Core Concepts

We utilized the following concepts to build the Alexander Method of SMR.

These physiologic processes, laws, and principles provide the foundational concepts to fully understand how to approach self-care in the safest, most effective manner possible.

We provide definitions and descriptions of the concepts below, as well as link to external sites when possible to offer more resources.

If we can help you understand the relationship of these concepts to each other and how to use them in managing your muscle issues, do not hesitate to call on us. You can sign up for one of our upcoming certifications at SMRCerts or email us at

We are here to help you get more out of your self-care efforts!

Davis's Law

soft tissue models along...

lines of stress; tight stays tight, weak stays weak (shortened stays shortened, overstretched stays overstretched). A person with rounded shoulders exhibits this...the pecs are shortened and tight while the rhomboids are overstretched and weak.

In other words, how and what you do with your body will determine what you will be able to do in the future, because your muscles and other soft tissues will literally grow to accommodate the stuff you do throughout the day. Don't work on being more flexible and you will grow less flexible over time.

Although not immediately apparent, this is the most influential factor controlling your ability to move properly as you age.

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Autogenic Inhibition

is a process whereby a sensor in the tendon (golgi tendon organ or GTO) sends a signal to...

the brain to release the sensor in the attached muscle (muscle spindles).

The GTO is triggered by a constant level of just the right amount of tension for just the right amount of time. For most people, this period of time is at least 20 seconds, but can be substantially longer.

Static stretching and self-myofascial release both elicit this response. This is partly why slower SMR techniques tend to produce a more profound result.

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Stretch Reflex

the knee-jerk response your thigh does when...

the doctor gently whacks your knee. The muscle spindles are “hard-wired” to your spinal cord to react to muscle fibers being stretched too quickly. This is also the reason your muscle will cramp when you apply too much pressure too quickly to a knot when doing SMR.
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Relative Flexibility

using a combination of joints to accomplish...

a movement goal when one or more joints lack full functional range of motion. (e.g., allowing your heels to rise off the ground and your chest to face down during a deep squat due to poor soleus and psoas flexibility; raising your hips to reach something overhead because you can’t raise your arms completely up to your ears, etc.)
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Reciprocal Inhibition

the process of one muscle activating (agonist) and causing...

the opposite muscle (antagonist) to release.

Dynamic flexibility elicits this response, which in a way can be considered the opposite of autogenic inhibition (in which sensors in a tendon "turn off" the same muscle they are connected to).

Alternating between high kicks and butt kicks with the heels is a good example of using either side of the thigh to help loosen the other side.

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Arndt-Shultz Rule

(formerly Arndt-Shultz Law), relax and take...

it slowly; weak stimuli activate physiological responses, while very strong stimuli inhibit physiological responses.

Although the dominant theme of pharmacologist Hugo Shulz and Dr Rudolf Arndt's work is centered on poisons and toxins, the physiologic responses are somewhat consistent when looking at physical stresses to the body as well as chemical ones.

Doing deep tissue work on yourself slowly and gently using leverage, gravity, and torque is more effective than using force.

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Law of Facilitation

the path of...

least resistance; when a nerve impulse has passed through a certain set of neurons, it will tend to use that same path in the future. Each time the signal passes this same path the resistance is less.

This is why old injuries tend to get re-aggravated with less stimulus.

It is also why the more often you get massaged, the easier it is to relax a tight muscle.

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