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What Is Neuromuscular Massage Therapy (NMT) & Why Is It Needed

Neuromuscular massage therapy (NMT) is a specialized form of manual therapy which integrates specific techniques, including flexibility stretching to remove the neuromuscular pain.

NMT can include many techniques, and one of the most used is trigger point myotherapy. Neuromuscular massage focuses on the five elements which cause pain – nerve compression, decreased blood flow, biomechanical dysfunction, postural distortion, and trigger points.

Originally brought into the United States in the 1930s, neuromuscular massage is used to manipulate muscles, tendons, and other connective tissues to re-establish balance within the body’s central nervous system. This holistic approach to relieving chronic pain utilizes therapy steps which are relatively easy to learn so they can be applied as soon as training has been completed.

Neuromuscular Massage Therapy done on a woman's back legs

Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Sessions

Neuromuscular therapists should start their initial session by asking patients about their medical history and discuss their current lifestyle, stress levels, and physical condition so that they can devise a plan for treatment. By applying concentrated pressure with knuckles, fingers, or elbows on painful areas, a neuromuscular therapist will be able to locate tender or numb areas called trigger points.

Commonly caused by things like poor posture, repetitive motion, or an injury or stress, trigger points are pea-sized knots or restrictions in the muscular tissue. Stronger and more localized massage of each of these trigger points causes relaxation of the muscles and joints by releasing lactic acid and increasing the flow of oxygen and blood.

One of the main differences from general deep tissue massage is that neuromuscular massage sessions may not include a full-body massage as treatment is focused on the specific area of discomfort. The process of neuromuscular massage also looks at the muscles and structures which feed into the painful trigger point. Massage therapists can then reduce the intensity of the referral pain, which often includes sensations like tingling or numbness.

Neuromuscular Trigger Points

These trigger points are actually microscopic spasms formed at neuromuscular junctions where muscles communicate with the body’s central nervous system. A muscle with these trigger points will ultimately become painful, dysfunctional, and weak, often leading to other, more serious injury. Because the symptoms created by trigger points can often mimic more serious conditions, massage therapists are taught a thorough assessment procedure which helps differentiate between myofascial dysfunctions or trigger points and other clinical injuries or dysfunctions.

Benefits Of Neuromuscular Massage For Therapists

The principles of neuromuscular massage are based entirely on learning how to understand how the body works and where different pain originates from. By releasing the pressure from trigger points, massage therapists can increase their accuracy to achieve faster results for their patients, which also helps them build a rapport.

Neuromuscular massage also reduces deep tissue work on areas where it isn’t needed, because applying deep pressure blindly on the tissue can cause it to tighten, possibly injuring both client and massage therapist alike. Ultimately, therapists can benefit majorly from learning neuromuscular massage therapy because it allows them to work smarter, not harder to achieve reliable results.

If you want to know more, get in touch with our team today.

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