Muscle energy techniques MET are a form of assisted stretching done by a trained physiotherapist; it has many advantages over normal stretching. Muscles can become chronically shortened due to many factors, such as overtraining, poor posture, sitting for long hours, and overall muscle weakness. If the shortening is chronic, regaining flexibility on your own can be a challenging task. You should note that inflexibility contributes to many injuries in the sports field, as well as musculoskeletal pain with normal everyday activities.
Muscles become tight as a protective mechanism, when an unexpected increase in muscle length occurs, certain receptors in the muscle belly called muscle spindles are activated, causing the muscle to contract and prevent further lengthening. If the muscle is shortened for a long time (due to sitting for example), it can easily register any increase in length as harmful, and therefore tightness exists. So how do we as physiotherapists treat that? One of the ways is to utilize the concept of muscle energy techniques MET.
First, we perform muscle length (MLT) and range of motion (ROM) assessments as they are a crucial part of the basic physiotherapy checkup and can easily detect shortened muscles. Then, we compare findings to normal values, if tightness is detected, we begin performing MET by taking the muscle gently to where to the resistance is encountered, we then ask the patient to move the limb in the opposite direction against our resistance and maintain this for 10-15 seconds, as soon as the patient relaxes after this contraction, the muscle can be stretched further to a new range. This process is repeated many times, and slowly but surely, the tightness is overcome.
MET recognizes that inflexibility has a neural element and not only structural. One of the MET techniques works by activating or deactivating certain receptors in the muscle that control length, through a series of controlled resisted contractions, followed by a stretch that is done by a trained physiotherapist.
If you have chronic muscle tightness, or you are an athlete who trains regularly, it is important to have your muscle length and flexibility evaluated and restored or maintained.
Reach out to us at OHC and we can help. Call 04 348 7366 or email email@example.com.