Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)

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Flexibility is an important determinant factor in optimal physical performance, rehabilitation, and wellness. Flexibility is the ability to freely move a joint or a series of joints freely and painlessly. While many variables can affect the loss of normal joint flexibility including injury, inactivity or a lack of stretching, the true physical cause of inflexibility is rooted in the tightness of the muscles and fascia of a joint. The fascia is a fibrous connective tissue made up of collagen that is present all throughout the body, not just in the muscular system. The fascia provides interconnections between all cells in the body and acts as a transport system of removal of toxins. Because of its important roles, malfunctioned fascia can result in ailments relating to many physiological systems, such as the muscular, nervous, circulatory, and lymphatic systems.

Optimizing joint flexibility through reduction of fascial tendon is the ultimate goal of many manual treatments, like the Active Isolated Stretching (AIS). AIS is part of a comprehensive method called the Mattes Method. This method targets superficial and deep fascial planes to allow for restoration of muscles, tendons, vertebrae, ligaments, and joints. The Mattes Method’s core principle is to only permit the stretching of relaxed myofascial structures in order to maximally stretch them. The Mattes Method utilizes a gradual stretch of no longer than 2 seconds to promote the full range of motion and flexibility without activating antagonistic muscle group contraction. This manual technique isolates the muscles to be stretched by contracting the opposite muscles. The Mattes Method adheres to two scientific laws: Wolff’s Law and Sherrington’s Law. The Wolff’s Law states that the formation of the bone and its surrounding elements relies on the functional pressure that those structures face. Thus, the skeletal muscles, a form of striated muscle, facilitate bone remodeling as dictated by stress and demands the bone faces. Sherrington’s Law states that when muscles on one side of the joint is contracted, neurological signals are given to the muscles on the opposite side to relax. Incorporating the two laws in combination with a gradual, rhythmic stretch of no longer than 2 seconds, reflexive antagonistic contraction is greatly minimized to all for a maximum stretch of the muscles.

Causes of Inflexibility
• Underlying medical conditions
• Poor posture
• Muscle imbalances
• Effects of aging
• Rapid growth in adolescents
Benefits of Stretching
• Improves your flexibility and range of motion
• Facilitates metabolic waste removal
• Facilitates lymphatic flow
• Reduces risks of musculoskeletal injuries
• Improves posture
• Improves athletic performance