‘There’s a simple movement that we’ve all been doing since the beginning of time. It is nature’s way of restoring full muscle function and length to a muscle and it is much more effective than stretching. It is called PANDICULATION. One could say that pandiculation is like a “software update” for your brain: it “re-boots” the brain’s sensation and control of the muscles every time you do it.
If you have ever watched a cat or dog as it gets up from rest you know that it arches its back, then drops its belly and curves downward lengthening its legs, back, and belly in a full body “yawn.” Animals aren’t stretching. They’re pandiculating. After it does this simple maneuver, it jumps off the couch and goes running off to play. Do you remember when you used to do that? You’d wake up, gently tighten your arms and legs inward, feel a yawn coming on, and then reach your arms above your head, then reach one leg down and then the other. You would first contract your muscles, then lengthen them, then completely relax.
There are three elements to a pandiculation:
- A voluntary contraction into the muscles…
- Followed by a slow lengthening…
- And a complete relaxation.
This action, much like a pleasant yawn, re-sets both muscle length and function at the brain level; it “reminds” our muscles that they don’t have to stay stuck in a contracted state. Pandiculation “turns on a light” in the sensory motor system and improves proprioception, which helps you sense your own body more accurately. When you contract a muscle tighter than its present contraction rate, the brain (the command center of the muscles) receives strong sensory feedback, which allows it to “refresh” its sensation of the muscles. By slowly lengthening from that initial contraction, the brain can then lengthen the muscle past the point of its former, tighter length and into a new, fuller range. The result is a more relaxed muscle and greater voluntary muscle control and coordination.’ From here