What is Trigenics? – The 3 Pillars of Therapeutic Neuro-summation.
You all know the standard definition of Trigenics. To review “TRIGENICS® is a neuro-kinetic, sensorimotor assessment, treatment and training system which instantly relieves pain and increases strength and movement. TRIGENICS® works by combining 3 treatment techniques which are applied at the same time for a therapeutic neuro-summative effect on the nervous system which is much greater than if you only applied one.” (Watch for a follow-up article on Therapeutic Neuro-summation coming soon.)
So what does this really mean? In this 3 part series, I will describe the 3 components that are used synergistically in the TRIGENICS® system that we all find dramatically reduces pain and increases function in as little as one treatment. While many of these concepts were not new to the medical world, TRIGENICS® was the first to combine these therapies for a cumulative effect, much greater than that seen in isolation.
PART 1: Patient-Resisted Movement
Postisometric relaxation (PIR), first described by Mitchell et al. and later by Karel Lewit, is a method of muscle relaxation directed at altering the output of the central nervous system. In PIR, the isolated muscle is voluntarily contracted for 20-30 seconds, the patient then relaxes, and a new range of motion is attainable, often with an immediate decrease in tenderness and tone.
In his book, Assessment and Treatment of Muscle Imbalance – The Janda Apporach, Page describes the concept of prorprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or PNF. In PNF, the patient performs an isometric contraction against the therapist’s resistance for up to 20 seconds. The patient is then asked to relax and the therapist takes the segment to a new range of motion.
In Trigenics, the first part of the treatment involves active participation by the patient, performing specific movements against the doctor’s resistance. Similar to PIR, the intended outcome is neural modulation. In PNF contract-relax technique, the desired effect is an increase in length. The Trigenics Lengthening (TL) procedure uses a similar approach to increase the length and functional range of motion of the target tissue. In PNF contract-relax with antagonist contraction, the desired effect is to utilize reciprocal innervation to alter the neural tone to the target tissue. The Trigenics Strengthening (TS) procedure uses this concept to up-regulate the neural drive of the target tissue, resulting in an increase in strength.
While the theoretical basis behind the neurophysiology of Trigenics is much more complex, the comparison to common techniques allows a simplified explanation to occur. This may be useful when you, as a Trigenics Practitioner, are explaining the technique to a colleague or patient.
In Part 2 of this series, I will review the role of mechanoreceptors and golgi tendon organs in a Trigenics treatment. The mechanical distortion of these receptors by the Trigenics practitioner works to reset muscular tone.
All the best,
1. Mitchell Jr. F, Moran PS, Pruzzo NA. An evaluation of osteopathic muscle energy procedures. Valley Park, MO: Author; 1979.
2. Lewit K. Postisometric relaxation in combination with other methods of muscular facilitation and inhibition. Man Med 1986;2:101-4.
3. Page P, Clare FC, Lardner R. Assessment and treatment of muscle imbalance: the Janda approach. Chicago, IL: Human Kinetics; 2010.