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The Truth about Neurological Massage Therapy

June 23, 2016




Pain – it’s something that we all wish to avoid. But what if you can’t? What if every day you wake up and find yourself in pain and unable to freely move?

Well, when I started working with the  Bristol NeuroPhysio clinic, I found that there was a way of helping people like you, who suffer from pain or immobility. So with wanting to help people overcome their daily challenges, and gaining experience working  close with physiotherapists,  I decided to offer neurological massage therapy to my clients, in the hopes that I could improve people's quality of life.


What is neurological massage therapy?


Also called neuromuscular therapy (or NMT for those who love abbreviations), Neurological massage therapy is a modern approach to massage therapy. It focuses on understanding the way the neuromuscular system (this is a fancy name for the muscles of the body and the nerves supplying them) works.


This technique can help massage therapists – like me – to understand what causes your pain and whether it’s down to trigger points (sensitive areas in your muscle), posture, or an underlying condition. And because the nervous system controls muscle tension and the pain in your body, NMT allows me to treat your symptoms and address the causes.


Not convinced yet? Then let me explain further.


Who should try Neurological Massage Therapy?


Is this type of massage therapy for you? You’ll be surprised to know that NMT can help a variety of people who suffer from neurological conditions or spinal injuries.


The list below details all those who can benefit from NMT:

  • If you have a sport injury

  • Suffer from chronic pain – including back pain

  • Have Fibromyalgia

  • Suffer from alignment issues

  • Have spinal injuries

  • Had a stroke

  • Suffer from Parkinson’s

  • Have Multiple Sclerosis

  • Have Motor Neurone Disease

  • Have Spastic Paraplegia



The Difference between Spa Massages and Neurological Massage Therapy


Now, you can be forgiven for thinking that neuromuscular therapy is just another type of spa massage. But I can assure you that there is more to NMT than mood music, candles, and relaxation. Even though, you can still expect to get the same kind of benefits from this sessions.


So how do these two differ?

  • Neuromuscular therapy aims to relieve your pain and find the root cause; however, spa massages focus more on providing relaxation.

  • NMT can improve the quality of your life, for example, improved mobility.

  • The results of NMT last longer.

  • We, neuromuscular therapists, need more training and education. Unlike general massage therapists, we can’t start practicing straight after gaining our qualifications.

The History of Neurological Massage Therapy


To fully understand what neurological massage therapy is we need to look at its history. Neuromuscular therapy can be dated back to the 1930s where it was developed by Dr Stanley Lief.

Born in Latvia in 1892, Dr Stanley Lief became a Chiropractor and Naturopathic physician after he trained in the United States. He and his cousin, Boris Chaitow, experimented with neuromuscular treatments for muscular pain. And because the treatment worked well, NMT was used by osteopathic and sports therapy venues all over Europe.

However, the idea didn’t end with him. Over the years, other physicians, such as Dr Janet Travell further explored the therapy for it to become what it is today.


The Main Benefits of Neurological Massage Therapy


I have mentioned before that NMT can help those who suffer from neurological conditions or spinal injuries, but you still may be wondering exactly how this type of massage can help you. So, I have listed the benefits below.

  • NMT can give you independence and improve your mobility by reducing the side effects of immobility.

  • It can help to release the build-up of lactic acid. This then eases pain due to the improvement of the flow of oxygen to the tissues which speeds up the repair and recovery.

  • NMT can help to find and treat the sensitive areas in your muscle, which can prevent future build-up of muscle tension and pain.

  • It can release myofascial (this is the tissue around a muscle or organ) adhesions. NMT can also soften scar tissue, which can come from surgery, injury, or overuse.