Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or PNF, is what I call “fancy stretching.”

There are several kinds of stretching:

  1. Active stretching

  2. Dynamic Stretching

  3. Ballistic stretching

  4. Isometric stretching

  5. Passive stretching


  6. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

The first four stretches, active, dynamic, ballistic, and isometric are stretches you do yourself. Active stretching is the most common kind of stretching. It includes stretches like touching your toes or stretching your calf against a wall. You personally are doing the stretch, and you add pressure and hold the position with weight or force.

Passive stretching and PNF are stretches that someone else does for or with you, and these are the types of stretching that we specialize in. PNF is particularly powerful because it has been found to increase range of motion faster than any other kind of stretch. Through engaging muscle spindles (in muscles) and Golgi tendon organs (in tendons), we activate the stretch reflex and tendon reflex to decrease overall muscle tension and reduce spasm of muscles.

There are several kinds of PNF stretches:

  1. Hold-relax

  2. Contract-relax

  3. Contract-relax-Antagonist Contract

  4. Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) Release

  5. Reciprocal Inhibition

We utilize both passive and PNF stretching to optimize rehabilitation and performance for athletes, those recovery from an accident or injury, or and those looking to get into better shape and more balance flexibility.

Example of Hold-Relax PNF technique. Photo credit of    Human Kinetics

Example of Hold-Relax PNF technique. Photo credit of Human Kinetics