Part II: What is MAT (Muscle Activation Techniques)?
MAT is a systematic and thorough process of identifying and correcting muscle imbalances. It can become overwhelming to explain and understand.
Now, I assure you once one experiences what MAT is and what it feels like to move the way one could move without restrictions, he or she could translate this for others in a song.
Muscle Activation Techniques could not be called anything else or cannot be mistaken for any other bodywork.
It is not physical therapy, active release (ART), or massage, but it does give you more mobility and function without muscle restrictions.
The aim of my practice is to make your only question about movement be, when I can schedule my next time to run, lift, bike, golf or whatever it is you love to do.
In so many other modalities you will find, muscle testing, range of motion and certainly palpations or touch to assess and address the quality, and state of the muscular system.
In no other modality can a specialist claim the following process and reproduce the results to verify activation of specific muscles.
Through comparing your range of motion or ability to move actively and passively, we determine what motion of the body is most limited. This provides insight to where the body is protecting itself from motion, and entails comparing both sides of your body to identify what your “normal” and controlled motion is at this time.
This is key! The body will only allow motion it can control. This allows me to see how you are making your motion happen-or how you may be compensating.
Remember: Tightness IS secondary to weakness.
For example, a client experiencing knee pain may actually have issues controlling motion above or below the knee. MAT seeks the greatest LIMITATION, or guard in motion that may actually be in the foot, hip or the trunk and spine.
Spoiler: Issues at hinge joints, such as the elbow or the knees are rarely caused by issues at the elbow or knees—these joints are at the mercy of the shoulder, trunk and spine, and hips and feet working optimally.
This makes every client and session very unique to what your body shows me.
Based on the information from the range of motion assessment the MAT Specialist systematically muscle tests all the muscles that, if working, would create that (determined limited) motion.
The muscle test validates neurological integrity and grades the response of your muscle(s). Can the muscle contract and maintain a solid contraction or is it weak, or slow to respond?
For the anatomy and physio minded, this testing is created using the “Law of Reciprocal Inhibition” in reverse. I can go into this at another time.
After the test, a MAT Specialist palpates at the attachment sites to stimulate the muscle.
I like to refer to this as “connecting the dots” for the brain as to where a muscle attaches and aligning it to its role-the result of the muscle contraction=movement of the bones.
This process Cleans up the whole conversation of “who is doing what” like a project a manager for an office. All muscles are held accountable to what they should be doing.
After the palpation, a follow-up muscle test (AMC&S Manual Muscle Test) confirms if the muscle is more engaged. This is also key because, we can check our work, reproduce results, and the client can FEEL how the process of MAT is changing the way his or her body is producing motion.
This is HUGE!
MAT treatments are designed create stability, mobility, and provide the foundation for strength. That being said, you will no doubt feel how MAT is different and perhaps what you have been missing.
For the need to be as specific as to WHAT we do in our practice, MAT has agreed on names for what makes our Techniques.
For the article, I will use the more common words, but these need mention.
Range of Motion is referred to as Comparative Assessment of Mobility (CAM) Muscle Test is referred to as an Active Muscle Contract and Sustain Manual Muscle Test or (AMC&S MMT)
Palpation is referred to as a Digital Force Application to Muscle Attachment Tissues (DFAMAT)
For more information about Muscle Activation Techniques you may visit the following websites; muscleactivation.com or therootofmotion.com