In conventional logic in the west, it is often thought that when muscles are “tight”, they need to be stretched through traditional stretching. Based on my experience, and the experience of qi gong practitioners with whom I have talked, this is not an effective approach. I have not seen any genuine transformation from stretching.
Muscles become tight in the first place because something else is not fully functional. Instead of traditional stretching, which focuses on the symptoms, one should focus on treating the root of the issue, i.e. what is not fully activated.
For instance, if the gluteal muscles are not fully functional, which is very common in modern western culture and shows itself while standing and in movement, often the iliotibial band it very taut. Instead of working to release the IT band itself, by balancing the body’s energetics, which could be done numerous ways, the gluteal muscles will be activated progressively over time, and the IT band will soften naturally on its own accord.