Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT™) was developed by Greg Roskopf, Biomechanical Consultant for the Denver Broncos. MAT is a unique way to assess and treat muscular imbalances, motion limitations, pain and dysfunction, enhance athletic performance, and prevent injury.
Specialists using MAT are able to treat the source of their patients’ problems, not just the symptoms. Though one may experience shoulder pain, the source may be that the thoracic spine does not extend or support the shoulder properly. Back pain can result from foot dysfunction and the lack of shock absorption throughout the lower extremity or can be due to core instability; however, it is always the result of the muscle system’s failure to properly support the spine and distribute force to the body’s weight bearing structures. Discs are not weight bearing structures and when discs are herniated it indicates that the muscles are no longer able to properly do their job. When function is restored to the muscles they perform properly, no longer compensate, and provide stability through their full range of motion.
Muscles become inhibited with overuse, underuse, injury, and/or general stress to the body’s system, like dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, and/or insufficient rest or recovery. Inhibited muscles tighten up and put pressure on surrounding structures such as joint capsules, nerves, soft tissues, cartilage and bone. By restoring the central nervous system’s connection with the muscles, and thereby resetting the system, the root cause of pain or dysfunction can be determined, treated and strengthened to restore muscular balance. Through this technique, the compensation patterns go away and the muscles return to their original, intended functions.
What is MAT Rx
MAT Rx is like MAT on steroids. Rx literally means “prescriptive rules”. With the MAT Rx process the entire body is addressed, systematically, providing stability much like the way we originally developed. The Rx process treats the 43 patterns of human movement in a very specific manner and order, hence the prescriptive rules. Think of the body like a pyramid with the bottom layer being the largest, and therefore the most important for stability. You would not build your house upon a fragile foundation. Why would you want to build up your body on a weak foundation? Doing so could impede progress or lead to injury.
The Rx process begins with the foundational movement patterns, and associated muscles, in a way that will significantly increase their ability to function at their highest level and maintain this function longer. Each pattern will be treated in order, building upon the previous level’s stability. Each session will consist of prior patterns being tested to ensure they are indeed “holding”. There is no point in moving forward to the next pattern if the previous one has been stressed enough to shut it down. Each pattern will be accounted for each session and progress will move forward differently with each individual. You may have to have a pattern, or several patterns, treated more than once before it “holds”. This is an individual thing and depends on your specific issues. You may even have to have an earlier pattern retreated after reaching much higher levels. For example, you may have reached pattern 17 and then perhaps after some incident, or just time, you may need to have an earlier pattern treated. That does not mean you have to start over. You may have pattern one treated and all the others hold and you go right to pattern 18. This way everything is accounted for throughout the entire body. This not only improves function and performance, prevents injury, and decreases symptoms, but allows your body to be incredibly stable and gain strength by more of the body participating in any given activity.
Muscle Activation Techniques require very specific, manual treatment methods. One cannot simply massage, stretch, exercise, or stimulate dysfunctional muscles into working again. This is one of the reasons the effects of many traditional treatments are temporary, they treat the symptoms but not the cause. MAT treatments require time on both the side of the practitioner and the patient, each treatment lasts at least an hour in length and connects and addresses function throughout the body.
MAT also empowers patients by giving them tools to activate dysfunctional muscles on their own, as well as to recognize when their muscles are no longer functioning properly. In this way, patients can prevent injuries by ensuring that they are stable before engaging in activity.
As a Physical Therapist, I have been treating patients almost exclusively with MAT since 2003. It is the most complete assessment and treatment tool I have ever seen in any practice setting. The results are amazing.