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Proprioceptive Neuromuscular

Facilitation (PNF)

This therapy can be included into any treatment sessions

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is an advanced form of flexibility training that involves both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching was originally developed as a form of rehabilitation, and to that effect it is very effective. 

This physical therapy treatment approach utilizes functionally based movement patterns with techniques of neuromuscular facilitation.

 Two concepts of PNF Stretching

1.Hold-Relax Stretch

This type of PNF stretch is based on the concept of autogenic inhibition. When stretching what happens is the stretch feels good until you get to a certain point (feels like an elastic band about to snap right) This is the bodies self defense mechanisms to protect itself from injury (myotatic reflex). If we take the muscle to its end range, then activating the muscle (putting the muscle under load activates the receptors in the muscle), a brief period of relaxation occurs when we release the activation (autogenic inhibition).  The PNF stretch utilises this autogenic inhibition response to stretch the muscle further tricking the nervous system.  A new “end range” is found and this is repeated 3 times to allow for a more significant stretch each time.

2. Contract-Relax, Antagonist-Contract Stretch

Your body is wired so that two muscles cannot shorten at the same time—otherwise they would fight against each other, and you wouldn't be able to move. So, when you actively contract a muscle, your nervous system automatically sends a signal to the opposing muscle (or antagonist) that it needs to relax so your joint can move (reciprocal inhibition).


This variation of PNF takes advantage of reciprocal inhibition. It resembles the Hold-Relax Stretch form but involves a forceful contraction of the opposing muscle of the one that you're stretching to move deeper into the stretch.

Benefits of use:

  • preventative measure to guard against future muscle and joint injury.

  • improves limited range of motion

  • Improves flexibility and muscle strength 

  • Aids pain relief anywhere in the body eg; back, neck and shoulder pain

  • Improvement when unsymmetrical in legs, hips or arms (for example when one is longer or higher then the other) 

  • Helps rehabilitation in the treatment of chronic muscle pain, stiffness or injury.

I will offer to print up a stretch routine if I feel you will benefit. 

I have a variety of simple stretches (which may or may not include PNF),

 that aid in recovery or prevention. 

Not every one is into it,

but stretches can help to ease muscular tension that can restrict movement

so stretching is an additional option for those that like to help themselves further.

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