MAT vs ART
There are so many techniques out there that claim to “fix” every person’s problems. There is acupuncture, reflexology, massage, and thousands more that most of us have never heard of before. The two techniques that I will be discussing in this article are Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT) and Active Release Techniques (ART). Both are very powerful tools to help people in their pursuit of health and wellness and pain relief.
The focus of both techniques is to restore Range of Motion (ROM) to the client and or patient. There is a high priority placed on ROM, because the lack of ROM is an “indicator” of decreased joint health. This decrease in ROM often has a snowball effect to cause other joints to lose their ROM and increase in a feeling of “tightness.” Once this snowball gets rolling, it can and does have devastating effects in one’s quality of life by decreasing their ability to participate in sports, hobbies, and activities of daily living.
ART tries to restore motion by looking to alter the physiological state of a muscle. That is, if I am lying on my back, and I try to lift my leg off the ground as high as I can, and feel that my leg is not being allowed higher because of the glutes and hamstrings. This can happen because the glutes and hamstrings have become so tight, that the actual make-up of the muscle has been altered into scar tissue, and it is this scar tissue that ART is trying to “break up” to help restore motion. This is done by a muscle specific “stretch” accompanied by the therapist applying a counter tension into the target muscle with his/her hands to further lengthen the muscle impeding the motion.
MAT believes that lack of ROM is due to muscles inability to shorten into a motion. So, if we take the same example of not being able to lift the leg off the ground, then the MAT specialist would assess to see if there are weaknesses in the muscles’ ability to perform that motion. This is done by using specific muscle testing to see if a muscle is “working” efficiently or not. The MAT specialist would then perform a manipulation to the muscle attachment sites. After restoring the muscles’ ability to work more efficiently, another assessment would be done to see if the ROM was improved.
These are both very simplified versions of two very powerful and complicated techniques. Many of our members have seen dramatic changes in their lives by utilizing one or both of these techniques. That’s the great thing about these tools; they go together quiet well. Many of our clients will see our Chiropractor to get ART done, and then they will see one of our MAT specialists to further help improve their ROM.
I hope this helps clear up the muddy water on how to best utilize two of the many health and wellness tools that we have to help our members look better, feel better, and perform better!
Lead Ortho-Kinetics® Trainer