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Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) Technique Certification

Approved for 8 Online Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU's) for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists

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Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.



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Introduction
History
Summary

Active isolated stretching (AIS) is a stretching technique that employs the neurologic reflex known as reciprocal inhibition (Box 1-1),1 as well as a specific protocol for how each of the 200+ stretches is done. It is a powerful treatment tool that can be applied to suit everyone, whether the individual is young or old, male or female, and athletic, active, or sedentary.2,3 The primary focus of AIS is on increasing the flexibility of the body by stretching taut and/or contracted soft tissues.1,4,5 Because it also involves active movements by the client, it has the added benefit of increasing the client’s strength and stability.4,6 AIS can be done by the client as self-care or with the assistance of a therapist.1,7

AIS was developed by Aaron L. Mattes, both as a result of his professional relationship working with college athletes and his personal experience of having suffered a severe low back injury. Mattes began developing the AIS technique in 1972, when he was a clinical supervisor and coach in the sports department at the University of Illinois at the Champaign-Urbana campus. Working from the assumption that flexible athletes would experience fewer injuries and perform better, Mattes began to investigate how to develop a more effective stretching regimen. Given his background in athletics, it was natural for his stretching technique to incorporate a more active and dynamic approach. Because his experience showed that longer-duration stretches tended to irritate his muscles, he leaned toward a shorter duration of holding each stretch. Mattes integrated his new techniques into the university’s training program, which yielded positive results. He expanded his approach, introducing it to other universities as well as high school sports programs in the area, and thus the phenomenon of AIS was born.

In 1976, Mattes transferred to the University of Toledo, where he was able to create a large clinical program and a sports training center. He continued to develop new stretches for athletes and found excellent results working with all athletes, including those who had recently experienced injuries and those recovering from severe injuries and surgery. Mattes has described this period as a “golden era” because he had the support of the entire sports 2department at the University of Toledo. All the coaches promoted his stretching technique, and from 1976 to 1979 there were no athletic surgeries at the school.

Mattes’s own back injury, which eventually required surgery, was only a further impetus for him to research and develop his technique. He increased his own studies, including cadaver laboratory research, in his quest to improve and perfect his technique.8

Now, over 40 years after its inception, the Mattes Method of AIS has gained worldwide recognition and acceptance as a premier approach to stretching for relief of physical conditions, as an adjunct to rehabilitation, as well as for performance enhancement.

AIS has proven to be beneficial for most everyone, from the average person who, because of a sedentary lifestyle, has become less flexible, to professional and Olympic athletes. The technique has also proven helpful for people experiencing the effects of more devastating pathologic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and even incomplete spinal cord lesions.

AIS is an advanced method of active stretching developed by Aaron L. Mattes that makes use of the neurologic reflex of reciprocal inhibition and provides a specific protocol for carrying out the stretching. The stretching may be either assisted by a therapist or unassisted (self-stretching). Mattes has developed over 200 specific stretches that address all of the major muscles and muscle groups of the body. Compared with classic static stretching, AIS is significantly more effective in stretching and warming the targeted tissues. It also improves the neural connections between the central nervous system and the musculature, strengthens the muscles, and increases joint mobility, thereby increasing joint lubrication and nutrient delivery to the intraarticular structures of the joint. In short, AIS is an extremely effective technique that can easily be added to one’s massage therapy practice.

See this technique in practice

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Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.



Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience.