Methods To Increase Flexibility : Muscle Energy Techniques
Sports massage is generally associated with deep tissue work and this is a useful way to promote circulation and release tight muscles, though within the remit of sports massage there are other beneficial methods to bring release and promote flexibility.
M.E.T. (muscle energy technique) is a good way to restore a new resting length to muscle fibres which are tight and causing restricted or dysfunctional movement.
The theory and science involved: Within our muscles are spindles which detect a stretch and pass sensory information back to the spinal cord, which then passes motor messages back to the muscle creating a protective tension to resist the stretch. When a muscle is contracted slowly for a period of ten seconds and is then relaxed, further messages are relayed and this protective tension is reduced meaning the muscle will be more willing to receive a stretch for a window of around 20-25 seconds. This is known as P.I.R. (post isometric relaxation).
Method of application: The contraction is isometric, meaning static; the clients limb is held by the therapist, client pulls static limb towards hold, the muscle contracts but limb doesn’t move. This is done twice for ten seconds with around 10-20 percent effort, then there is the 20-25 second window where the muscle is can be effectively stretched (remember P.I.R.), the stretch needs to be sustained for 30 plus seconds to achieve a new resting length. It is important that the client can relax/ breathe into the stretch as bracing or resistance are not aligned with release.
I find this method is very useful for my clients alongside different massage techniques and careful yoga stretching.
For further information, more articles or to book an appointment email via contacts section.
Go well. Will