I just came across this research study that was done by one of my former colleagues when I worked at Wingate University. It shows some very positive results for therapists who work with overhead or throwing athletes. Those athletes commonly develop a condition known as GIRD (Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit) which can be a precursor for a variety of shoulder pathologies. This study demonstrates the rapid improvements that Muscle Energy Stretching techniques can have. As massage therapists, we can utilize these same tools to improve the shoulder mobility of our clients.
Here is a summary of the study…
OBJECTIVES: To compare a muscle energy technique (MET) for the glenohumeral joint (GHJ) horizontal abductors and an MET for the GHJ external rotators to improve GHJ range of motion (ROM) in baseball players.
BACKGROUND: Overhead athletes often exhibit loss of GHJ ROM in internal rotation, which has been associated with shoulder pathology. Current stretching protocols aimed at improving flexibility of the posterior shoulder have resulted in inconsistent outcomes. Although utilization of MET has been hypothesized to lengthen tissue, there are limited empirical data describing the effectiveness of such stretches for treating posterior shoulder tightness.
CONCLUSION: A single application of an MET for the GHJ horizontal abductors provides immediate improvements in both GHJ horizontal adduction and internal rotation ROM in asymptomatic collegiate baseball players. Application of MET for the horizontal abductors may be useful to gain ROM in overhead athletes.