Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is an advanced massage technique. The primary purpose of this technique is to recover the patients with injuries, trauma, and other such musculoskeletal issues.

In Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, the combination of passive stretching and isometric contraction is used. This contraction and relaxation of muscles are carried out in a specified and rhythmic pattern.

The stretching of the body and improved breathing in this type of massage collectively help you relax your body and mind. Simultaneously, it improves the communication between your brain and the rest of the body resulting in better functioning of the body.

Initially, this massage technique relates to the Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation technique, which was used to cure neurological problems and abnormalities. However, later on, modern researches and studies revealed that this technique could also help in the recovery of lost muscle functioning and other muscular as well as orthopedic issues.

Before going into further detail, we must know what the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation technique is.

What is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)?

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is an advanced technique used by massage therapists by using a combination of passive stretching and isometric contractions in breaking nueromuscular holdings. Most importantly, muscular problems like muscles’ inability to work and reduced movement range of muscles are targeted while using this technique.

PNF is beneficial in the enhancement of the ROM (range of motion) of the defective muscles. Thus, it helps in regaining the lost functioning and ability of muscular ability of movement.

In general with PNF, the therapist will start by manually stretching a muscle group of a patient for about 10 seconds. Then, the therapist will ask the patient to work on his muscle activation by using gentle resistance or isometric contraction. For example, the patient will be asked in pressing against the therapist’s hands for about 6 seconds, followed by relaxation. And, the last step, the therapist will be stretching back the muscles passing the starting range of motion.

Benefits of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Massage:

In every massage therapy session, a thorough analysis is first done to identify the real cause of pain. This phase will also help your massage therapist to better understand your condition and the ideal techniques to be applied. It is essential to inform your massage therapist about your medical condition like pregnancy.

1. Enhanced range of motion: The first and foremost benefit provided by proprioceptive neuromuscular massage is enhancing the range of motion. It enhances both the active and passive range of motions.

2. Enhanced neuromuscular control: This massage technique will help you gain enhanced and better neuromuscular control. Thus, it helps in regaining and recovering the working capabilities of the muscles of the whole body.

3. Better muscle strength: The isometric stretching of muscles imparts several positive impacts on your muscles’ health. The weakness caused by the muscles’ inactivity vanishes, and the muscles’ working and strength are recovered.

4. Better nervous control and coordination: Proprioceptive neuromuscular massage causes improvements in nerves’ communication throughout the human body. Better performance of the nervous system will improve the control of the brain over the body.

In other words, PNF massage helps significantly in the improvement of the coordination (Brain+ spinal cord) system of the human body.

5. Stability of joints: When the human body’s muscles are not working well, the chances of joint abnormalities and diseases are enhanced. Proprioceptive neuromuscular massage causes improvements in muscle functioning. Better muscle performance reduces the chances of joint abnormalities.

6. Recovery from injuries: If you have any injury or trauma resulting from strenuous exercises, the muscle working is affected, and the range of motion is also reduced. In this case, you can take help from this massage technique. It will help you overcome the effects of that injury or trauma.

7. Suitable for people of every age: There is no need to worry about the age factor. People of almost all ages can go through this technique without having any difficulty or side effects.

8. Increased muscle length: In addition to all benefits mentioned above, the Proprioceptive neuromuscular massage helps increase the length of muscles. The increased length of muscle gives better control and coordination.

At the same time, it helps in enhancing the capability of the nervous. System to trigger the right muscle at the right time.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is Effective For

The primary and essential abnormality which PNF massage treats are the muscles. As we know that there can be no other technique better than this one when it comes to the recovery of muscle damage. It helps heal the muscle damage on one hand and recovers the completely lost or reduced movement of the muscles. Furthermore, it targets the affected muscles and improves the functioning of all the muscles of the human body.

In addition to the healing and recovery of muscles, it also helps to cure some other abnormalities. Some of these are mentioned below.

  • Knee injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Pelvic injuries
  • Hip injuries
  • Lost flexibility of muscles

How Does Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Works?

Muscles of the human body are composed of a large number of microscopic fibers. These fibers work collectively to make the contraction and relaxation of muscles possible.

All the fibres of muscles are activated for contraction or relaxation through a chemical signal from the brain. This signal is conveyed from the brain towards muscles with the help of chemical neurotransmitters. Thus, a nerve impulse triggers the movement of muscles.

The mechanism of proprioceptive neuromuscular massage takes help from these nerve impulse triggers. As mentioned above, the mechanism of PNF massage uses three steps.

1. Positioning of the muscle for contraction

2. Contraction of muscles

3. Relaxation

These three steps are followed repeatedly until the muscle is recovered from the effects of injury, trauma or such other problems.

We can conclude by saying that if you have any problem related to muscles like lost movement or reduced motion range, you can opt for pProprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation massage for treatment.

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