The MAT® process improves flexibility and joint stability, indirectly reducing muscle and joint pain as muscle balance and good mechanics are restored.
What is MAT® – Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT®)?
MAT® is a powerful bodywork technique and evaluation process that assesses and corrects muscle weakness, restores optimal muscle function, and addresses the cause of pain. One of the foundational tenets of MAT® is that the body tightens up to protect itself when it senses weakness and instability.
One way to think about this concept is to recall how your body reacts to walking on a slippery surface like ice: your muscles tighten and tense up to protect and prevent you from slipping.
MAT® Specialists address tightness due to weakness by identifying and activating the weakly-firing muscles. Muscles must fire – or activate – for us to be able to move. When poorly-firing muscles become activated, they start doing their fair share of the work of moving again, allowing previously tight muscles to relax. MAT® Specialists get your muscles that were “benched” back onto the team and playing well together again. Your joints then start experiencing appropriately-balanced muscular support, letting you function and feel your best.
Who is MAT® for?
MAT® is for anyone who wants to:
• Benefit from improved performance, increased flexibility, and reduced pain
• Prevent pain or discomfort from injuries, loss of flexibility and movement
• Maintain muscular health and function for maximum strength output
The vast majority of people over the age of 6 can potentially benefit from MAT®. MAT® is suitable for people who have been cleared by their doctor for exercise post-surgery.
Muscle Tightness Indicates Muscle Weakness
• Muscle tightness occurs when your body senses instability. Instability can result from neurological muscle weakness, or inhibition (i.e. muscle shut down due to no or inaccurate neurological input) and a lack of proprioception (i.e. your body’s ability to sense position, motion, and equilibrium).
• Muscle inhibition can be likened to the cables on your car battery: if these cables are in poor condition or aren’t well connected, your car won’t work optimally – or even turn on. Similarly, if muscles are inhibited, their ability to communicate with your nervous system is affected, and they may not fire efficiently, on time, or at all.
• Muscle inhibition occurs as a response to overuse, stress, and trauma.
• Muscle inhibition leads to compensation, and affects our patterns of movement. In the short term, compensation can prevent us from hurting ourselves. However, if an initially-protective compensation pattern is not remediated, it becomes ingrained and can lead to more compensation patterns, causing more muscles to become overused and potentially inhibited.
• Therefore, our compensation patterns can leave us more vulnerable to further injury as muscle inhibition creates an imbalance of muscular force across our joints, resulting in uneven wear and tear, inflammation, and eventually pain.
Where is MAT® being used?
MAT® is becoming more widely used in clinical environments by physical therapists and personal trainers to help their patients and clients achieve mobility and strength safely and more quickly in conjunction with traditional forms of rehabilitation and exercise.
Additionally, numerous professional athletes and teams (NFL, NBA, NHL, CFL, PGA, etc.) have adopted MAT® into their training and recovery programs due to the gains seen in improved performance and a reduction in injury and injury recovery times.