The Muscle Activation Techniques are a set of specific tests that allow us to check our neuromuscular system, evaluate the connection with our nervous system and functioning of each muscle, and correct and optimise them when they do not function properly.
These techniques, with a specific reinforcement of weak muscles together, which are already readjusted / activated, will make the entire muscular system work at full capacity. These techniques improve stability and joint mobility, optimising its operation and reducing debilitation caused by muscle imbalance.
Many health professionals find out muscle tension as a cause of the problem, but on the base of the Muscle Activation Techniques, we consider muscle weakness (we call it as "muscle inhibition") as the cause of musculoskeletal dysfunction. The TENSION is may be a solution of nervous system problems before the problem of weakness or damage in the body.
From that new angle, we observe excessive tone or muscular tension as a mechanism of protection of the reflex nervous system. Therefore, it is logical to understand that before an inadequate capacity to contract some muscles in determined positions, the nervous system, to detect the instability in a joint, decides to increase the tension of other muscles to protect this joint.
This is the reason why we do not treat strained muscles, since we do not consider that it is correct to treat the symptom and eliminate the protective mechanism without making sure that a potential cause (muscle inhibition) has been localised and eliminated.
What is the Muscle Function?
The muscles are vital to control stability of your joints, and our purpose is THE JOINT STABILITY. This is the reason why we do NOT treat either an injury or a pain, but we find out that pain or injury is rooted in a muscular imbalance, we can have muscles that do not contract properly, causing an inadequate joint stability and increasing the tension to protect them. If the muscles cannot stabilize the joints properly, there will be an abnormal debilitation of the joint surfaces, which, in the course of time, can evolve towards conditions of degenerative osteoarthritis.
A good thing of this type of work is always beneficial, every time an operation is done, beyond the muscular adaptation caused by the injury itself, more ones are caused in tissues stabilizing a joint and more stress in other muscles due to compensation.
In this case, it becomes even more essential to use this type of work in order to help balance the muscles stabilizing the joint. The more stress is placed on the joints and tissues, the greater the need to readjust the associated muscles. Muscle activation techniques can prevent you from having another operation on the same spot.
During the Session
The Specific Joint Motion Range Analysis is one of the most important phases. Asymmetrical limitations of joint ranges are sought along different axes of motion. These limitations of the movement point out potential positions of neuromuscular weakness.
The potential neuromuscular imbalance decreases mobility at both ends of the joint movement range and increases the tone of other muscles to protect the weakness because of their instability. Once, when the axes (planes) of limited movements are located, we pass to evaluation of the neuromuscular weaknesses, doing this operation by the specific "neuro-proprioceptive" response tests which are carried out in positions related to the axis / plane of the limited motion.
Once the weakness positions are located, the specific neuromuscular connections should be recovered. To reinforce these positions of instability, very specific muscular palpation techniques are applied; they help to re-establish the muscular specific proprioceptive entry of the muscle spindles (sensory receptors a muscle) and improve the communication link between the muscle and the nervous system, optimizing the muscle function and its contractile capacity increasing in this way the neuromuscular response and joint stability.
After that, a neuromuscular "re-test" (Check and Balance) is done again in the position that was previously positive (weakness) to make sure that the weakness has been eliminated; then they check if the joint mobility or limitation has been modified. According to results of each "test" and "re-test", specific positional tests of each muscle, palpation and re-test are repeated until improvement of the joint stability is obtained in the weak zone.
The main purpose of MAT will always be optimizing a muscle function making joint integrity-stability be recovered.
We will never sacrifice mobility for stability, because higher mobility does not ensure stability of the joints involved in this motion. The mobility can be increased, but when the nervous system does not recognize that position, the former would leave these joints totally vulnerable. So, the re-test is always done in the final phase. All the above stated helps us check if the previous position or new one to which we can reach are really stable.
MAT is the only thing ensuring us that our muscles function correctly again, but the threshold of tolerance to mechanical stress or to the effort that we will have to withstand on a daily basis will be, of course, very low. In addition, such muscles cannot tolerate to forces which we deal with both at work, sports or specific moments every day. That is why the SPECIFIC REINFORCEMENT is so important.
It is fundamental to try raising the threshold of tolerance to mechanical stress (set point) of those muscles that we have already activated. To do it, we will use different incentives or load types (isometric, dynamic, eccentric, non-inertial, inertial, etc.) increasing that capacity to generate and support forces of the activated muscles gradually.
The final our purpose will always be to optimise functioning of ALL MUSCLES of our body, since the better they work and the better tolerance to mechanical stress they have, the better we will respond to casual incentives, be elite athletes, housewives, IT specialists or do another work, being ensured a good quality of life and neuro-muscle-joint health.
Muscle Activation is a technique of biomechanical direction but is not a therapy. The main purpose is improving ability of muscles to interact one with another efficiently, but not eliminate pathologic phenomenon in one’s musculoskeletal system.
MAT is NOT a substitute for training; in contrary, it is a precursor to be able to carry these potential benefits into practice most efficiently. The work of a muscle activator is closely connected with physical exercises, because the latter prepare the muscles to function more adequately, limiting the compensation and muscle imbalances caused by their incorrect functioning.
It is very common to find athletes with many muscular imbalances and a non-optimal function of their musculature because their training itself causes such pathology in their neuromuscular system. At the same time, we can meet sedentary people with a very good muscle interaction. Sedentary lifestyle is not meant to be better than sport one; at the former, the neuromuscular system is not simply excessively stressed out.
Levels of tolerance of the sedentary to the physical loads person can be low, since his or her muscular system is not prepared for such affect. We must understand that stress because of our everyday activities (sports, work, etc.) makes certain muscles stop functioning optimally. Therefore, the combination of Training and Muscular Activation sessions is most perfect; such alliance will prepare our muscles to tolerate loads of our physical training better obtaining the positive effects from the latter.
It is common that sedentary person mentioned above needs training to increase the tolerance of their muscles; it is also possible that depending on his or her progress and loads, being used in their training, and / or sport he or she begin to stress and unfit certain muscles.