The terms “neuromuscular massage” refer to a style of bodywork that uses constant, focused pressure on a specific area. This pressure is applied for a period of time lasting up to 30 seconds and uses the fingertips, knuckles, elbow, or possibly a small tool called a t-bar.
NMT is based on the following premise: Muscle spasm does not have to involve the entire muscle. There can be small areas of spasm that refer, or transfer, pain to another area. These areas are called trigger points because they trigger a pain reaction in a different spot from where the spasm is located.
What the NMT practitioner does is apply continuous pressure to the trigger point for a fairly long period of time, until they determine through their own touch and feedback from the client that the spasm has released. Sometimes the effects are immediate and the client feels the pain resolve right away; at other times it may take up to a day or two for the residual soreness to subside.
Obviously this can be a very intense technique; it is meant to be used for serious pain. If a client has a lot of trigger points it can take more than one session to treat them all.
NMT can be used for the following conditions, as well as many others: – low back pain and stiffness – neck pain and stiffness – headaches – repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and temporomandibular joint syndrome – athletic injuries – problems with numbness and tingling in the extremities (arms, legs, hands, or feet).
Of course the primary effect of NMT – and the desired one – is pain relief. But other effects include improved flexibility and range of motion, better posture, more balanced muscle tone and increased energy. So if you have problems with chronic pain or other symptoms that might be coming from muscle spasm, but other forms of massage have not helped much, you might want to consider neuromuscular therapy. Its intensity can be worth it.