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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 and with more effective results in less time.

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.


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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.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistencies in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.