Reciprocal Inhibiti...
Clear all

Reciprocal Inhibition Confusion?

Posts: 4
Topic starter
New Member
Joined: 16 years ago

Please can someone/anyone help me to understand Reciprocal Inhibition please?
I understand that R.I means you stretch the opposite muscle (the antagonist)?

So if I had a client who had a gastroc do R.I, do I get the client to try and dorsiflex the foot while I try to plantarflex the foot! Isn't this just performing an isometric stretch as there is no movement?

I get 'Post Isometric Relaxation', you stretch the muscle you want to work. You get the client to contract only 20% of there capability for 10 seconds then take the stretch further etc.

But I am totally confused with R.I as a Muscle energy technique!
Please can someone help and give other examples?

Also how to you go about involving concentric and eccentric strengthening exercises into rehab?

(I went travelling for a year after I qualified as a SMT and have only just got back intoSM and I am trying to remember things as well as doing CPD to refresh my knowledge)

2 Replies
Alan D
Posts: 433
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago

RE: Reciprocal Inhibition Confusion?

The client contracts the opposing muscle to the one being stretched. If the joint is flexed in order to stretch the muscle (eg flexing the knee joint to stretch the quads), the client should attempt to flex even further (ie contracting the hamstrings) against the therapist's resistance. At the same time as the client releases the contraction, the muscle is simultaneously stretched at the new barrier position.

This is explained in more detail in Mel Cash's book 'Sport & Remedial Massage Therapy',which I'd recommend to anyone using these techniques.

Personally I generally use PIR rather than RI.



Posts: 161
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago

RE: Reciprocal Inhibition Confusion?

RI's good when the condition is acute because you are not actively contracting the affected muscle. It is also very effective for immediately switching off cramp spasms.