Massage Modalities

Neuromuscular Therapy: Muscle Energy Techniques (METs)

Muscle Energy Techniques (METs) utilize reciprocal inhibition for structural muscular balancing. This is a gentle and effective technique that releases chronic contraction in the muscle.

METs are done by a voluntary activation of the muscle, in a specific controlled direction, then held in a stretch position to reset the muscle's proprioception to a more lengthened state.

METs are used to:

  • Lengthen muscles (reset proprioceptors)
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Relieve muscle spasms
  • Break down adhesions
  • Decrease hypertonicity
  • Resolve trigger points

Stretching techniques involved with METs include:

  • Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)
  • Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
  • Static, Passive and Dynamic

The two principles of METs

MET's utilize two neurophysiologic principles: Post-Isometric Relaxation (PIR) and Reciprocal Inhibition (RI)

  • The first: PIR occurs for ten seconds or so after isometric contraction allowing the muscle to be passively positioned and painlessly lengthened further than prior to the exercise.  
  • The second principle: RI takes place when a muscle contraction forces its opposing muscle (antagonist) to relax to allow for more normal movement ;thus being a great way to soften the muscle and the deeper fibers can more readily be accessed and worked.

Due to the client's participation in activating the particular muscle, this reawakening is called somatic re-education or repatterning. It's a good way for the client to remember how to isolate muscles and therefore become more mindful and attain better functional movement.