Muscle Activation Techniques® (MAT) is a revolutionary new technique. When I try to tell people or demonstrate on their body what MAT is about, I regularly get a blank stare. Even the developer and owner of MAT, Greg Roskopf, asked the rhetorical question in a recent lecture, “How many of you can describe MAT in 30 seconds or less?” A laughter of understanding reverberated around the room because it is not possible to describe MAT in 30 seconds let alone in one article. My response to the question is: “How do you describe a unicorn to someone who has never seen a horse?”
I asked several of my patients how I should describe MAT, they responded: “You have to experience it.”
“I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered self-appropriated learning. Truth that has been personally assimilated in experience cannot be directly communicated to another.” Carl Rogers, psychologist
The driving force behind MAT is the fact that as we accumulate stresses on our body from injuries and time, the muscular system becomes less efficient in its contractile abilities. In other words, muscle tissue can lose its ability to contract. This loss of muscle tissue contraction is beyond our ability to prevent. The aches and pains and decreased physical ability associated with age most likely correlates with this diminished muscle activity.
Since you are unable to experience Muscle Activation Techniques® via an article, the best I can offer are some real life examples with which you may be able to relate.
- You reach your 30’s or 40’s and the knee, shoulder, or back pain you have had off and on for years is not going away anymore. Your brain coordinated compensatory movement patterns for years, allowing you to continue life with minimal issues. Meanwhile, during those years, muscle tissue continued to lose its ability to do its job. Your brain can now no longer devise a painless compensatory movement pattern because you don’t have enough muscle tissue working. You would benefit from Muscle Activation Techniques®.
- You were involved in a car accident and had a whiplash injury. Six, eight, or twelve months later you wonder why you still have neck pain. With any injury—big or small—muscle tissue will lose its ability to contract and it does not always spontaneously “turn back on.” You would benefit from Muscle Activation Techniques®.
- You have a tendonitis that is not improving despite multiple therapeutic interventions. Decreased muscle function in one area of the body can result in overused tissue and a tendonitis in another area of the body. The painful area usually represents the tissue that is working; in fact, it is inflamed because it is overworking. You would benefit Muscle Activation Techniques®
- A student or professional athlete feels they have lost their competitive edge. They would benefit from Muscle Activation Techniques®.
- Even though you exercise on a regular basis, you feel you have lost strength, flexibility, and overall function for no apparent reason. You would benefit from Muscle Activation Techniques®.
- You have had pain in a specific part of your body for years and the only area that was ever been treated was the painful area and you have never had more than temporary relief. You would benefit from Muscle Activation Techniques®. A real life example of this is: I had a patient who struggled with neck pain for over ten years. She had received a multitude of therapeutic interventions over the years. The focus of treatment was always on her neck. MAT helped me identify and correct a muscle dysfunction in the foot as being the root cause of her chronic neck pain.
- Muscle dysfunction can remain for years. I had surgery on my shoulder in my 20’s and I was unable to sleep on that shoulder, due to pain, for over twenty years. Muscle Activation Techniques® completely resolved this issue.
Human movement and exercise are fundamental to human health and a muscle’s health (demonstrated by its ability to contract efficiently) is essential for normal movement. Any loss of muscle contractile efficiency may be demonstrated as a loss of motion and decreased physical performance. Muscle Activation Techniques® is a specific and unique process for evaluating an individual’s ability to develop efficient muscle contraction. MAT is referred to as a “process” because there are hundreds of muscles and joints to be evaluated in order to uncover the muscle issues that could be contributing to the loss of physical performance and subjective complaints of pain or dysfunction. MAT treatments do not force change on the body but works with it to make improvements, strategically negotiating changes in motion and muscle contraction.
Muscle Activation Techniques® focuses on muscular contractile capabilities. This process and its outcomes should not be minimized nor its potency overlooked or underestimated. MAT is an essential process for everyone due to the significance of the muscular system for the maintenance and improvement of overall human health and fitness.
Muscle Activation Techniques® is best understood by experience. You can call Sharon Hollis, MPT, CHT, MATs (Muscle Activation Techniques, Specialist) at JointWorx Physical Therapy for a free injury screen to see how MAT, in conjunction with Physical Therapy, might help you or someone you know. For more information, visit MAT’s website at www.muscleactivation.com