What is Be-Activated?
Be-Activated is a comprehensive system of neuromuscular activation designed to re-awaken muscles that aren’t firing properly and help the body work more efficiently.
During a session, a series of muscle strength and flexibility tests are used to see how your body is functioning. Muscles can ‘switch off’ for many reasons – overuse, underuse, trauma, injury, stress – and most of us will have developed various ‘compensation patterns’. The testing can identify which compensation patterns you may be using which often can make sense of pain or injuries you may have been suffering with. Various ‘activation points’ are then stimulated to switch muscles back on again.
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The activation sequence always begins with the diaphragm and some coaching on abdominal breathing. Breathing this way, using the diaphragm, activates the parasympathetic nervous system and calms the body and mind.
The effects of activation are immediate, and you will be able to see the difference in strength on retesting. The activations are also easy to use on yourself and you can be taught these to do in-between sessions.
What can Be-Activated help with?
• Improving performance for athletes (But anyone can benefit from it)
• Reducing aches and pains
• Recovering from and preventing injury
• Improving mobility and coordination
What is it?
Be-Activated is a system of muscle activation that was developed by South African physiotherapist and surfer, Douglas Heel.
The underlying premise of Be Activated is that our bodies have two priorities; to breathe and to move. When our bodies are working optimally, we breath from the diaphragm and movement is initiated from our psoas and glutes (zone 1). The rest of our muscles can then easily and efficiently perform their proper functions. Ideal sequencing works in a 1-2-3 pattern, with muscles activating from the core outwards.
However, stress, trauma, poor posture or fatigue can cause the sequence in which the muscles fire to change. The body will have to find other, less efficient ways, to breath and move and this leads to the development of compensation patterns. Muscles that are recruited to fulfil compensation patterns may become overworked and this can result in loss of optimum performance, or even injury.
For example, if our glutes are not properly controlling extension of the hip, then the hamstrings and back extensor muscles may take over that role, resulting in tight hamstrings or low back pain. Or we may be compensating with our upper back muscles and suffer from headaches and neck pain.
Muscle Activation restores the body’s natural neuromuscular functions and helps to bring it back to its optimal state. The changes that occur on the table translate into reduction of pain, calming of the nervous system and improved performance.
What happens in a session?
First of all, you will be tested to see how your muscles are currently functioning using a series of muscle resistance and flexibility tests. Activation begins with the diaphragm to ensure you are breathing correctly and then the rest of the body’s sequencing and activation is assessed and stimulated.
Activation is achieved by stimulation of certain activation points on the body that relate to each muscle or muscle group. These points can sometimes be sensitive or tender, but your practitioner will always stay in touch with you to make sure that it is not too uncomfortable.
Changes are usually instant – you should feel the difference immediately. The body may need reminding, however, to change chronic muscle patterns and to maintain its newly activated state. Simple self-activation exercises can also be given for you to do at home.
Who is it for?
Be-Activated is perfect for athletes who are looking to overcome injury or to boost performance. But Be-Activated is not just for athletes! Anyone can benefit from it. From elderly people who would like to be able to stand up out of a chair more easily, to desk bound office workers with neck pain and shallow breathing patterns.
If you’d like to read more about the Muscle Activation techniques, here is a link to a great article from Runner’s World: https://douglasheel.com/in-the-press/boost-your-fibre-power/