The stretch technique I apply to my clients is referred to MET (Muscle Energy Technique). This stretch technique consists of different ways of muscle manipulation targeting certain body part. Often clients present specific muscle tightness which needs to be lengthened and consequently increasing its range of motion.
For some individuals stretching can have a life-changing effect as they never experienced professional stretching before. Days ago I got a feedback from a female client saying that after stretching she was feeling much more free/mobile and stronger this consequently had a positive impact on her training performance.
MET stretch involves the active participation of the client in stretching and contracting specific muscles to help achieve these therapeutic goals. I start the stretching session with Isometric Muscle Contraction, typically starts with the client contracting a specific muscle group against resistance provided by the therapist. This is done in a controlled manner, and the patient is instructed to hold the contraction for a few seconds (usually 3-5 seconds). The goal of this isometric contraction is to activate the targeted muscles and enhance proprioception (awareness of the body's position in space).
After the isometric contraction, the client relaxes the muscle completely. This phase aims to exploit the relaxation response of the muscle to increase its length and decrease muscle tightness. I may assist in stretching the muscle during this phase, taking advantage of the muscle's reduced resistance.
Another principle underlying MET is reciprocal inhibition. When one muscle group is actively contracted, the opposing muscle group (antagonist) tends to relax. MET uses this principle to facilitate stretching and relaxation of tight muscles by contracting their antagonists.
Throughout the MET session, the client’s feedback is crucial. They need to communicate any discomfort or pain to me, who can adjust the intensity or direction of the stretch accordingly.