Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
Neuromuscular Therapy is a style of massage therapy and a method of postural analysis which treats the underlying causes of chronic pain.
If the body is not in basic alignment, or one’s posture is off the center of gravity, the result can be painful muscular compensations and overstimulation of the central nervous system.
Using extremely specific massage and myofascial techniques designed to relieve muscular compensations, align the body, and calm the central nervous system, Neuromuscular Therapy can provide relief where other modalities have not helped.
The Method of Therapeutic Treatment
The hands-on technique of Neuromuscular Therapy is guided by the Arndt-Schultz Law...
Weak stimuli activate physiological processes; very strong stimuli inhibit them.
What that essentially means is: Less is more.
Heavy-handed treatment is not only ineffective in treating soft tissue that’s strained or in spasm, but can perpetuate pain cycles and fail to stimulate the body’s healing response. When soft tissue is in spasm it requires a detailed yet subtle hands-on approach. The main features of the Neuromuscular approach are:
- Using gentle detailed strokes with moderate speed in only one direction at time. This is the most calming for both the nervous and muscular systems.
- Staying well within the patient’s comfort zone which is constantly monitored. (Often it’s necessary to deconstruct with the patient the “no pain, no gain” mentality which is not useful in this context.)
- Working the entire muscle including the belly, insertion and origin so that no ischemic tissues are missed.
Five Primary Causes of Pain
The Neuromuscular Method utilizes five primary guidelines for understanding and treating pain:
Ischemia - Lack of blood. Inadequate blood flow is caused by hypercontraction of the soft tissues.
Trigger Points - An area of low neurological activity in the muscles, that when stimulated or stressed, transforms into an area of high neurological activity with referred sensations (pain, tingling, numbness) to other parts of the body.
Nerve Compression/Entrapment - Pressure on a nerve by an osseous or cartilaginous structure or pressure on a nerve by soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia).
Structural Distortion - Imbalance in the muscular tonus system resulting in movement of the body off the coronal and midsagittal planes. This can result in complex muscular compensations throughout the body.
Biomechanical Dysfunction - Imbalance in the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns. This can result in problems with the joints and other types of strain.