Mind & Body
by Kristy Armand
When trying to understand the fundamentals of Muscular Activation Techniques, it helps to view the human body as a car. Connected by electrical wires that send messages to various parts of the system, a car runs properly when it’s well-maintained, but over time that maintenance becomes compromised by every day wearand-tear and, in some cases, a devastating accident. Like the human body, a car is made of individual parts which constitute an entire system. That’s also how the human body functions, according to John Foret Jr., BS, RTS, MAT, the only certified Muscle Activation Technique specialist in Louisiana and the founder of Muscle Activation of Louisiana. MAT is a revolutionary process that operates on the understanding that stress, trauma and overuse trigger muscular imbalances in the body by upsetting the neurological connections between the central nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. MAT seeks to correct that upset. MAT is designed to treat the body’s muscular contraction function as a whole, Foret said. The technique is based on the sciences of biomechanics and neurology. “Every time our muscles contract, it’s because they’re receiving a message from the brain. When we suffer from an injury due to trauma or overuse, the message to the muscle can become compromised, which means that the muscle won’t contract optimally and can’t dictate its position and regulate tension during movements and normal muscle function. To make up for the
lapse, the other muscles go to work so the body can perform the required movement,” Foret said. “This overcompensation often results in increase muscle tension and tightness causing pain and progressive degeneration and subjective complaints.” When one muscle takes up the slack for another, the body fails to function to its greatest potential, according to Foret. This means slower injury recovery, and less effective function. A MAT specialist seeks to restore mobility to a specific injured region by looking and probing your entire muscular system from head to toe. MAT process does not involve high tech equipment, but instead relies on the experience, skill and knowledge of the specialist. MAT can work on its own or in conjunction with other treatment disciplines, such as physical therapists chiropractors, athletic trainers and massage therapists. MAT’s focus is on muscle function, and Foret says when muscle function is optimal, “you will have the experience of true stability.” “MAT is a specific and unique process for evaluating an individual’s ability to develop efficient muscle contraction(s) by first measuring and comparing specific limb and trunk motions of the body right side to left side,” says Foret. “To jumpstart specific muscle fibers, two techniques are used; tendon palpation, which MAT calls DAFAMAT (Digital Force Application to Muscle Attachment Tissues) and PIC (Positional Isoangular Contractions) isometric exercise to restore neuro drive and increase positional stability, which in turn allows greater movement patterns and strength.” “During each MAT session my thought process has me constantly
John Foret treating client Carli Quinn with MAT.
Thrive Magazine for Better Living
April 2012 Issue of Thrive Magazine