What is Neuromuscular Massage?
Neuromuscular therapy is a specialized form of deep tissue massage in which digital (finger) pressure and friction are used to release areas of strain in the muscle. These areas of strain are called tender or trigger points and are the cause of muscular pain symptoms. Neuromuscular Massage Therapy (NMT) is highly effective for clients who present with chronic pain and is often successful in reducing or eliminating even longstanding painful conditions.
Muscles that are in spasm will be painful to the touch. The pain is caused by ischemic muscle tissue (muscle tissue lacking proper blood flow). This in turn creates the following undesirable process:
- Because the muscle is not receiving enough blood, the muscle is also not receiving enough oxygen
- The lack of oxygen causes the muscle to produce lactic acid
- The lactic acid makes the muscle feel sore following physical activity (especially important for athletes).
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Can Reduce Muscle Pain
Some of the techniques can also be applied to acute injuries (severe or intense) and for post-surgical care. Many help to improve performance in sport or dance and to prevent injuries due to these activities.
- Ischemia (tight tissue w/ reduced blood flow) (these muscles present as “hard” and can lack sensitivity with deeper pressure)
- Trigger/Tender points (hypersensitive points within muscles that produce referred pain patterns)
- Neural Entrapment (pressure on nerves by muscles and other soft tissues, i.e. carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Nerve Compression (pressure on nerves by osseous (bone tissue), cartilage or discs). (e. carpal tunnel syndrome, slipped or bulging disc, and spinal bone spurs).
- Postural Assessment (assessment of the body’s posture as a whole helps determine acute and chronic issues that may be aiding in the dysfunction or pain)
- Dysfunctional Gait Patterns (movement when walking)
- Constant consideration for many other preventative factors, such as hydration, nutrition, breathing patterns, and psychological stress.
After the muscles are relaxed, the lactic acid will be released and the muscle should start receiving enough blood and oxygen. This type of specialized therapy will feel painful at first, but the pressure of the massage should alleviate the muscle spasm. At this point, it’s extremely important to communicate with your therapist regarding pressure, (whether it’s too much, too little, getting better, or getting worse). Your therapist should listen and respond accordingly. It should feel like a “good pain” although sometimes it can be a challenge if the pain has settled and is chronic.
What to Expect AFTER Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
Following a neuromuscular therapy massage, any soreness that presents itself should fade after 24 to 36 hours. The muscles that were tight should remain noticeably more relaxed for 4 to 14 days, depending on level of stress. This is when it’s important to stay hydrated and keep moving so the lymphatic system can flush out the toxins (lactic acid and body’s waste products) so the muscles can receive fresh blood and lymph and reduce muscle soreness.
Neuromuscular Massage is a GREAT choice for reducing pain and treating a slew of muscle injuries. Many of my clients come to me for this modality and get relief relativity quick. If you would like to give me a try for your Neuromuscular Massage, I would be happy to oblige. You can also try my Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage, or Prenatal Massage as well. The great thing about massage therapy is that it can be customized to suit your needs, so don’t be afraid to communicate. I won’t bite, I promise 😉
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