNC and RNC way of doing things.  They select and you elect from among their pre-selected choices. 
We present all eligible candidates to the Electorate and the Electors choose. 
Put another way—-
There is a big difference between the factual determination of eligibility for office and the subjective choice of who is or is not desirable or suitable for an office. 
A Vetting Committee can determine the facts that establish eligibility. 
It takes an Electorate to determine suitability. 
Moving on…. about  American State Nationals (ASN’s) who are federally licensed or employed….

People who are licensed (doctors, nurses, dentists, real estate agents, etc.) and people who work directly for incorporated County, State, or Federal departments and agencies, as well as non-retired military personnel, are considered to be Dual Citizens by the Federales, and “Nationals” by us.  

In the original State system they are only allowed to vote on in-State issues. 

As you are establishing your Courts it is important to elect State Citizens as Justices, Clerks, and Sheriffs, so that they can address both in-State and international subject matter.  

Then, from your Statewide Jury Pool, you select juries to consider in-State issues from among all eligible jurors, and juries to consider International issues (between your State and other States of the Union or foreign countries) from among all eligible State Citizens. 

You should be aware of those who carry Dual Citizenship and have open talks with them about the possibility that there will be a conflict of interest between their Federal Licensor/Employer and the good of the State. 

The role of the Assembly in such a situation is to uphold the State’s rights and prerogatives, so as to check and balance Federal overreach. 

Each National in Dual Citizenship status needs to think about that and agree that in the event of such a conflict of interest their part as a member of the State Assembly is to uphold State’s rights. 

If such a conflict of interest becomes acute and a Dual Citizen is forced to choose between their job or their licensed status and loyalty to the State, then each faces a hard decision, but it is one that must be honestly addressed and it involves quitting either the job and/or the license, or quitting involvement in the State Assembly regarding that issue.  

It is a matter of personal honor as well as Constitutional principle to uphold Checks and Balances whenever possible, and if it is not possible, to withdraw and do no harm to the State. 

Remember that the States are the only truly sovereign government entities present and all else derives from the States of the Union, including the Federal Government. Preserving the States and their rights means preserving the security and rights guaranteed to Americans from every walk of life and political persuasion.  

So, whether you are free to act as a State Citizen, or you act as a British Territorial U.S. Citizen or as a Municipal citizen of the United States, all are first and best served by protecting the interests of the State at all costs. 

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Is it illegal to question the safety of the polio vaccine, even if you are right?

This is page 255 in the 1984 Federal Register which says you can’t question the safety of the polio vaccine, even if you are correct:

However, although the continued availability of the vaccine may not be in immediate jeopardy, any possible doubts, whether or not well founded, about the safety of the vaccine cannot be allowed to exist in view of the need to assure that the vaccine will continue to be used to the maximum extent consistent with the nation’s public health objectives.

I confess that I haven’t examined the CFR’s in detail to see how that intent is expressed in the law, but the statement that you aren’t allowed to challenge the government narrative, no matter how well supported your argument is, is troubling to me.


Sudden Death: The No. 1 Cause of Death for Under 65s in 2021

sudden death after covid shots

  • Mounting evidence shows the COVID shots are destroying people’s immune systems and are triggering turbo-charged cancers

  • A survey by Steve Kirsch found sudden death is the No. 1 cause of death among those under the age of 65 who got the COVID jab

  • Myocarditis as a cause of death is now registering across all age ranges but only for the vaccinated. Cardiac-related deaths are also significantly elevated among younger people (under 65) who got the jab compared to their unjabbed peers

  • Recent research shows repeated jabs trigger a switch in the types of antibodies your body produces and lower your ability to clear viruses. By switching from spike-specific neutralizing IgG antibodies to IgG4 antibodies, your body switches from tumor suppression mode into tumor progression mode

  • In addition to the potential for cancer cells to run amok, IgG4 dominance may also have severe autoimmune implications, as the COVID jab spike protein share similarities with human proteins

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Evidence showing the COVID shots are a public health disaster keeps mounting. In late December 2022, Steve Kirsch1 and Jessica Rose,2 Ph.D., both published Substack articles detailing some of the latest evidence showing the shots are destroying people’s immune systems and have triggered an avalanche of turbo-charged cancers.

Kirsch’s article3 features results from a recent survey he conducted. It included four questions: age, whether the deceased was jabbed or not, year of death and cause of death. While the number of responses is low, major insights can still be gleaned by looking at the trends.

First, we have the baseline data from 2020, which show cancer was the No. 1 killer of Americans younger than 65, followed by hospital treatment for COVID. Turbo-charged cancers accounted for one-ninth of the cancer reports, and there were no reports of death from myocarditis.

Among seniors over the age of 65, preexisting conditions were the top cause of death in 2020. Cancer was second, COVID infection third and cardiac events fourth. There were no turbo-charged cancer deaths, nor any myocarditis deaths. Kirsch then gets into the differences between the vaxxed and the unvaxxed in 2021 and 2022.

In 2021 and 2022, the primary cause of death for people 65 and younger was hospital treatment for COVID. Incidences of sudden death, pulmonary embolism and turbo-charged cancers were all low, and there were no unknown causes of death, nor any myocarditis deaths.

record graph 1

The same went for people older than 65. Hospital treatment for COVID was the No. 1 killer. Heart attacks, turbo-charged cancer and sudden death were all low, and there were no deaths from myocarditis.

record graph 2

Among the COVID-jabbed aged 65 and younger, sudden death was the No. 1 cause of death in 2021 and 2022. The second was cardiac-related death and cancer was third. Importantly, the incidence of turbo-charged cancer among the jabbed was significant in this group, and myocarditis killed more than COVID-19.

record graph 3

Among those older than 65, cancer was the No. 1 cause of death, and the turbo-charged cancer rate is “huge compared to those without the vaccine.” Sudden death was also significantly elevated.

record graph 4

Kirsch summarizes the three most stunning differences between the jabbed and unjabbed:4

  1. “Sudden death rates are off the charts for the vaccinated cf. unvaccinated for those <65 ... It’s the #1 cause of death for this age group ...

  2. Myocarditis as a cause of death is registering now for both age ranges but only for the vaccinated …

  3. Cardiac issues as a cause of death in vaccinated young people (<65) are significantly elevated vs. their unvaxxed peers.”

Exploding cancer rates is precisely what you would expect from a drug that impairs and destroys your immune system, which is what the COVID jabs do. The scientific paper “Innate Immune Suppression by SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccinations”5 describes how the COVID shots suppress your innate immune system by inhibiting the type-1 interferon pathway, which is the first-stage response to all viral infections.

The reason type-1 interferon is suppressed is because it responds to viral RNA, and there’s no viral RNA in the COVID shot. The RNA is modified to look like human RNA, so the interferon pathway doesn’t get triggered. As a result, the COVID jab makes you more susceptible to infections.

One mechanism by which the jab causes cancer has to do with the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein obliterates 90% of the DNA repair mechanism in lymphocytes,6 a type of white blood cell that helps your body fight infections and chronic diseases such as cancer. That’s bad enough, yet that’s just one mechanism of many.

Recent research7 8 also shows that repeated jabs trigger a switch in the types of antibodies your body produces and lower your ability to clear viruses. Jessica Rose reviews these findings in her Substack article:9

“A paper was published in Science Immunology on December 22, 2022 entitled: ‘Class switch towards non-inflammatory, spike-specific IgG4 antibodies after repeated SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination’10

[It] explains in wonderful detail how a class of antibody that commands a non-inflammatory response (more like tolerizing) is prominent in people who have been repeatedly injected with the modified mRNA COVID-19 injectable products.

Translation: Instead of the intended pool of spike-specific neutralizing IgG antibodies being dominant in multiply-injected people, a pool of antibodies associated with spike-specific tolerance are dominant in multiply-injected people.

Besides the tolerizing capacity, they also showed that the phagocytic enabling capacities were much reduced overall. These activities lead to clearance of viral pathogens. Reduce them → reduction in viral clearance capacity …

To be clear, this wasn’t a ‘maybe the antibody profile was a little different’ … This was a ‘whoa there’s a 48,075% increase in spike-specific antibodies between the 2nd and 3rd injections …

IgG4 antibodies among all spike-specific IgG antibodies rose on average from 0.04% shortly after the second vaccination to 19.27% after the third … [I]mportantly, that is not a typical consequence of repeat antigen exposure from either natural infections and vaccination.”

As noted by Substack author Brian Mowrey:11

“This is a totally bonkers thing for an anti-spike-protein B cell to decide to do, and reflects B cell over-exposure to spike, which reflects super-excess production of spike by the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA code …

It is not normal to make IgG4 when repeat encounter with a virus is spaced out over a lifetime, but injection-prompted antigen exposure promotes this response, and mRNA vaccines accelerate this effect …

There is no reason to predict that this would be ‘good’ in an antiviral response … ‘Wearing out’ the immune response in this way is believed to contribute to the development of tolerance against tumors.”

So, to summarize the effects in layman’s terms, the switch from spike-specific neutralizing IgG antibodies to IgG4 antibodies switches your body from tumor suppression mode into tumor progression mode, as cancerous cells now can evade your immune system. You become “tumor tolerant” as your immune system is no longer scavenging for and eliminating cancer cells. Mowrey also points out that:12

“Once a B cell has switched to IgG4, it cannot switch to any other IgG subclass, as the genes for all those other base designs have been discarded. All future clones of this B cell will code for IgG4 receptor/antibody for the antigen in question.”

For clarification, IgG4 is a subclass of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody type that responds to repeated and/or long-term exposure to an antigen. The mRNA shot evaluated here was that of Pfizer, and it was compared against Janssen’s viral vector-based shot. Moderna’s shot was not included. Notably, these results were not found among people who got Janssen’s shot, only Pfizer’s Comirnaty jab.

“Comirnaty … induces a shift away from a viral clearing to a tolerance-inducing antibody class, and this is not the status quo for traditional vaccines or natural infections. The main problem here is … we have no idea of the effects of this ‘effect.’” ~ Jessica Rose, Ph.D.

As noted by Rose:13

“… the bottom line here is that the Comirnaty product … induces a shift away from a viral clearing to a tolerance-inducing antibody class, and this is not the status quo for traditional vaccines or natural infections. The main problem here is … we have no idea of the effects of this ‘effect.’”

That said, we can look at what happens in people with IgG4-related disease, and start formulating hypotheses from there. As explained by Rose, a hallmark of IgG4-related disease is fibrosis, i.e., tissue scarring, which can lead to organ dysfunction, organ failure and even death if left untreated.

Rose is now researching the possible links between this antibody switching and the stringy white deposits found in COVID-jabbed people who died. Might it be a new form of connective tissue disease?

In addition to the potential for cancer cells to run amok (as discussed in the section above), IgG4 dominance may also have severe autoimmune implications seeing how the COVID jab spike protein share similarities with human proteins.

“Molecular mimicry has been shown14 in multiple publications to be a potential problem with regard to the spike protein whereby it has been shown to share motifs with human proteins,” Rose writes.15 “What this means is that autoimmunity potential against these human proteins is clear and present.

In the context of this recent publication showing a dominant IgG4 pool, I have to wonder what the implications of this dominant pool are for molecular mimicry. Are these IgG4 antibodies capable of tolerizing in the context of our own protein?”

If you got one or more jabs and suffered an injury, first and foremost, never ever take another COVID booster, another mRNA gene therapy shot or regular vaccine. You need to end the assault on your system.

The same goes for anyone who has taken one or more COVID jabs and had the good fortune of not experiencing debilitating side effects. Your health may still be impacted long-term, so don’t take any more shots.

When it comes to treatment, there are still more questions than answers, and most doctors are clueless about what to do — in part because they never bothered to give early treatment for COVID and therefore don’t understand how different medicines and supplements impact the spike protein.

So far, it seems like many of the treatments that worked against severe COVID-19 infection also help ameliorate adverse effects from the jab. This makes sense, as the toxic, most damaging part of the virus is the spike protein, and that’s what your whole body is producing if you got the jab.

Two doctors who have started tackling the treatment of COVID jab injuries in earnest include Dr. Michelle Perro (, whom I’ve interviewed on this topic, and Dr. Pierre Kory (

Both agree that eliminating the spike protein your body is now continuously producing is a primary task. Perro’s preferred remedy for this is hydroxychloroquine, while Kory’s is ivermectin. Both of these drugs bind and thereby facilitate the removal of spike protein.

As a member of the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC), Kory helped develop the FLCCC’s post-vaccine treatment protocol called I-RECOVER. Since the protocol is continuously updated as more data become available, your best bet is to download the latest version straight from the FLCCC website at covid19criticalcare.com16 (hyperlink to the correct page provided above).

The World Health Council has also published lists of remedies that can help inhibit, neutralize and eliminate spike protein. Inhibitors that prevent spike protein from binding to your cells include Prunella vulgaris, pine needle tea, emodin, neem, dandelion extract and the drug ivermectin.

Spike protein neutralizers, which prevent the spike from damaging cells, include N-acetylcysteine (NAC), glutathione, fennel tea, star anise tea, pine needle tea, St. John’s wort, comfrey tea and vitamin C. A March 2022 review paper17 suggests combating the neurotoxic effects of the spike protein using the flavonoids luteolin and quercetin.

Time-restricted eating (TRE) and/or sauna therapy can also help eliminate toxic proteins by stimulating autophagy. Several additional detox remedies can be found in “World Council for Health Reveals Spike Protein Detox.”

Other treatments and remedies that may be helpful for COVID jab injuries include:

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, especially in cases involving stroke, heart attack, autoimmune diseases and/or neurodegenerative disorders. To learn more, see “Hyperbaric Therapy — A Vastly Underused Treatment Modality.”

  • Lower your Omega-6 intake. Linoleic acid is consumed in amounts ten times of ideal in well over 95% of the population and contributes to massive oxidative stress that impairs your immune response. Seed oils and processed foods need to be diligently avoided. You can review my previous post for more information.

  • Pharmaceutical grade methylene blue, which improves mitochondrial respiration and aid in mitochondrial repair. It’s actually the parent molecule for hydroxychloroquine. A dose of 15 to 80 milligrams a day could go a long way toward resolving some of the fatigue many suffer post-jab.

    It may also be helpful in acute strokes. The primary contraindication is if you have a G6PD deficiency (a hereditary genetic condition), in which case you should not use methylene blue at all. To learn more, see “The Surprising Health Benefits of Methylene Blue.”

  • Near-infrared light, as it triggers production of melatonin in your mitochondria18 where you need it most. By mopping up reactive oxygen species, it too helps improve mitochondrial function and repair. Natural sunlight is 54.3% infrared radiation,19 so this treatment is available for free. For more information, see “What You Need to Know About Melatonin.”

  • Lumbrokinase and serrapeptidase are both fibrinolytic enzymes taken on an empty stomach one hour before or two hours after to help reduce the risk of blood clots.

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Donald Trump's subpoena was purely a political stunt, says legal analyst Ameer Benno

Image: Donald Trump’s subpoena was purely a political stunt, says legal analyst Ameer Benno

(Natural News) For legal analyst and GOP strategist Ameer Benno, the subpoena issued to former President Donald Trump by the January 6 committee was clearly a political stunt by the Left.

The said summon was eventually withdrawn by the committee on December 28 before it got dissolved.

The committee first issued its subpoena to Trump in October, requesting the former president to submit to questions about the attack on the U.S. Capitol and his role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Benno, who appeared on “John Bachman Now,” told the show’s co-anchor Bianca de la Garza that he agrees with Trump’s assessment that the subpoena issued to him was politically motivated. The withdrawal should have been done at the very beginning of the investigation, he added.

De la Garza mentioned that Trump posted on Truth Social that “they probably did so because they knew I did nothing wrong or they were about to lose in court,” referring to the subpoena withdrawal. The legal analyst concurred, pointing out that the committee must have realized that it doesn’t want to draw a very bad decision from the court.

“As to the separation of powers issue as to whether a congressional committee can bring a former president before it to testify. They realized they would get bad laws on that. And so that in conjunction with the fact that the committee has expired is why they withdrew the subpoena,” Benno added.

While the January 6 committee has been dissolved, De la Garza said investigations will still continue following the Department of Justice‘s appointment of special counsel Jack Smith to two cases filed against Trump.


The first one revolves around Trump’s efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s election win and the second is his handling of classified information.

Smith’s recommendations will go up to Attorney General Merrick Garland for approval. “Obviously, what happens to Smith’s investigation will be closely watched,” De la Garza said.

GOP Congress to launch various investigations

The Republicans took the House’s full control having the majority elected representatives at 222-213. As promised during the midterm campaigns, GOP will launch probes on several issues under the Biden regime.

These investigations will cover border policies, the lifting of Title 42, big tech censorship, the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) origins and the involvement of former White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci in the gain-of-function research.

According to Benno, the American people also want to hear about investigations into Hunter Biden’s connection and the extent to which Joe Biden benefits from his son’s business dealings in Ukraine and China. (Related: House Republicans bring the heat: GOP preparing to launch several hearings into Biden regime, beginning with investigation into the president’s family.)

In November 2022, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said the Biden family’s business dealings implicate a wide range of criminality from human trafficking to potential violations of the constitution.

“In the 218th Congress, this committee will evaluate the status of Joe Biden’s relationship with his family’s foreign partners and whether he is a president who is compromised or swayed by foreign dollars or influence,” he added.

Biden and his staff have claimed at least seven times that he has not been involved in the family business, yet more than 17 pieces of evidence suggest that the president has played a significant role in the fraudulent activities of his son Hunter and brother James.

Check out for more updates on cases filed against the former president.

Watch this broadcast of “John Bachman Now” with Bianca de la Garza featuring Ameer Benno below.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

More related stories:

Biden continues to terrorize the country after declaring ALL Republicans are a ‘threat to democracy.’

MSNBC guests, hosts lose their minds over potential GOP control of Congress: ‘Our children will be arrested… killed.’

If Republicans take the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul could lead “Nuremberg 2.0” investigation into COVID crimes.

Left-wing personalities enraged by Musk’s tweet to vote for a Republican Congress.

Sources include:

Can You Pass the Flexibility Test?

flexibility test

  • Theresa Larson, physical therapist and movement health expert, shared a simple five-stretch test that determines if you have sufficient flexibility in your neck, back, hips, calves and ankles

  • Shortened and tight muscles can lead to joint immobility, loss of function, and pain such as upper crossed syndrome from sitting hunched over a computer that results in upper back pain and chest muscle tightness

  • Stretching is part of a well-balanced fitness routine and should be done at the end of your workout, after active recovery or active cooldown. Since your muscles are warmed up, be careful not to overstretch and cause microtears in the muscle, tendon or ligaments

  • Low back pain is one of the most common complaints that brings patients to their physician and causes missed days at work. Refrain from using a standing toe touch to stretch your lower back since it increases the load on your lower back. Instead, use these three gentle stretches

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There are many benefits to staying physically active, one of which is maintaining flexibility. According to one 2018 study published in The Lancet,1 the percentage of people with insufficient levels of activity remained stable from 2001 to 2016, measuring roughly 28.5% across the world. The highest prevalence of inactivity was in high-income Western countries, which measured at 42.3% using data from 358 surveys across 168 countries and including 1.9 million participants.

According to data from the CDC,2 information from 2017 through 2020 showed the overall prevalence of inactivity was 25.3% across the U.S. However, while this was the overall prevalence, the CDC then broke down the information by location, race and ethnicity. According to the January 2022 map, there were seven states in which the level of inactivity was 30% or greater, and there were no states in which inactivity was less than 15%.

When levels of inactivity are this high, it’s also likely that people’s flexibility has been negatively impacted. Sitting at a computer all day can stretch the muscles in the upper back and shorten the chest muscles, leading to hunched shoulders and upper back pain.3 This is called upper crossed syndrome (UCS).

This is just one challenge that results from shortened muscles that negatively affects joints and increases pain. Before jumping into a stretching program, let’s discover exactly what makes you flexible and then take a simple test to determine how flexible you are now.

A bodily joint is defined as the area where two or more bones meet. While many are mobile, some are not. Different types of joints are defined by their function, movement, structure or anatomical location.4

Your body uses these joints to allow you to move. Without movement, muscles, tendons and ligaments become tight and short. This reduces your range of motion or ability to move the way you normally would. While flexibility and mobility are related, they are also different.

Mobility describes the way in which your joints move through a full range of motion while flexibility is how well your muscles can stretch or lengthen. Flexibility gives you greater mobility to do things like pick things up off the floor or grab something off a high shelf. Your body requires practice to maintain flexibility and mobility in the same way that you need to move weight to gain strength or do aerobic exercise for cardiovascular endurance.

Some studies demonstrate that stretching can reduce the severity of chronic insomnia5 and improve subjective sleep.6 It also helps reduce pain7 and has a positive impact on your mental health.8

Increasing your range of motion can also lower your risk of minor, everyday injuries as well as reduce the potential risk of performance-related injury.9 Maintaining flexibility and mobility also helps your body to work correctly and improve your posture, which in turn can reduce upper and lower back pain.

Importantly, better flexibility can help improve balance and guard against falls in the elderly10 and increases the potential to live independently as you age. One study from the University of Saskatchewan11 demonstrated that stretching for 30 minutes at each session can help reduce blood pressure, possibly even better than going for a brisk walk.

Theresa Larson is a physical therapist and an expert on movement health. She spoke with a reporter from The New York Times12 and shared a flexibility test that consists of five simple stretches. However, it’s important to note that as with anything else, you can have too much of a good thing.

Experts estimate that approximately 20% of the population are hypermobile or have a larger range of motion than expected, for example, the ability to touch your thumb to your inner forearm or place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees. The trait is a result of a variation in the type of collagen the body produces.13 The following is a simple test14 that will help determine the areas of your body that may need some attention.

  1. Back, hips and hamstrings — Tight muscles in these areas can cause your hips and pelvis to rotate, flattening the lower back and increasing your risk of foot, knee and back pain. Larson recommends testing these muscles with a simple toe touch. If you’re able to touch your toes while keeping your legs straight, then you likely have enough flexibility in those areas.

    However, it’s important to know that people with short arms may not be able to touch their toes and people who can get their hands to the floor may be hypermobile in those joints or simply have long arms.

  2. Neck — Sitting for long hours at a desk hunched over a computer can cause your neck muscles to become tight. This can trigger neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches.15 Larson recommends testing how far you can turn your head to one side while sitting in a chair. Normal range of motion should allow you to move about 90 degrees or get your chin near your shoulder.

  3. Thoracic spine — Your thoracic spine is in the middle of your back. When the muscles supporting this area become tight, your lumbar spine may attempt to compensate, which in turn causes low back pain.16 Larson uses a test called the open book stretch to evaluate the flexibility of your upper and middle back.

    Start by lying on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other and your knees bent. Straighten both arms in front of you with your hands together. Keeping your legs, pelvis and lower arms still, slowly move your top arm until it’s extended to the other side of your body. If you can touch your top arm to the floor behind you without your pelvis and legs moving, you have good flexibility in your thoracic spine.

  4. Calves and ankles — Chronically wearing shoes with heels, overuse and a lack of stretching can lead to tight calf muscles, which affects your feet and the way you walk. Tight calf muscles can result in Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and forefoot problems.17 This simple test requires a ruler or measuring tape that you lay on the floor with the zero end against the wall.

    Stand approximately 1 foot from the wall. Keep your left foot in place and move the right foot back, dropping to your right knee. Position your left foot so your front knee can touch the wall without your heel coming off the floor. If you can maintain this stance with your toes 4 inches from the wall, it indicates you have good flexibility in your calf and ankle.

  5. Hips — Sitting at a desk all day can cause the external rotator muscles in your hips to tighten, which affects your lower back and legs. Test your flexibility by lying on your back with your right foot on the ground and your knee bent. Cross your left leg over your right knee with your ankle at the knee. Lift your right leg off the ground using your hands. If you can touch your hamstrings with your hands, you have adequate flexibility in your hip external rotator muscles.

Stretching is an important part of a well-balanced fitness routine. But the question is, when exactly should you stretch? Should it be before or after your workout, or both? Most people believe that stretching before exercise helps prevent injury, but scientific evidence does not support this theory. An editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine18 listed some observations that refute the idea that stretching before exercise can make you less prone to injury.

  • Most injuries occur during eccentric contraction within a normal range of motion; therefore, increasing your range of motion before exercise is unlikely to prevent injury

  • Even mild stretching can cause damage at the cytoskeletal level

  • Stretching appears to increase pain tolerance, which could encourage injury

As noted in the paper, “It does not seem prudent to decrease one’s tolerance to pain, possibly create some damage at the cytoskeletal level and then exercise this damaged anesthetized muscle. Of note, there is no basic science evidence to suggest that stretching would decrease injuries.”

In fact, the key to injury prevention is warming up your muscles and not stretching them. By the same token, active recovery is more beneficial after a workout than simply immediately stopping and stretching.19 It’s generally accepted that a quick warm-up is advisable before you start your workout.

While stretching before working out is unlikely to provide any significant protection, it is part of a well-rounded fitness program and will improve your flexibility and mobility over time. Consider incorporating stretching into your active recovery at the end of your workout.

Because your muscles are already warmed up, be sure not to overstretch. Your body has physical limitations and when pushed too far, you can cause microtears in the muscles, tendons and ligaments20 without improving flexibility.

When stretching, I believe dynamic, functional and active isolated stretching (AIS)21 is best. AIS uses gentle pressure, as you hold each stretch for just two seconds to work with your body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase elasticity.

I typically recommend avoiding static stretching, as it reduces blood flow in the tissue and creates localized ischemia and lactic acid buildup, which is what you want to avoid.22 I also do not recommend ballistic stretching, as the uncontrolled movement increases your risk of muscle tears.23

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints patients bring to their physicians as well as one of the most common reasons people miss days at work.24 It can range from a dull constant ache to shooting pain. It might begin suddenly or come on slowly as you age. One of the risk factors for lower back pain is tight muscles, which respond well to gentle stretching.

Your back and abdominal core muscles help support much of your body’s weight. You’ll find that low-impact activity can often help reduce pain and speed healing. While you might be tempted to loosen your lower back muscles using a standing toe touch, there are multiple reasons why this is bad for your back.

The standing toe touch stretches your hamstrings, but it also increases the burden on your lower back during the exercise. If you already have an injury, it can increase the risk for aggravation or further injury.25 Instead, consider these three gentle stretches to mobilize your lower back if you are having pain.

  1. Cobra pose — This traditional beginner yoga pose is a gentle backbend position accomplished from a face-down, on-the-floor exercise.26 The goal is to strengthen the spine while opening the chest. It is also an excellent counter activity to relieve upper crossed syndrome that occurs when you are working over a desk.

    Begin by lying on the floor on your stomach, stretching your legs behind you and placing the tops of your feet on the floor.27 Put your hands under your shoulders and keep your elbows close to your body. Press the tops of your feet, thighs and lower pelvis firmly into the floor while straightening your arms to lift your chest.

    Go only as high as you can while maintaining connection from your lower pelvis through your toes on the floor. Start by holding this for 15 seconds, building to 30 seconds as you grow stronger. Inhale on the way up and exhale with your release on the way down.

  2. Cat-cow pose — This basic yoga pose is breath-synchronized, and it warms up the spinal muscles.28 Begin with your knees and hands on the floor and your back straight in a table position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your knees directly under your hips, with your weight balanced on all four evenly.

    Move into a concave position as you inhale through your abdomen, tipping your belly toward the floor and lifting your eyes toward the ceiling. Exhale while drawing your belly button toward your spine and slowly move into an arched back position with your chin resting on your chest. Do not hold in the cat or cow position but move gently and smoothly through both.

  3. Child pose — This pose is a resting pose used between more rigorous yoga exercises.29 Start by kneeling with your feet together while sitting on your heels. Move your knees apart so they are as wide as your hips.

    Exhale while lowering your body down between your thighs. Lengthen your lower back away from your pelvis and lay your hands on the floor, palms up along your body. In the beginning, start with 30 seconds and work up to two to three minutes as you’re comfortable.

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