Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation refers to a method of hastening or promoting neuromuscular functioning mechanisms by stimulating its proprioceptors. This method of treatment is functions on the belief that all individuals including those with disabilities have varied existing potentials. Various motion combinations are used to facilitate neuromuscular mechanism. These include primitive, postural and righting reflexes. The motion combinations employed include passive movements, eccentric, isometric and concentric contractions (Alter 2004).
One of the philosophies regulating the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation is mobilizing individuals’ potentials through the provision of intensive training, patients’ active participation in planning and provision of care, and promotion of self-training. Furthermore, the health care professionals should promote positive approach including provision of care free of pain, provision of direct and indirect treatment among others (Hoeger et al 2008 ).
However, PNF techniques functions on several principles including, resistance, inhibition, facilitation, and irradiation reflexes. Facilitation techniques increase motor neurons excitation increasing stimuli within the neuromuscular neurons which cause depolarization or recruitment of extra motor neurons. Furthermore, inhibitory techniques decrease the excitation of the motor neurons leading to hyperpolarization of these neurons hence decrease in the amount of neurons which are actively discharging. Inhibition and facilitation cannot be separated because they work synergistically to one another. Inhibitory techniques increases flexibility through the inhibition of motor neurons of the antagonists muscles hence relaxation and reduced active resistance to the agonists muscle movement (Alter 2004).
Furthermore, facilitation and inhibitory techniques creates muscular resistance characterized by active contractions. Irradiation reflexes increases spread of neuromuscular excitations throughout the central nervous system causing contractions in the synergistic muscles. In addition, stretch reflexes increase the effectiveness of these techniques by producing varied excitation in the motor neurons causing relaxation of the muscles under different conditions. Furthermore, PNF techniques employ the techniques of active contractions (Hoeger et al 2008 ).
These contractions improve neuromuscular function through biomechanical methods such as, increased muscle extensibility as a result of increased temperature due to decreased muscle stiffness. However, biometric muscle response cannot be altered by the isometric contractions. PNF techniques are important because, it produces a larger improved flexibility as compared to other techniques of stretching. Furthermore, it increases joint strength, balance and stability. PNF techniques also increase joint flexibility which prevents joint injuries to the athletes (Hoeger et al 2008 ).
Furthermore, these techniques improve blood circulation and endurance hence enhanced coordination. These techniques may also be associated with benefits such as production of three dimensional muscle function as a result of combining spiral and diagonal principals. One of the disadvantages associated with these techniques is that it requires highly motivated individuals. Furthermore, it requires assistance from a partner who provides assistance during the training. These techniques increase the risks of valsalva phenomenon as a result of elevated blood systolic pressure (Alter 2004).
Patients who have recently undergone abdominal surgery or ocular surgery do not benefit from these techniques due to increased risk of valsalva phenomenon. Furthermore, surgery creates a region of weakness at a specific region of the abdominal wall increasing the risk of herniation of the abdominal contents to these weak regions. However, these techniques improve the range and mechanism of muscle functioning, affects the cardiovascular system function by altering the blood pressure (Hoeger et al 2008 ).
Single plane motion is one of the techniques which can be applied to strengthening of PNF functioning mechanism. This involves manual stretching of the patient’s triceps and brachial muscles improving their functioning abilities. However, optimum facilitation can be achieved through employing various methods of single plane stretching techniques. Furthermore, spiral and diagonal techniques can be applied to provide functional movements in varied joints and muscles at these patterns. The design of skeletal muscle system gives rise to the spiral technique of strengthening neuromuscular function (Alter 2004).
Furthermore, diagonal and spiral techniques have three motion components which facilitate these movements. These components include flexion, movement towards the middle line, movements away from the mid line and rotation motion which determines the action components. These therapies employ two different patterns at each extremity and are named according to the pivot at the hip joint. However, PNF techniques employ variety of techniques to improve the outcome of the therapy. This may include the combination of isotonic and isometric motions, and agonists and antagonists muscles (Hoeger et al 2008 ).
Repeated contraction is one of the methods that can be employed to strengthen neuromuscular system functioning. This involves repetitive contraction of the agonists muscle. The process is carried out until fatigue at the target muscle is evident. This method employs the use of isotonic contractions at the targeted extremity. Repeated contraction is followed by an isotonic muscle contraction of antagonistic pattern facilitating the strength of the weakened muscle. The process is done against a resistance at the weak point of the joint as the patient holds the contraction until the effort lessens. This technique helps strengthen central nervous system impulse transmission (Alter 2004).