Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is a form of manual therapy which uses a muscle’s own energy in the form of gentle isometric (static) contractions to relax and lengthen the muscles. It involves you performing small muscular contractions (usually for about 5 seconds) and then relaxing which helps assist with the lengthening of the muscles. This is usually performed several times. The theory is that when one muscle group on one side of a joint contracts the opposite muscle group will relax (reciprocal inhibition you may have heard me use this term). If the muscles around a joint are restricted the joint function will decrease which will make it more susceptible to injury or strain. Autogenic Inhibition also comes into play but it’s all pretty complicated so don’t worry about this (as I said earlier you can always google it if you want to know more). METs can be used on most parts of the body. Some areas we can manage yourself, as I have demonstrated in class but others will need another person, preferably your osteopath, physio or sports therapist for the more complicated ones.
Compared to static stretching where you just hold a stretch. MET is an active technique. You can perform it on yourself as you will have witnessed in class.
There are several benefits of this form of stretching:
It can restore muscle tone
Strengthen weak muscles
Improve weak muscles
Increase range of movement.