Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is an advanced manual therapy technique, which combines passive stretching and isometric contraction (gentle resistance) to break neuromuscular holding patterns and help reset muscle holding patters and overall length.
Every individual’s body is accustomed to some type of repetitive motion whether it be sitting long at a desk, favoring one side to hold a child or swinging a racket or club on a dominant side. These repetitive motions cause muscle imbalances that effect both sides of the body. For example, when sitting at a computer reaching forward to type, your chest muscles contract (tighten) while your back muscles stretch, creating an imbalance that is imprinted in your muscle memory that can restrict your range of motion. When natural range of motion is limited, other muscles tend to pick up the slack and we start to see painful conditions due to over compensation.
PNF for the Athlete
PNF is used to make quick gains in range of motion to help athletes and “tight” individuals relax muscles to improve performance. With proper muscle resting length and greater joint range of motion, biomechanics greatly improve and there is less muscle fatigue. This is where we see a tremendous decrease of injuries.
At Milestones, each client’s needs are assessed and PNF techniques can be integrated into any of the treatments or sessions offered. PNF is particularly helpful for rotational sports such as golf or tennis as the player’s performance relies on the rotational range of motion in the trunk and limbs in order to drive power and precision into the swing. PNF is also often administered during a pre-race and post-race sports massage or during a rehabilitation session.
Miles G. CMT, CPT, FMS
Miles is a Certified Massage Therapist (CMT), Functional Movement Trainer (CPT) and owner of Milestones Movement Therapy in Davis CA. Miles and his team specialize in taking clients from pain to peak performance.