There are two types of muscle memory commonly referred to. However, there is also one more that is seldom acknowledged, that is muscles (Cells) hold onto memories and stress.
Cellular Memory and Emotional Trauma
It’s been my experience that often, when releasing tension from a muscle, in a certain environment, the client releases sadness or grief. Thereafter, finding that the muscular tension is released also. For example, when you become stressed, the muscles usually, immediately lock up, as if holding the emotions that one is feeling at the time. After the stressful incident, your mind usually calms down, however your body or muscles tend to retain the experience holding onto the memory of the incident. Cases that involve lock jaw, headaches are prime examples of the unrecognized/repressed build-up of frustration and anger. If the situation of stress has simply been brushed off, and the reaction or balanced response not expressed, or resolved, your muscles or other structures or systems within your body will retain the memory of the incident.
Two common referrals to muscle memory
1. If you have been working our and suddenly stop for a while, this muscle memory helps speed up the process when you start to work out again, more easily activating the muscles back to performance state from when you stopped working out.
2. The muscles have an inbuilt memory activation sequence for the way they move. For example learning the piano when you were younger and then picking it up again in later life, riding a bike or throwing a ball. These activities become automatic once you start to perform these muscle actions again.
PNF resistive stretching is applied by the therapist to encourage the fascia to stretch out and the holding of the extended range of movement encourages the muscle, via the neural pathways that speed up recovery.