What is Neuromuscular Therapy?
Sometimes referred to as Medical Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy is an educated approach to addressing compromised tissues and employs a wide array of techniques aimed at helping the body to realign and heal itself. Our neuromuscular focus is on balancing tight vs. taught patterns and bringing balance back to the system. In order to achieve this goal we must also remove adhesions within the body’s structures. A firm understanding of anatomy and kinesiology are required as well as employment of multiple techniques. NMT techniques involve activating weak muscle groups and sedating over-powering muscle groups.
Neurologically, the body is designed to activate a muscle or muscle group that is required to accomplish the desired task. This muscle or group is referred to as the Agonist or Prime Mover. While the Prime Mover is active, the neuromuscular system must relax the opposing muscle or group known as the Antagonist, usually on the opposite side of the joint being moved. This mechanism allows for movement around a joint. When this process does not occur as it is designed, weak or painful movement may occur. If both groups of muscles fire at the same time, the joint may jam and no movement occurs. Imbalances in muscle firing patterns can cause postural deviations such as scoliosis, improper fit of femoral head in the hip socket, or forward head postures.
These deviations create strain and torsion on joints and can contribute to joint damage such as arthritis, bulging or herniated disks or degeneration of hip or shoulder joints that lead to joint replacements. Additional examples of uneven neuromuscular firing include cramps and spasms such as a “Charlie-horses”, anterior or posterior pelvic tilts, chronic pain patterns including sciatic nerve pain, Sacro-Iliac (SI) Joint instability or pain, Carpal Tunnel pain, TMJ disorders, Whiplash, Thoracic Inlet-Outlet disorders, “frozen shoulder”, sub-occipital pain, headaches and more.
Compliance from the client to maintain a routine treatment schedule and home activities is imperative to achieving results. The client will be asked to perform active and resistive exercises during and after the sessions. This service is therapeutic in nature and is for the individual with injuries, chronic pain patterns, structural imbalances or neuromuscular pathologies. It is recommended that the client appoints for a consultation along with the first treatment or when a commitment is made to any therapy and wellness sessions. During this consultation, short term and long term goals will be set and postural analysis may be made. Frequency and duration of sessions, home care and financial obligations will be discussed.
Imbalances did not occur in an hour and they take longer than an hour to correct. Healing is a process, not an event. Be patient with your body realizing that the dysfunction likely existed long before symptoms appeared. It is always better to attempt to maintain health rather than trying to fix it once it is compromised. Routine bodywork sessions are a helpful tool. Once dysfunction does occur, it is imperative that treatment be frequent enough to avoid old patterns from re-establishing. If your body initially holds the work for 5 days, we want to set your return treatment for 3-4 days, to avoid 2 steps forward and two steps back. If we wait beyond that time period we will always be starting in the same place and reaching the same level of remediation, never progressing beyond it. Waiting 3 days allows us to pick up where we left off or only one step back so that forward progress is made. Once your body begins to hold the treatments beyond the initial 4-5 days, our sessions begin to spread out as well.
There are several methodologies of bodywork treatment plans such as a 10 session protocol. I do not follow these “systems” as one size does not fit all. There is no way to measure how many sessions it will actually take for each individual as there are too many variables and each person heals differently. Sometimes 1 session works and sometimes it takes 30. Once we begin down the path of a treatment plan, I will constantly evaluate progress and response to specific therapies and adjust as necessary to achieve the best possible result. Communication is important as the client plays an active role in this process.