Flexibility as a physical ability is a decisive quality that enhances and optimizes the learning and performance in the sports movement. It is the quality that allows human beings to mobilize the body segments reaching large ranges of motion (ROM).
Flexibility training (maximum request) can be done through three basic techniques of stretching: static, dynamic, and stretching with pre-contraction. The latter group, implies a previous contraction to the muscle stretch, being the most common technique the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF), which has shown its effectiveness in improving the range of both active and passive motion in different joints within sport.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation: flexibility with electro-stimulation
It is a method that is intended to promote or accelerate the response of the neuromuscular mechanism through the stimulation of the proprioceptors. It takes advantage of natural reflexes (weld inhibition reflex) to achieve inhibit muscle contraction and thus achieve greater ROM.
The effectiveness of the PNF is based on the use of patterns of mass movement known as diagonal-spirals and on some specific techniques that sequence the muscle performance during movement patterns.
Muscles are gradually becoming more rigid, lose elasticity, and they can be even stronger, but shorter. This determines a lack of functionality that affects us negatively both physically and mentally.
Why working flexibility with stretching?
To prevent that this process might cause us trouble on our musculoskeletal system, we will work flexibility with electro-stimulation through the practice of stretching. The stretches are a widely used preventive and therapeutic technique and multitude of authors have also written about it.
On the other hand, there are many authors who have used electrical stimulation in the sport in order to achieve different objectives: improve the strength and muscular endurance, increase muscle mass, speed up recovery after exertion; prevent and improve rehabilitation from injuries.
Therefore, electro-stimulation, as a fundamental mean for muscle strengthening, has been widely studied and, in fact, in recent decades its use has spread to the improvement of the physical condition in healthy subjects and athletes in order to obtain improvements in athletic performance.
Stretching with electrostimulation. Everything is possible!
Stretch with electro-stimulation technique has been adapted according to the indications of Maya (2001). The steps are as followed: the muscle is stretched until it appears a feeling of elastic top. Then the amplitude of the electric current is increased until there is contraction and the subject no longer notice the sensation of stretching. After this, the muscle is stretched back to a new sense of tension. The cycle is repeated a total of three times. Finally, slowly lowers the intensity of current and the leg (as an example) returns to the rest position.
To make the muscle stretching through electrical current (TENS), only alternating currents whose current value is equal to zero are chosen. This type of current has a soft effect and not burns the skin, which prevents the increase of the nociceptive inputs after treatment.
The recommended parameters for flexibility with electro-stimulation, according to literature and scientific articles, has been regulated for the application of symmetrical biphasic rectangular impetus with a phase of 0.3 msec. duration and a frequency of 40 Hz.
Since the placement of the electrodes must be oriented to get the best muscular response, it is recommended to use i-motion technology, being able to lead the same parameters and absolute management of their electrodes, placing them isolated or position them at our discretion through the biojacket in order to achieve the best efficiency of our treatment. I-motion delivers a high-end software to be used from a computer to a tablet or notebook to offer the therapies where the physiotherapist wants, making it the main protagonist in the full management of the parameters of the electro-stimulation. With a professional electric muscle stimulator from imotion-ems.com you will have everything under control, offering your patient a comfortable feeling during training.
Any placement will cause motor response, but we lose a few minutes the first day to get the best response. To this end, it is ideal to find mixed stimulation in which an electrode is placed next to the nerve which governs the muscle group (not always possible) and then disperse channels towards the motor points of the muscle.
- Maya, J. (2001). "Potenciación y Elongación eléctrica". IX Jornadas Nacionales de Fisioterapia en el Deporte.
- Gutiérrez, M.; Novoa, B.; Pérez, M.R.; Lantarón, E.M. & González, A. (2003). "Propuesta de clasificación de las técnicas de estiramiento en fisioterapia". Revista Fisioterapia (25); 199208.
- Sahin, N., Ugurlu, H. & Albayrak, i. 2012. The efficacy of electrical stimulation in Reducing the post-stroke spasticity: a randomized controlled study. Disabil Rehabil, 34, 151-6.
- Osawa, Y. & Oguma, Y. 2013. Effects of vibration on flexibility: a meta-analysis. J Musculoskelet neuronal interact, 13, 442-53.