Neuromuscular therapy is a bodywork technique used primarily to asses and correct postural distortions within the body and retrain the muscles on correct alignment and movement patterns. This type of therapy is utilised by massage therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and osteopaths to correct postural distortions and bring relief of chronic pain for clients.
A neuromuscular massage as performed by a Licensed Massage Therapist varies in depth of pressure, passive and active movement (client moving the muscle or therapist), and what other modalities are used in conjunction with NMT (neuromuscular therapy). Each school of massage has their own way of teaching NMT; however, every therapist should know the basics of NMT and how it can benefit their client.
Neuromuscular therapy can also be described as a deep tissue technique because it works through the layers of muscle and fascia (a thixotropic connective tissue that wraps around muscles, individual muscle fibres and layers between muscle and skin) to bring deep relief to chronically tight or taught muscles.
While the basic Swedish style massage focuses on relaxation and flow, a neuromuscular massage will feel deeper and include focus on muscles that can contribute to a postural distortion rather than just the muscles that are in pain. If a client presents with rounded shoulders and just wants work on their understandably painful back and rhomboids, a neuromuscular therapist will also suggest working on the front to the body to relieve the tension on the back of their body.
In the case of a rounded forward posture, contributing muscles can include pectorals,coracobrachialis, diaphragm, iliopsoas, and the scalene/ scm neck muscles. All of these muscles contract and tighten down on the front of the body during daily activities of sitting, typing, carrying, reaching, driving etc. to give a chronically rounded posture and thus cause pain between the shoulders, neck, and mid to low back. It is a Licensed Massage Therapist’s job to understand this relationship between the front and back of the body and take a holistic approach in their clients care rather than treating them as separate entities.
A relaxation massage is a wonderful thing to receive but if you are suffering from a chronic issue or you can never seem to get relief from your painful shoulders, back, neck etc. then think about asking your Licensed Massage Therapist to add in some neuromuscular techniques to correct these issues and bring your posture back into alignment.