Saturday, May 21, 2005

How does MAT Work

By Rich Lauro

Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) re-activates weak muscles through precision manual therapy and/or corrective isometric exercises by revealing precisely which muscle is inhibited, this becomes the foundation for a targeted treatment program.

Muscles having a direct or indirect influence on those areas showing instability, lacking a full range of motion or causing pain, are targeted for therapy. Manual pressure is applied to the identified muscle's attachment points in order to stimulate communication between the brain and the inactive muscle. Eliminating the need for compensation by other muscles. Helps restore normal joint function and alleviates pain.

When a muscle is injured it shuts down, disrupting the communication between the brain and the muscle leading to instability in the joint that the weak muscle supports. In response, surrounding muscles have to over-work to stabilize the affected joint. The result is chronic pain and tightness.

For a more simplistic approach to understanding muscle function, compare the body to a car. The initiation of a muscle contraction occurs similarly to the way a battery initiates the starting of a car. Both rely on connections that transfer electrical energy to produce a reaction.

Our nerves that run from the spinal cord to the muscle are just like the cables that run from the ignition and connect to the battery. When the key is turned in the ignition, the impulses transfer through the cables to the battery allowing the car to start.

Similarly, in the body, when a message is sent from the brain, the input is transferred through the nerves to the muscles creating muscle contraction.

Each muscle is independently innervated, therefore it can be seen as having many batteries, each connected by its own independent cables. When the body is functioning properly, with all batteries connected, each muscle will contract on demand and the body will function very efficiently.

Many times, due to factors such as stress, trauma or overuse, the neurological connections may become altered creating a reaction in the body, similar to that of loose battery cables in your car. When the brain sends a message for a muscle to contract, the muscle does not respond immediately, creating increased demand on other muscles to perform the desired movement.

The result becomes what we know as compensation. Over time, these compensation patterns create altered alignment in the joint, leading to joint instability and abnormal wear on the joint surfaces.

The end result becomes pain and eventually osteoarthritis. This progressive degeneration has been correlated with aging. If identified and properly addressed, it does not have to occur.

MAT can slow down or even reverse the aging process. If it is recognized that muscles are designed to stabilize and support the joints naturally; it must be understood that arthritic conditions and joint instability can be helped or prevented when muscles are prepared to function properly.

All that is needed is to create proper connections between the brain and the muscles. Muscle Activation Techniques does this. It provides the ability for the body to function the way it was designed to function.

Just like with a dead battery, the muscles must be jumpstarted and the cables must be tightened before the muscle will function properly.

In simplistic terms, through Muscle Activation Techniques, muscles that have improper neurological connections are identified, then jumpstarted; creating the ability for the muscles to stabilize the joints and reduce the joint stresses that lead to arthritic conditions. That is when the body becomes efficient and the related aches and pains are deterred.

You can exercise the muscle all you want but the body will find a way to compensate. What you need to do is jump-start the muscle the same way you jump-start the car battery.

It is critical to follow up with corrective exercises using concentric and weight-bearing exercises to further re-enforce the strength of the muscles and integrate them into functional movement patterns.

Visit us at www.sports-injury-solutions.com to learn how to prevent and correct muscle imbalances to get your FREE health, fitness & sports injury training guide newsletter.


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Originally Posted on 5/21/2005 11:13:51 AM

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