Therapeutic Tools Utilized in the Functional Mobility Therapy Process
Explained by Judy Terwilliger, RN (# 322974), CMT (#25334)
In an effort to gain the most efficient and discomfort-reducing therapy experience possible, the following applications are used at the discretion of the attending certified therapist. These therapeutic tools are used in whatever combination is required to achieve the best muscle response. This in turn promotes an increase in the goal of functional mobility and normal function.
Ice / Cold Application: Enables a reduction in the inflammatory response by the body in an acute stage of overuse or irritation from injury. This is often used in conjunction with a heat application to jump start capillary blood flow during the manipulation process. It is always done through clothing and is never utilized in direct contact with the skin.
Heat Pack Application: Enables an increase in capillary blood flow throughout the area of application as well as encourages the same in adjacent areas. The increased blood flow to these areas assists in the ease of release of otherwise congested, tight/spasmodic tissues and promotes the ease of active/passive range of motion used before and after therapeutic release. This enables the best use of the release process and produces the best observable results possible. It is always done through clothing and is never utilized in direct contact with the skin.
Muscle Tapping: The use of a Muscle Activator Tool (MAT)* as regulated (low to moderate intensity) enables tapping of the muscle belly which is the most common area of congestion. This active tapping produces a rebound effect in the muscle/muscle group being released through activation of associated muscles/muscle groups. This method is called reciprocal inhibition w/activation of synergistic receptors within the muscles. This process allows for the muscle fibers being activated to achieve release with an increase in blood flow to the musculature. This relaxation of the tissue enables a more gentle, effective release of the over-tight, congested muscles being targeted by the therapeutic manipulation. *Note: this tool is especially effective in cases where muscle tone is excessively high or where there is increased pain with palpation/muscle movement. It is used on a limited basis, as precursor to manual muscle release and is never utilized in direct contact with the skin.
Joint Mobilization with Stretching: The use of joint mobilization through the application of active/passive range of motion techniques, PNF Stretching exercises and heat as noted above promotes increased muscle response pre and post release of the musculature which assists in the return of normal mobility return. The improved blood flow together with the muscle release promote a reduction in pain as nerves are free to relax and nerve impulses are able to return to a more normal state. Further, these activities in particular are usually assigned post therapeutic release to promote a sustained therapy benefit.
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