What is Neuromuscular Massage Therapy?
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy treats the underlying causes of chronic muscle pain, often brought on by neuromuscular disorders like cerebral palsy or osteoporosis. The origins of neuromuscular therapy can be traced back to Ayurvedic medicine.
It was a technique established in Europe in the 1930s by two Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, Boris Chaitow and Stanley Lief, the latter of whom emphasized the method of gentle massaging of areas of muscular pain, stemming from tightness in the soft tissues.
Later, the practice made its way to North America.
Neuromuscular massage therapy techniques are highly specialized and are designed to regularly treat ongoing neuromuscular disorders by paying attention to patients’ ‘trigger points’, or sources of pain. It is said to be more medical in nature than Swedish or myofascial massages.
What does it treat?
Neuromuscular Massage therapy sort of does what it says on the tin: it treats the medical ailments of the body associated with muscular and tendon pain, soreness, discomfort, and general malaise. Neuromuscular therapy is not usually attended by those with short-term muscular aches and pain; they go for a Swedish or myofascial massage instead. Neuromuscular massages deal specifically with the areas of muscular discomfort that are caused by neuromuscular disorders.
What Are Some of the Benefits of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy?
There are many benefits to neuromuscular massage therapy techniques, though, for those suffering from long-term neuromuscular conditions, these benefits will require long-term, in some cases lifelong treatments, multiple times per week, or per month. So much so that a failure to follow up with regular massages will cause a recurrence of symptoms that the massage helps to mitigate. For example, patients suffering from cerebral palsy will experience spasticity in their muscles at a far greater rate when they are not receiving regular massages.
Neuromuscular massage therapy can help patients in all sorts of ways, from increasing their movement and mobility – particularly important for those with neuromuscular disorders, looking for an increased quality-of-life – to helping blood flow and thereby helping energy levels, decreasing fatigue, etc. Further benefits of massage therapy include higher levels of flexibility and strength – significant for those whose muscles do not get a lot of regular exercise due to their conditions.
For those with chronic neuromuscular disorders, the benefits of regular massage therapy can be life-changing. For example, sometimes, people suffering from cerebral palsy may experience spasticity in the muscles at the top of their neck, near the top of the spine, and the base of the brain. This increased pressure can often lead to chronic headaches. A concentrated effort by a trained neuromuscular massage therapist — who will often apply direct pressure to what is essentially a giant muscle knot — can eliminate the pain for several days, alongside the other medications that the individual patient may or may not be utilizing.
For many with chronic illnesses, not getting to a massage appointment can mean the difference between days-long bouts of chronic pain, or a relatively pain-free week. Properly done, neuromuscular massage therapy changes people’s lives.