Muscle Activation Techniques™ is a very specific, non-medical process, with an application to the assessment, improvement, and maintenance of a targeted aspect of human motor control- a muscle’s contractile efficiency as a function of; a strict time interval, at various positions along a muscle’s length: tension relationship, at a precise limb/body position, in response to a specific point of application and direction of external force.
Muscle Activation Techniques™ incorporates individual strategies, each of which may be used by any number of licensed medical or non-medical providers; medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, doctors of chiropractic, doctors of physiotherapy, kinesiologists, massage therapists, nurses, trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, ect.
These techniques /strategies are:
1. Comparative Mobility Assessment – The CAM (the Comparative Assessment of Mobility)
2. Active Muscle Contract and Sustain Assessment - The AMC&S
3. Positional Isoangular Contraction (Muscle Activation Techniques) – The PIC
4. Digital Force Application to Muscle Attachment Tissues (Muscle Activation Techniques) – The DFAMAT
The MAT Certified Specialist is trained and certified to perform several force application techniques to the body. When licensed providers, unfamiliar which the MAT paradigm, observe a MAT Specialist performing these techniques , the MAT Specialist may appear to replicate procedures used within a medical diagnostic and treatment scope of practice. For this reason, our definition of each technique is provided, and followed by an observer’s possible interpretation for each:
1. The Comparative Mobility Assessments is a specific force application leading to the measurement of active or passive limb motion from a designated start position/posture, through a designated plane and direction, to the end of the limb on the opposite side of the body. It is not a joint range of motion of examination of PASSIVE tissue stability, joint surface pathology, ligamentous integrity.
2. The Active Muscle Contract and sustain Assessment is a specific force application of a specific magnitude and rate of force application, set up and delivered by the MAT Specialist, which assesses the muscles ability to react to , and meet that force. It is not a break test or a manual muscle test in used as an indication of a body’s response to a chemical substance, nor a change in its energetic field, nor a positional post relaxation technique.
3. The Positional Isoangular Contraction is a specific limb position/orientation and direction of motion generated by the client, into a barrier to that motion, set-up and maintained by the orientation/positions and provide the parries to the motion during the isoangular contraction. It is not Muscle Energy Techniques, strain/counter strain or post isometric relaxation technique.
4. The DFAMAT is a specific force application to the body tissue using the practitioners’ fingers. Direct pressure is applied perpendicular to muscle attachment tissues (tendons, aponeuroses) using the distal phalanges instituting motion creating subtle tension on the attachment tissues, followed with motion lines that are perpendicular (cross hatching( to each other, maintaining the tension for a duration of 1-4 seconds per site, releasing and then reinitiating the process, moving along the width/length of the target muscle attachment. It is neither a soft tissue evaluation, nor a manipulation to release trigger points, and adhesions. MAT is not Active Release Techniques, and it does not move body fluids to and from tissue sites, etc.
The intention of the MAT DFAMAT technique is never to evaluate the state of soft tissues, nor to create a relaxation response for the muscle targeted. The MAT DFAMAT intends to stimulate sensory receptors that in turn may increase motor neuronal pool activation to the muscle associated with the attachment. This represents the opposite effect that most, if not all, massage techniques are attempting to achieve as and outcome of their techniques.
MAT is clarifying and defending its use of these strategies as useful and appropriate for non-licensed health and fitness professionals for the assessment and improvement of muscle contractile capabilities related to exercise and physical performance. Furthermore, the individual MAT strategies (previously noted) when used together in a systematic format, under its definite methodology, based in the interpretation of the information gained from each strategy, and relationships established between that information, are unique to MAT. MAT’s intention is to improve a specific aspect of a muscles contractile capabilities and that aspect’s impact on limb motion and position maintenance as it relates to exercise and physical performance.
In closing, MAT encourages dynamic and collaborative working relationships in order to facilitate the health and wellness of an individual. MAT seeks to demonstrate its efficiency and contribution to individual health, and for all health care, fitness, and education providers to recognize the importance of muscle contractile capability as viewed by the MAT paradigm.
MAT also wants to communicate that despite its narrow scope of practice- focusing on muscle system contractile capabilities – this process and its outcomes should not be minimized nor their potency overlooked or underestimated. MAT is an important process for anyone who recognizes the significance of the muscular system for the maintenance and improvement of overall human health and fitness. MAT believes its strategies are a unique and important contribution to the general field of assessing and improving an individuals’ physical capabilities to engage and sustain physical activity and improve musculoskeletal performance.