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Active Isolated Stretching

Updated: May 4, 2023


Active isolated stretching neck pain

Active isolated stretching is an assisted stretching technique, which allows for a deeper stretch, whilst decreasing the discomfort that can often accompany prolonged passive stretching. By temporarily contracting the opposite muscle, it allows the muscle you are stretching to relax, resulting in a more effective and comfortable stretch. It is only held for a few seconds to avoid your stretch reflex kicking in. The stretch reflex (or myotatic reflex), causes the muscle to guard against being overstretched by contracting. This is a normal response to prevent over stretching or injury to a muscle but is why passive prolonged stretching can become counterproductive.

Active isolated stretching leg ankle foot toe pain

So how is it done? A manual therapist targets and isolates a particular muscle and asks you to contract the opposing muscle against their resistance for a few seconds, before assisting a stretch passively.

Rehab stretching knee hip low back pain

How is it more effective than stretching at home and how can it be incorporated in to a massage session? Assisted stretching and soft tissue work, such as massage and trigger point therapy, assists in the repair of muscle tissue by increasing blood supply and preventing the formation of scar tissue or contractures, which in turn can shorten and weaken a muscle. It is beneficial to those wanting to increase their performance, or have injuries that require targeted treatment and rehabilitation, to heal effectively. It can also form a part of your regular training regime to optimise muscle function and recovery. Get in touch with us for more information on assisted stretching here at the clinic, which can be run in conjunction with massage or form part of more targeted rehabilitation.


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