Many of you might have remembered me talking about the Muscle Activation Technique (M.A.T.) and how I was having that done on me. Charlie Rowe is the practitioner who is working with me and was kind enough to do an interview with me earlier in the summer. If you didn’t get a chance to read up on it, click here to learn about muscle activation technique and what Charlie had to say.
What I wanted to give you today was my progress report with M.A.T. and what I’ve thought of it so far.
I had first read about M.A.T. in Timothy Ferriss’s book, The 4 Hour Body. I’m big on “if your body stays aligned properly, you shouldn’t have any physical issues”. The problem is that we all go through something called “life” that throws our bodies out of whack sometimes. What might be the functionally correct movement might not be the easiest so over time, after constant reinforcement of the improper movement, we develop alignment issues, which lead to injuries. M.A.T. is one technique that helps to stimulate the muscles to fire properly again and get you back into alignment.
My biggest reason for going to M.A.T. was I had developed plantar fasciitis. I wanted to get that eliminated. Most cases of plantar fasciitis are developed because of muscle imbalances (not all of them, but most) and I felt that was the case with me. I also had some lower back issues that would creep up every so often and wanted them gone as well. Anything else that was corrected while doing this would be a bonus.
I met Charlie and Greg Mack of Physicians Fitness in February of this year. We had a lengthy consultation to go over my issues, explain the M.A.T. philosophy, and if they think they could help me. Everything sounded good to me, so we proceeded with scheduling my physical evaluation. Charlie put me through an evaluation watching movements, testing strengths of muscles put in certain positions, and all in all it took about 75 – 90 minutes (if I remember correctly).
Charlie then took some time to interpret the evaluation and we scheduled a first session. He spent part of the time going over the eval with me so I had a clear idea of what he saw. Basically, the biggest thing was my pelvis was a little off-kilter. Who knows how it got that way, maybe it was because I was a long jumper and jumped off my left leg for so long. I don’t know, but he felt that attributed to the lower back issues and the plantar fasciitis. Get that back into position, then start stimulating the other muscles that had weakened due to this pelvis misalignment, and we should get some relieve of my symptoms.
Sessions can either be a half hour or a full hour. Your frequency can be once a week, twice a week, bi-weekly, there is some variety. It depends on your particular situation and are you going to work on this outside of your sessions (which is important to do). For me, I came once a week. They would work on a particular area and then they would give you “homework” to do outside of the facility. “Homework” was an exercise or two that would help keep strong the particular area they might have been working on that session. When you come back for your next appointment, they’ll recheck some things to see if everything held, so to speak. If some of the work they did last time reversed, then they would do more work on that area. If it held and you were still strong, they would move on to the next part of their game plan.
How long do you go for?
I think you have to view M.A.T. just like you would exercise. If you are trying to lose weight, once you lose the weight, you don’t stop exercising. You continue to exercise and eat right to keep the weight off and maintain your health. Same thing with M.A.T. Once you get your issue resolved, maybe you scale back and come for tune-ups to see how everything has held. If there are new issues, you get them taken care of. But, I don’t think you ever say, “all I have to do is 8 sessions, I’m good to go, and I’ll never have to do it again.” Not the case.
I’ve been going for 7 months or so and my plantar has gotten a lot better. I can do my athletic activities for a lot longer time before it starts becoming an issue and if it does become an issue, it is not nearly as severe. My lower back is better. We had forgotten about it for a bit and it was starting to bother me, so we concentrated on it again and it is fine. I still have work to do, but everything is going good. One mother of a client of mine said she went to M.A.T. for her plantar fasciitis and after three weeks it was all gone. That didn’t happen for me, but you see how different people can respond to the treatment.
If you have some lingering physical issues, you should check out M.A.T. In Columbus, the boys at Physicians Fitness are the best. Check them out and tell them I sent you. I know several trainers that routinely get M.A.T. done so if we at the top of the fitness industry think it is some type of big deal, then you should probably check it out too.