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What is Muscle Energy Technique?


Muscle Energy Techniques (METs) are a form of treatment where a clients muscle is actively contracted from a controlled position in a specific direction against a counterforce. METs can be used to normalise a joints range of movement, strengthen weakened muscles, restore tone, improve circulation, as well as improve musculoskeletal function. It is a mild form of stretching, and safe to use as part of the rehabilitation process after an injury. There are two distinct physiological processes, with the same end goal, and reasons for using one as opposed to the other. Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR) is the most commonly used.

Firstly the muscle chosen to lengthen is taken to its barrier point, or point of bind, the point at which resistance to movement is felt, rather than its end of range. The client is then asked to isometrically contract using 10-20% of their maximum effort against a counter resistance from the therapist. This contraction is held for approximately 10 seconds and the client is encouraged to inhale slowly, and exhale and relax, prior to the therapist increasing the range of motion of the joint. This newly set barrier point should be held for approximately 20 seconds before repeating, as it aids the muscle fibres to set this new range as the normal resting point. The process of contraction, increasing range, and holding to set, should be repeated normally 3 or 4 times, or until no further progress is achieved. In order for the final position to be locked onto by the neurological system, it is suggested that the position be held for approximately 30 seconds. It is important to remember that this technique will not help achieve new found range in a joint, only restore what is the normal range, after injury for example. If pain presents when isometrically contracting a muscle, this method should be avoided.

Determining the level of pain a client is presenting is the deciding factor on which method of MET is appropriate. If the agonist muscle which is tight and short is causing discomfort, Reciprocal Inhibition (RI) should be the method of choice for the client’s treatment. RI has the same benefits as PIR, but uses the isometric contraction of the antagonist to induce relaxation of the shortened and painful muscle tissue. PIR tends to have better results, but until pain levels decrease in the agonist muscle, RI can be used to work towards the same goal. If a client in rehabilitation after a grade II strain to the hamstrings feels pain when contracting them, MET would still be beneficial, but RI, contracting the quadriceps against a counterforce, would be the better treatment plan.

RI differs slightly in technique, due to its inferior ability in comparison to PIR. As well as the antagonist contracting against a counterforce, it is important to guide the joint into its new point of bind immediately after contracting as there is a shorter window in which is it possible to create it. Firstly the muscle chosen to lengthen is taken to its barrier point, or point of bind, the point at which resistance to movement is felt, rather than its end of range. The client is then asked to isometrically contract the antagonist using 10-20% of their maximum effort against a counter resistance from the therapist. This contraction is held for approximately 10 seconds and the client is encouraged to inhale slowly, and exhale and relax, whilst the therapist increase the range of motion of the joint. This newly set barrier point should be held for approximately 20 seconds before repeating, as it aids the muscle fibres to set this new range as the normal resting point. The process of contraction, increasing range, and holding to set, should be repeated normally 3 or 4 times, or until no further progress is achieved. In order for the final position to be locked onto by the neurological system, it is suggested that the position be held for approximately 30 seconds. It is important to remember that this technique as with PIR, will not help achieve new found range in a joint, only restore what is the normal range, after injury for example.

Please contact me of you think you could benefit from Muscle Energy Technique.

#MET #muscle #MuscleEnergyTechnique #sportsmassage #balance #adhesions #softtissuetherapy #pain #techniques #rangeofmovement #strengthen #musculoskeletal #PIR #RI #pointofbi #rehabilitation

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