The Truth about Neurological Massage Therapy

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.

  • Like a normal massage, NMT can reduce your stress levels, anxiety, and tension.

  • NMT can improve your quality of life by allowing you to become more mobile and independent.

The Neurological Massage Therapy Technique

So, what can you expect to happen when you have a neuromuscular massage? Let’s start with the actual massage. The massage is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, and forearms – if your massage therapist starts using their feet you’re getting the wrong kind of massage.

Different levels of pressure are then applied to the areas that cause the most distress.

The massage might feel slightly painful, but, the pressure of the massage should ease the muscle spasm. However, if the pressure feels too painful, then you should alert your massage therapist so they can reduce the pressure they are applying. In general, many clients call the pain a ‘good pain’.

After you’ve had your massage, you may feel some soreness, but that should fade after twenty-four to thirty-six hours. And the positive effects of the massage should be felt for four to fourteen days. But this depends on your stress levels, correct posture and condition. That why there is importance of maintenance plan to help you manage your health and wellbeing.

So, as you can see, NMT is an ideal treatment that can help you to fight pain and immobility, and improve your life. There are many of us massage therapists out there who can help you.

I, at Bristol Mobile Massage, offer a mobile service which allows me to treat people who are bed bound, in a wheelchair, or have reduced mobility. If you would like to know more about what I offer, please see the Neurological massage therapy page on my website.

Whatever you do, please seek help. You don’t need to suffer in silence.

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