In this context, a distinction must be made between muscle relaxation techniques and muscle stretching techniques. These techniques are usually applied on the muscles that are hypertonic, and before application of these techniques as modes of manual therapy, it is important to demonstrate muscle tightness. In the muscles, there are stretch receptors called Golgi tendon organs, located in the tendons of the agonist muscles (Schwellnus, 2009). These receptors limit overstretching of the muscle bundles through their reactions to inhibit muscle contractions beyond a certain limit. It is known physiologically that these organs react through inhibition of efferent motor neurons impulse transmission, preventing further contraction of the muscles. This leads to reduction of the muscle tone, which results in agonist relaxation and lengthening. It is important to note that the Golgi tendon organs react to both passive and active movements. This leads to an important therapeutic physical principle of passive mobilisation of a joint, since these Golgi tendon organs respond to both active and passive movements. ...
prudent to find out the gaps in research, so a discernible research design can be crafted in order to find out whether post-isometric relaxation alone or combined with massage may be more effective in treating hamstring tightness in order to result in better flexibility in this group of muscles (Prior et al., 2009).
As has been elucidated earlier, muscle hypertonicity may be viewed as a physiologic condition leading to increased sensitivity of the stretch reflex, hyperactivity, and muscle shortening. Clinically, although there is no evidence of fascial hypertrophy and shortening, it can be determined during the muscle length assessment, where the muscles feel resilient with a restricted, end-range feel leading to a resistance to stretch with minimal involvement of the fascia (Clark et al., 2000). When there is involvement of the fascia, the muscle may appear less resilient and hence tight due to shortening of the fascia. Due to this noncontractile component of the muscle dysfunction, restoration of the function would need stretching of the muscle along with its fascia (Koulouris and Connell, 2005). Further to this research has shown that stretching may impair balance, reaction, and movement times (Winters et al., 2004).
Muscle energy technique is in frequent use that aims normalise skeletal muscles and somatic tissue dysfunctions. Application of this technique needs appropriate training. A basic approach is postisometric relaxation which can be easily integrated into the massage therapy, and this can be effectively applied for enhancing relaxation of muscles (Roberts, 1997). The term muscle energy technique covers a number of procedures, of which postisometric relaxation is most frequently used, and it can be accomplished through incorporation of a massage therapy.