Self Care – Active Isolated Stretching Guidelines

This is a handout that I give patients when I’m explaining Active Isolated Stretching. This is an abbreviated guide from Aaron Mattes’s books and courses. This system is very different from traditional stretching or yoga. Click here to see a post about how I converted to AIS.

This post shows you how to use ice to stretch with less pain, in less time with more effective results.

The point of these stretches is that you want to retrain your movement patterns so that the stretched muscle is trained to lengthen and the opposing muscle is better at contracting. Simply said, you need to stretch in a way that doesn’t offend the nervous system so that it fights back with the stretch reflex. There are 4 tips at the end of this seem to help people more than any other part:

  • don’t stretch too fast
  • don’t hold it too long
  • don’t push it too hard
  • always return to the starting position before the next stretch

Here’s the handout:

This is meant to be a handout that is given to the patient when they are learning AIS, so If you don’t get it, take a look at this video to watch me use AIS with ice-and-stretch.


This site is undergoing changes. Starting in early 2020, we began changing the format of the posts to include more extensive self-care, illustrations, therapist notes, anatomy, and protocols. We’d love your feedback. We are adding posts and converting the old posts as quickly as time permits.

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.

Question? Comment? Typo?
(404) 226-1363

Please note that some of the product links in the posts are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission when you purchase through that link. I’ve personally used most of these products and believe are genuinely helpful. Some products aren’t appropriate for me so I recommend it based on my experience with clients or the reviews online. The commissions I make are small and not worth promoting lesser products that would not produce suitable value. And please note, I do not advocate buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.