The Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) method of muscle lengthening and fascial release is a type of Athletic Stretching Technique that provides effective, dynamic, facilitated stretching of major muscle groups, but more importantly, AIS provides functional and physiological restoration of superficial and deep fascial planes.
Over the past few decades many experts have advocated that stretching should last up to 60 seconds. For years, this prolonged static stretching technique was the gold standard. However, prolonged static stretching actually decreases the blood flow within the tissue creating localized ischemia and lactic acid buildup. This can potentially cause irritation or injury of local muscular, tendinous, lymphatic, as well as neural tissues, similar to the effects and consequences of trauma and overuse syndromes.
Whether you are an elite athlete, a patient in rehab for an injury, a weekend warrior, or a stay at home mom, Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) will enhance all aspects of movement no matter what activity you choose to participate in.
Performing an Active Isolated Stretch of no longer than two seconds allows the target muscles to optimally lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex and subsequent reciprocal antagonistic muscle contraction as the isolated muscle achieves a state of relaxation. These stretches provide maximum benefit and can be accomplished without opposing tension or resulting trauma.
Another benefit of activated isolated stretching therapy is that it offers relief from the muscular pain. The touch aids in providing recreation to the muscles. The touch of the humanoid helps in enlightening the blood flow over the muscles. The enhanced blood flow results in providing full nutrition toward the body tissues.
How Does Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) Work
There are three main principles of AIS that will help you understand this method of flexibility.
First, active isolated stretching uses your body’s own laws to facilitate the results I am speaking of. The stretches are held for only 1.5-2 seconds, and are completed in repetitions.
The reason for this is that when a stretch is held for longer than two seconds, a protective mechanism called “myotatic stretch reflex” is triggered. This reflex happens in your body under many normal circumstances. However in elite performance, injury rehabilitation or the desire to instill lasting changes in the body, this reflex is undesirable.
The aforementioned is true because when the myotatic stretch reflex is initiated (by holding stretches for more than approx. 2.5-3 seconds), the muscle being stretched will begin to contract, creating what is known as an eccentric contraction – something we do not want to happen.
Allowing the myotatic stretch reflex to occur while stretching causes oxygen to be depleted from the tissue being stretched. Reduction of oxygen is the opposite of what you want to happen in a rehabilitation or performance situation.
Secondly, the stretches performed in this technique are “active”– meaning the person being stretched actually helps move their own body part with their own muscles, before any assistance with a rope (if done alone) or a therapist (if treated by therapist) is initiated.
This active movement causes “reciprocal inhibition” (Sherrington’s law). Simply put, when a muscle contracts, another muscle called the “antagonist” (the opposite) muscle is shut off.
The perfect environment to stretch a muscle is when it is relaxed. Active Isolated Stretching achieves this concept with every stretch.
Breathing in this manner will allow the maximum amount of oxygen to be delivered to the region being treated. This is the optimal result desired, whether it is for athletic performance, rehabilitation, or just preparing yourself for your day.
There are many reasons to be, or become flexible. Your daily activities will be enhanced by having a more supple, movable body. Personally, I find it to be the most critical aspect of well-being. If you cannot move well, all activities, fitness endeavors, strength training, and general health can be compromised.Additionally, the benefits of AIS can result in an enhanced immune system, as well as improved feeling of well-being because of increased flexibility.