Ever heard of AIS? AIS stands for “Active Isolated Stretching”. AIS is an approach to stretching that unlocks restricted fascia & restores optimal muscle length. AIS is uniquely effective because of the way it engages the nervous system and provide proprioceptive feedback that allows you to increase your active, usable range of motion.
AIS is called ‘isolated’ because you are targeting one muscle or muscle group, in one joint at a time. This specificity allows you to target the exact points of restriction. When we take a more general approach with full body stretches, we often end up overstretching areas that already have good mobility and missing the areas that don’t.
Moving into a stretch actively utilizes the body’s reciprocal inhibition system and quickly creates length in the connective and muscle tissues being stretched. An example of reciprocal inhibition is when the bicep contracts: the tricep must lengthen to allow the elbow to bend. By taking an action to the end range of motion, the opposing muscles and connective tissue are given a signal from the nervous system to release.
AIS stretches are precise, controlled, & brief. Longer stretches activate the stretch reflex, causing the muscle to reflexively shorten to protect the joint. Working to the end range of motion for no longer than two seconds keeps the nervous system feeling safe enough to accept the change in the soft tissue.
AIS is extremely effective in refreshing the stretched areas with circulation, opening range of motion quickly, and creating stronger brain/body connection to proper joint mechanics. AIS can be helpful with injury recovery and athletic performance, as well as being gentle enough to help manage chronic pain and stiffness.
About our AIS Instructor: Heidi Timer has been a licensed massage therapist since 2003. She specializes in Active Isolated Stretching and offers one on one sessions, and group classes at Myo. To learn more about AIS, email Heidi at firstname.lastname@example.org