The Mattes Method of Active Isolated Stretching is a myofascial release and therapeutic treatment for deep and superficial muscles, tendons and fascia. The Mattes Method is founded on kinesiologic laws of controlling the body’s stretch reflexes while performing a specific isolated manual release of individual muscles and their proper fascial plane.


The Mattes Method utilizes active movement and reciprocal inhibition to reduce co-contraction and optimize flexibility. The foundation of the technique is providing a 2.0 second rhythmic stretch that avoids activating the muscle sensors, muscle spindles and Golgi tendon bodies. The active movements initiated allow antagonistic muscle group relaxation and promotion of uninhibited flexibility.

The term “myofascial” did not appear in medical literature until the late 1940’s when medical researchers Gorell, Steindler, Rinzler and others started describing myofascial trigger points of the lumbar spine that were the source of musculofascial pain. Janet G. Travell, M.D. coined the term “myofascial” after observing referred pain patterns of muscles during muscle biopsy in 1952.

 Muscle has individual characteristics based on the person’s activity, age as well as the type of physical exertion. When a muscle becomes overstretched, over-shortened or is subject to direct trauma, the muscle fibers may tear or fray. The healing process, which results in scar tissue, creates an increased resting tension becoming more stiff and ischemic with the potential of increasing metabolic waste. There are visible changes that occur in the muscle at a histological level. This tightness in one muscle group will lead to a direct effect on the antagonist or opposite muscle function.

The Mattes Method of Active Isolated Stretching utilizes a facilitated stretch technique based on anatomical awareness of muscle tendon origin and insertion within its appropriate motion plane. Muscle fibers are laid in patterns that correspond to the attachment points. Utilizing this plane of myofascial tissue allows for optimal stretching without friction, cross-friction or activation of other muscle groups.

The Mattes Method of Active Isolated Stretching also incorporates the ability of controlling and minimizing the activation of the body’s defense stretch reflexes at the level of the muscle spindles and Golgi bodies. By having the patient initiate the movement, a reflexive relaxation of the antagonistic muscle ensues. The continuation of that movement in the proper plane at end range with a slight pressure of less than one pound within a two-second interval will allow the muscle tissue to continue stretching without any co-contraction. Utilizing this 2.0 second stretch technique reduces the pential of activation of these sensors and avoids the reflexive contraction of the antagonistic muscles.

Kathy Clark • Extreme Core Pilates • 22 Union Ave. Sudbury MA.
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