Consider the Alternative
Exploring the avenues of non-traditional therapies
(page 6 of 7)
Every diligent athlete knows the saying: Don’t forget to stretch. The benefits range from the obvious (increased flexibility), to the surprising (improved circulation). According to the Mayo Clinic, a good stretch can do all of these things, but remembering is just the start. How to stretch is where it gets a bit trickier.
From gym class on, most of us were schooled in a static type of stretching, where a muscle is elongated and the position held for 10 seconds or so. Joggers with legs up on fence posts have etched the common stretch in our minds.
Aaron Mattes is working to change all that. The Florida-based sports trainer and physical therapist is pioneering a new type of stretching, called Active Isolated Stretching (AIS). Locally, sports trainers from the Zenergy Health Club and Spa in Ketchum are adopting the “Mattes Method” of short, two-second stretches into their practices.
Winston Purkiss is the director of Zenergy’s AIS program and is a staunch believer. In early 2007, two strokes left Purkiss’ wife, Kim Walbaum, unable to use her right arm. Doctors advised a permanent brace, but when Mattes saw Walbaum, he suggested stretching.
Walbaum worked with Mattes for 16 hours in just four days—a grueling therapy schedule—and her progress was immediate. “She went from not being able to move her right arm, to picking up a water bottle, taking a drink and putting it back down,” Purkiss said.
Mattes’ AIS methods have helped patients with a variety of neuromuscular disorders, including multiple sclerosis, regain movement and relieve pain.
In 2008, part-time Ketchum resident Tod Hamachek was struck down with a moderate case of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that can cause temporary muscle paralysis, extreme pain and even death. Hamachek was bedridden for weeks and had to learn how to walk all over again.
“You don’t remember how you learned when you were 12 or 14 months old,” he said. “And let me tell you, it’s damn tough when you’re not a foot off the ground anymore.”
Hamachek said that the Mattes Method greatly accelerated his rehabilitation.
“It helped immensely in terms of my flexibility and posture and overall strength. It made a huge difference.”
This March, Mattes will hold a workshop for professional trainers at Zenergy. -SVM