Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), is a method of stretching that involves slow gradual stretches that are held for only 2 seconds. This allows the body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity. AIS works with the body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscles and fascia on both superficial and deep muscle plains.
Over the past few decades many experts have advocated that stretching should last up to 60 seconds. For years, this prolonged static stretching technique was the gold standard. However, prolonged static stretching actually decreases the blood flow within the tissue creating localized ischemia and lactic acid buildup. This can potentially cause irritation or injury of local muscular, tendinous, lymphatic, as well as neural tissues, similar to the effects and consequences of trauma and overuse syndromes.
I include AIS in many treatments where it is needed. Often times a massage session includes a few minutes or up to a half hour of AIS to help effectively release trigger points, relieve deep and superficial fascia. Performing an Active Isolated Stretch of no longer than 2.0 seconds allows the target muscles to optimally lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex and subsequent reciprocal antagonistic muscle contraction as the isolated muscle achieves a state of relaxation. These stretches provide maximum benefit and can be accomplished without opposing tension or resulting trauma.