The PNF method (proprioceptive neuromuscular priming) was invented in 1946 in Vallejo, California. It is based on the principles of the functioning of the nervous system - Sherrington's law.
Philosophy of PNF
A positive attitude towards the patients and their problems, global observation of the patients, mobilization of their reserves, irradiation and strengthening - application of the muscle synergy and work with able areas of the body, taking into account the global motor activities and not single structures, intense exercise plan (also at home), functional thinking - exercising the daily activities, frequent changes of the starting positions, changes in the normal sequence of the motor activity, painless work with the patient.
PNF is a concept which has its own philosophy and principles of working with the patient. The primary goal of the therapy is to work on the function which the patient needs. Muscle strength, range of motion - things important in the traditional therapeutic procedure - are only a means to achieve the objective - which is the function. However we often tend to forget about this in our daily practice. According to this concept the patient is viewed in a holistic manner and the therapy uses strong and healthy regions of the patient's body. This allows one to fully use the reserves inherent in the body, motivates one to further action, and most importantly, ensures painless work, without any traumatic physical and mental sensations. The patient should be the physiotherapist's partner who defines the scope and limits of the activities. It is the patient who sets the therapy goals. The therapist is only an advisor. With this approach, even patients suffering from considerable dysfunctions are motivated and display a positive attitude towards the work with the therapist.
By participating in courses devoted to this concept, we had together with our patients the opportunity to find out how wide the range of its effects actually was. We saw that these were not only patterns for limb loading exercises, combined with some technique. PNF can also boast a whole range of activities allowing one to perform the therapy on the mat, to teach how to walk, to exercise the facial muscles and to work on such functions as breathing, chewing and swallowing.
The main principles of priming in the PNF concept.
Manual contact, verbal contact, visual contact, manual resistance, traction and compression, movement patterns, stretch, therapist's body mechanics, radiation to stimulate and reinforce, change in the order of the movement, summing up of the stimuli
Techniques applied in PNF
Rhythmic stimulation of the movement, combination of isotonic contractions, replication, stretch, dynamic reversals, rhythmic stabilization, 'hold-relax' technique, 'contract-relax' technique
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