FAQ - Muscle Activation Technique
Muscle Activation Techniques®
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes MAT® unique? - While most traditional therapies focus on treating symptoms, MAT focuses on the underlying issues causing muscular discomfort and tightness. It does this by addressing muscle weakness rather than muscle tightness. MAT® views muscle tightness as a form of protection in the body. Weak or inhibited muscles can create the need for other muscles to excessively tighten in order to help stabilize the joints. The goal of MAT® is to identify the inhibited or weak muscles that are creating the protective response and then ‘jumpstart’ these muscles in order to improve ability and restore function.
What causes muscle inhibition or weakness? Factors such as trauma, stress, or overuse can contribute to a muscle becoming inhibited. Something as simple as poor postural habits, such as being seated in front of a computer for many hours daily, can create muscle inhibition and neurological weakness. Your brain responds to this chronic stress by sending a message to essentially "switch off" the overused muscle(s). The opposite muscle (antagonist) then tightens up to compensate and protect the body from moving into a position of weakness or vulnerability. A sudden trauma will also cause a muscle to become inhibited, such as slipping on ice and moving into an extreme range of motion suddenly.
Can MAT help arthritis and the aging Process? coupled with appropriate exercise and nutrition, MAT® can slow down the aging process and improve or maintain your quality of life. Aging is inevitable, decay is not! Besides creating movement, muscles are designed to stabilize and support the joints naturally. Arthritic conditions and joint instability can be helped or prevented when muscles are prepared to function properly. All that is needed is to create proper connections between the brain and the muscles, and MAT provides for this.
What are the symptoms of muscle inhibition and how do I know if I have a ‘weak’ muscle? The first clue is something doesn't feel ‘right’, or isn't working properly. This can manifest as joint pain, muscle tension or instability of a joint. You may also notice you are more fatigued in general, as you are using far more energy moving inefficiently due to the compensatory tightness. Some classic signs are tight hamstrings and lower back, shin splints, achey knees, chronically sore shoulders and upper back, and hyper-extending joints that had not done so previously.
What about strength training and stretching, or even yoga. Can’t these correct inhibited muscles? It depends. If you have muscles that have been inhibited due to prolonged stress or sudden trauma, then moving into a position of vulnerability (meaning a position that contracts the inhibited muscle) will usually result in other muscles taking over the job of the inhibited muscles. This leads to the weak staying weak and the strong getting stronger. People tend to mask their weakness by developing strength in compensatory muscles. Over time, this can be dangerous as these compensatory muscles are being asked to do jobs that they are not ideally suited for. The best course of action is to properly assess which specific muscles are inhibited and then to take a corrective course of action. MAT® is a checks and balances system that will allow you to determine which postures, exercises, and activities involve positions of vulnerability. It will then give you the tools to correct muscle inhibition so that you can move back into these postures, exercises and activities more safely—from a position of strength.
What if I am an athlete, will MAT® help improve my performance and keep me healthy? MAT® is a technique that not only helps athletes to recover from injuries morequickly, it also helps prevent injuries from happening in the first place. MAT® prepares the body to be more efficient in training and athletic performance. In order to reach optimal performance capabilities, an athlete is forced to train at a high level of intensity. Because of this, there is always the potential for injury. Some athletes may be predisposed to an injury, due to muscular imbalances that place increased stress on their joints and tissues. These athletes can be an injury waiting to happen. When they train at a high level, the imbalances are magnified, and the body can no longer handle the stress. It eventually breaks down. It is like driving a car with bad alignment. The faster you drive it, the faster the tires are going to wear out. The goal of MAT® is to correct the problem before an injury occurs.
MAT® not only helps to prevent injuries, but it can also speed up the rehabilitation process. By balancing the muscular system, MAT® provides an improved environment for healing. This allows the athlete to return to participation faster. The end result is improved athletic capabilities.