To the extent that an injury is caused by poor flexibility, AIS will accelerate recovery and resolve the problem.
This is an aspect of AIS that sets it apart from other stretching techniques. Seventy percent of the AIS routine one can be done by an individual in a maintenance capacity. To receive the full benefits of AIS and attain the maximum range of motion it is essential to work with an experienced practitioner. However, it is possible to maintain flexibility on your own by practicing AIS on a daily basis.
During a session of Active Isolated Stretching, you are actively participating. By contracting the opposite muscle to the target muscle that is to be stretched, the target muscle is relaxed, making it easier to stretch.
Active Isolated stretches are only held past the end range, or barrier, for no longer than 2 seconds so as to prevent the stretch reflex from activating. The stretch reflex is there to prevent tissues from being over-stretched.
The more you innervate and activate the contracting muscle the more inhibited and relaxed the tissues of the stretched muscle will be.
Most static stretches that are held for longer then 5 seconds actually reduce blood supply to the target muscles causing them to fatigue from lack of oxygen.
All therapists here at Stretching Canada are trained manual therapists and have an extensive knowledge of the human anatomy and physiology. Therefore, they understand that when they meet a tight or resisting joint, they can quickly assess the affects it will have on your bio-mechanics.
Our therapists are stretching facilitators. Since this is an active form of stretching, they guide you through complex protocols that are designed to peel off the layers of connective tissue, always stretching from superficial tissues to the deepest layers.
Being stretched by a qualified therapist enables you to go further than your natural barrier and obtain, with practice, full range of motion, therefore full mobility.
Whatever progress you make, we would always encourage you to stretch at home using the methods and tools that we provide for you. This is a very safe stretching modality that you can practice on your own, on the plane, at home or at the office.
However, to maintain your newly regained full mobility, it takes some discipline. We understand that your busy life make it sometimes difficult for you to do your stretching exercises on your own. But we are here to help you do them and do them correctly. So you reap the benefits!
In Canada and the USA, Active Isolated Stretching is taught to physiotherapists who incorporate it in to their programs. AIS is not Physio-therapy as per a “medical model” but it is most definitely a physical therapy.
Active Isolated Stretching complements Yoga and Pilates in many ways. Many of our clients are practicing 2 or 3 of these fitness disciplines as they all improve their mobility and general well-being.
Traditionally Yoga focuses on connecting Mind, Body and Spirit and Pilates is traditionally used to focus on strengthening and stabilizing the abdominal and pelvic core.
We at Stretching Canada identify resistance right down to the deepest fascial planes at the joints where flexibility is determined. We lower this resistance so you can freely practice Yoga and Pilates with little risk of injury.
Active Isolated Stretching will help you go further in your practice of Yoga and will allow you to do certain postures, without lower risk of injury. If your muscles are tight, you will feel and see your physical limitations in your practice of Yoga. As you grow older, your body looses flexibility and is more prone to injury. Combine Yoga and regular AIS, and enjoy a free, flexible and fully mobile body.
Yoga is a form of static stretching that is controlled by your breathing. Your instructors will encourage you not to force the stretch, since you’re at your end range of motion. By gently breathing through the stretch, you are reducing the activity of the stretch reflex. Never force the stretch, as there is always a potential to micro-tear muscle and connective tissue, which will create scarring and hinder your flexibility.
Unlike most other stretching modalities being used in the sports and fitness world, the Active Isolated Stretching method of switching on a muscle in order to switch off the target muscle does not hurt. The term “light irritation” best describes the sensation.
If there is acute or sharp pain, we then assume there is underlying pathology and will investigate further. One of the main comments from clients is that they are surprised as to how gentle this stretching method is. We look at this as a method to gradually unwind and open sticky and adhesive muscle and connective tissue.
By being as pro-active as you can. Learn as much about your physical body as you can, AIS therapists are more than happy to make you understand your postural issues.
Understanding the cause of your pain or dysfunctions can really help you to prevent them happening in the future.
From the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to bed we are in a contracted state. In other word, we are shortening and tightening our frames. Then you have the weight of gravity to contend with. This pushes down on you constantly at 1kg per square cm!
Our 80+ year-old clients come and see us once or twice a week to improve their flexibility and maintain their mobility. Our golfing clients come every week as they found that AIS increase their game.
It really depends on the individual as to how often they should stretch. Once they know how to stretch, we encourage people to stretch every day if they can. If you were a professional athlete you would be stretching daily.
All our clients are given stretching homework. We have AIS books for sale and stretching ropes and posters to encourage you to stretch at home.
Prevention of carpal tunnel involves specific stretching for the neck, anterior shoulder and chest muscles as well as the radio-ulnar, wrist and finger muscles. AIS has been used by thousands of secretaries, computer personnel and people who do repetitive movements. During the past 35 years thousands have been relieved from Carpal Tunnel symptoms without surgery by employing specific AIS stretching and strengthening programs.
Most low back problems stem from a couple of different areas. One area that contributes to low back problems are weak abdominal muscles. Many people with low back problems have significantly under developed abdominal muscles and low back muscles. Tight hamstrings and external hip rotators are associated with issues of the lumbar region.
Stretching is a very important part of golf - not only to prevent injuries but also to improve the power exerted in golf. Golf is a power sport, which means the greater the amount of strength or power you can exert with the golf club to the ball, the greater the velocity the ball will travel and therefore the farther you can hit the ball. Power equals the amount of strength you can exert over a great range of motion divided by time. What this means is if you can take the strength you already have and use it through a greater range of motion, this will allow you to achieve a greater power potential. Most golfers, who are known as "long ball hitters", are able to achieve greater motion on their back swing and range of motion in the hips on the torso region to achieve greater power on the active swing motion. Flexibility is therefore an integral part of golf. Increasing your flexibility will also improve muscle capacity on the deceleration phase of the swing as well. If the muscles are more flexible in the shoulders, arms and torso deceleration during the swing phase will cause less stress on the shoulder joint decreasing chance of injury.
Running and walking are very strenuous activities on the body. The exercise affects almost every aspect of the muscular skeletal system from the feet to the neck. Using Active Isolated Stretching you will actually warm the muscles, joints and fascia of the body preparing it for running or walking. Proper preparation for your activity will not only help to decrease the chance for injury, but also to slow the process of fatigue. The more flexible the body is the more efficient it can be. If the body is properly warmed up, the body's cardiovascular system is able to better oxygenate the muscles decreasing the rate fatigue or lactic acid will set in. Stretching will also help to remove or decrease fatigue after running or walking by pumping the lactic acid from the muscles thus removing the toxic material from the muscles that cause them to be sore and tight.
Scoliosis has frequently been treated successfully with specific AIS exercises to stretch muscles of the trunk, neck, hips and pelvis. Stretching alone will not change the curvature and stabilize the structure. Specific isolated strength exercises for the back, hip, neck and abdominal regions are an important part of the treatment plan.
Ice the affected area frequently, use a pressure wrap and begin gentle AIS stretching and mild, specific strengthening exercises for each fundamental movement of the ankle and specific foot exercises. As range increases and strength improves, use a towel, stocking with resistive weights to restore joint strength and help prevent ankle sprains, shin splints and other foot problems.
Traditionally the calves are stretched from the standing position by leaning against a supportive wall. The problem with this position is that when leaning forward the calf muscle is performing a lengthening contraction to stabilize both the ankle and knee joints and is no longer a relaxed muscle. The best stretching position for a relaxed calf is performed in a sitting position. Place a rope or strap around the ball of the foot. Keep the knee straight. With the muscles on the top of the foreleg, reach the foot backwards towards the knee and assist with a rope.
Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening was developed by Aaron L. Mattes of Sarasota Florida and has been developed through thousands of hours of teaching, research and clinical application. It is taught as part of massage and manual therapy school curriculums internationally as a modality for prevention and rehabilitation.
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a widely used method of stretching used by Doctors, therapists and athletes to increase the body’s potential to heal and increase performance.