Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)- is a system designed to evaluate and treat muscular imbalances that lead to tightness/soreness, loss of range of motion and reduced muscular performance.
The Philosophy behind Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)- is that the brain uses tightness and soreness to protect the body. When the brain senses there are weak or inhibited muscles, it sends signals to the area to tighten up in order to help stabilize the joints to prevent injury or further injury. In other words, the pain or tightness that is felt is the brains protection mechanism. The Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) process is used to identify the weak and inhibited muscles and get them functioning properly. Once the muscles are firing properly, the brain will send a signal to release the stiffness from the muscles and soreness typically will disappear.
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The Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) Process– is designed to restore muscular strength and return balance to the joints. By strengthening the muscles, the symptoms of unstable joints are relieved and the pain and stiffness typically subside. Note: Muscle Activation Techniques looks at the whole body. Its not uncommon to see muscle weaknesses away from the area of pain or stiffness. An example would be, if some one had pain in their knee. Range of Motion and Strength testing may find that the muscles of the hip joint are not firing optimally and causing the femur to be slightly out of alignment. It is alignment issues that cause incongruency within joint surfaces which can lead to pain, deterioration, or arthritic changes. MAT uses a whole body approach when restoring balance to joints.The MAT approach uses a four step process to identify and treat problems areas.
- Range Of Motion Testing (ROM)
- Muscle Testing
- Muscle Palpation
Range Of Motion Test (ROM)- In Muscle Activation Techniques the ROM test is exactly what it sounds like, a process to assess asymmetrical range of motion issues. If the ROM is different from one side of the body to the other, then an area of further exploration is found. Asymmetry in a range of motion is the first step in identifying compromised muscles or joints.
Muscle Test- Once asymmetry in ROM is identified the corresponding muscles will need to be tested. For any given movement in the body, a whole host of muscles will be involved and each of these muscles will be tested. The test includes testing the strength of all the associated muscles for that given ROM. The test is not about how strong the muscle is but how well the lower threshold muscles fibers can handle a light application of force. Once weak muscles are identified they are targeted for Muscle Treatment.
Muscle Treatment- Once a muscle is determined to be inhibited it is treated with palpations. The palpations are done in areas of the muscle that are rich in nervous system mechanical receptors. The palpation causes the nervous system to improve communication between the brain and muscle telling it contract. Once optimal communication is restored the brain will send the message for other muscles to release and to retract the protective mechanism which is no longer needed because the body senses strength and stability.
Isometrics- These are light force exercises similar to the muscle tests that help reinforce the strength in the newly activated muscles.