Massage & Bodywork

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2019

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4. This is repeated for a total of 3–4 repetitions, with each successive repetition beginning from the position where the previous repetition finished. 5. Breathing protocol can vary, but the most important breathing guideline is that the client breathes out when the stretch force is added in each repetition. Agonist Contract (AC) Technique. When the reciprocal inhibition (RI) reflex is used, the technique protocol is known as agonist contract (AC) stretching. It is sometimes called antagonist contract stretching instead (still abbreviated as AC). And, it is often referred to as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching. Note: Because the term PNF can be applied to both CR and AC stretching techniques, confusion can occur. For this reason, I prefer to avoid using the term PNF and instead use the simpler terms CR and AC stretching techniques. AC stretching is classically performed with the following steps. Note: One repetition of these steps is shown for the right-side piriformis with the client supine, and the therapist pushing the thigh into horizontal adduction at the hip joint (Images 11A–11C). 1. From a neutral starting position (Image 11A), the client actively moves into the position of stretch by concentrically contracting horizontal adduction musculature (musculature that is antagonistic to the piriformis, hence the name antagonist contract) (Image 11B). The concentric contraction of horizontal adduction musculature (agonist musculature of the movement, hence the name agonist contract) engages the RI reflex, thereby inhibiting the piriformis (because it is a horizontal abductor). 2. The client relaxes, and the therapist further stretches the client into horizontal adduction (Image 11C). Contract relax (CR) stretching technique for the right-side piriformis (supine position, pushing the thigh into horizontal adduction). Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino. Agonist contract (AC) stretching technique for the right-side piriformis (supine position, pushing the thigh into horizontal adduction). Permission Dr. Joe Muscolino. 10A 11A 10B 11B 10C 11C Ta k e 5 a n d t r y t h e A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 75

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