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An in-depth look at how the body is connected
What is Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)?
Homeostasis is the term used for the body's ability to maintain internal stability. The goal of NMT is to achieve homeostasis between the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
NMT has its roots based in physiological laws and scientific principals. Through advanced techniques in specific applied pressure, range of motion stretches and knowledge of how the body is connected, a Neuromuscular Therapist is able to find the root source of an area bringing pain or imbalance and works to correct it.
This is not your traditional Swedish massage; every stroke and motion in the massage has very specific goals relating to the compensations your body has made to function while under duress. Rather than simply relaxing the muscles as a Swedish massage will achieve, a NMT massage will bring the body back into harmony or homeostasis with all the other systems in the body.
Is NMT Right For Me?
If you can answer YES to any of the following questions, you are a candidate for NMT:
Do you have chronic pain that has not ben relieved by other methods?
Have you had an injury/injuries that have caused pain and limitation in other areas of the body?
Do you feel tightness in your body amplify when your stress load increases?
Do old problems seem to flare up when you get sick or weather patterns change?
Does your work environment create a pattern of repetition, e.g. computer work, bending over, heavy lifting, driving, etc.?
Are you feeling the effects of spinal compression or a shift in the spinal column, e.g. scoliosis, sway back, etc.?
All of these issues along with many more can be relieved and even improved through NMT.
What should I expect in my first NMT massage session?
NMT sees the body as a whole, both the outside and the inside. You should expect to fill out an extensive medical history form that includes your day to day activities and your healthy living choices. Your therapist will also perform a postural assessment of your skeletal system. These evaluations will provide the necessary information to read external symptoms of an impaired nervous and muscular system. The following list will look at many areas your therapist can address in a typical NMT session:
An imbalance in the musculoskeletal system causes impaired mobility and eventually a shift in the framework itself. These imbalances contribute to a chain of muscular and fascia damage that span across the whole body. When your therapist indentifies and corrects the dysfunction, the body is able to restore balance.
Congenital conditions, overuse, disuse and trauma are some of the contributions of a distorted spine. Bringing the body to a correct posture is a key part of NMT treatment. When distortions come from an congenital source such as a club foot or severe scoliosis, NMT will help with the painful adaptations by keeping affected muscles and tissues healthy.
NERVE COMPRESSION AND ENTRAPMENT
Nerve compression is caused by bone pressing against a nerve. Nerve entrapment is caused by pressure on a nerve by soft tissue like muscle. Released affecting muscles pulling bone against nerves and likewise muscles and fascia entrapping nerves treat both of these issues.
Abnormal breathing patterns, poor posture and weak respiratory muscles decrease oxygen intake. A deficiency in oxygen creates ischemia and trigger points within the muscles. Releasing the diaphragm muscle, correcting shallow breathing patterns and breathing education are important tools for NMT treatment.
Trigger points form within muscle and fascia and create palatable knots. These knots develop from a lack of oxygen to an area that then sets up a chain reaction of events, which end in a buildup of calcium within the tissue that shortens the fibers and causes pain, impaired function and eventual atrophy. A "reset" of the shortened ischemic muscle will release the knot and relieve pain while muscle activation techniques can correct the shortened patterns and keep muscles healthy and responsive.
When tissues have limited or lack of blood flow they are ischemic. When blood flow is restricted in muscles and tissues, cells cannot process waste and will not receive proper nutrients. A massage from basic Swedish to NMT will always work to bring proper flow to ischemic muscles. This is the immediate you relief you feel after any massage work. The release of waste materials trapped in ischemic tissue and muscles is why water intake is key after any massage session.
ENVIROMENT AND ERGONOMICS
Repetition and overuse of muscles, aggravated by poor ergonomics and environment, set the muscles in shortened, lengthened and weak patterns. NMT works to correct these imbalanced patterns and establishes new healthy ones through a variety of methods, including muscle activation, stretching, myofacial release and trigger point therapy.
Stress relates to anything that brings the body out of homeostasis. This includes environmental and psychological factors. NMT looks to correct imbalance in the body so stress does not have a resounding domino effect within the systems. In the same manner, a controlled proactive approach to personal stress management is encouraged to keep the body in proper balance. Regular massage therapy can be a key foundation for maintaining homeostasis while giving stress release and relief.
Proper nutrition or lack thereof will stimulate or irritate the central nervous system. There are nutrients we take into our body that will contribute to our healing and regeneration and those that aggravate an inflammatory response in all of our systems including the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Proper nutrition is able to advance the speed of NMT work by increasing cell regeneration, decreasing stress at a cellular level and can take the body out of "survival" mode and into homeostasis.