PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation and is a complex and highly effect physical therapy technique. It’s a method of using isometric contractions prior to the stretch to acheive a greater result and is generally done passively or with the help of a partner. Facilitated stretching can dramatically increase muscle flexibility quickly primarily because of the use of several built-in neurological mechanisms to optimize the muscles own lengthening ability.
Facilitated stretches have almost no risk because there is no passive movement involved. There are safety procedures that do need to be observed for the stretcher and partner to remain safe. By using correct posture and paying attention to your body mechanisms will eliminate the possibility of injury.
· Use a wide stance to maintain balance and stability
· Keep spine lengthened
· Keep your lower back area flattened to reduce pressure on your lumbar spine and decrease lower back pain
· Avoid unnecessary twisting or bending
· STOP immediately if either person has pain.
How to do PNF stretching
1. Stretcher actively lengthens the muscle to be stretched to it’s maximum pain-free end range
2. Position yourself to offer resistance for the stretcher to isometrically contract the muscle.
3. Direct the stretcher to begin slowly pushing or pulling the isometrically contracted muscle as you provide resistance
4. The stretcher relaxes the contracted muscle and inhales deeply as the limb is in the starting position
5. On exhale the stretcher contracts the antagonist muscle (opposite) which pulls the target muscle into a deeper stretch.
THESE STRETCHES SHOULD ALWAYS BE PAIN FREE!!