What is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)?

The Optimal Stretching Method for Increasing Range of Motion

PNF is an approach to therapeutic exercise which aims to improve motor skill through positive motor transfer, using the principles of facilitation/inhibition, irradiation/reinforcement, and reciprocal innervation. Exercises consist of spiral and diagonal patterns and must incorporate all three components of motion.

PNF techniques help develop muscular strength and endurance, joint stability, mobility, neuromuscular control and coordination–all of which are aimed at improving the overall functional ability of patients.

PNF techniques have broad applications in treating people with neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions, most frequently in rehabilitating the knee, shoulder, hip and ankle.

PNF techniques can be both passive (no associated muscular contraction) or active (voluntary muscle contraction). While there are several variations of PNF stretching, they all have one thing in common – they facilitate muscular inhibition. It is believed that this is why PNF is superior to other forms of flexibility training.