Neuromuscular massage (NMM) is a form of massage therapy, which is primarily focused on specific areas called the trigger points, rather than massaging the whole body. In general, fingertips, hands, and elbows are used to explore the tissues and apply direct pressure. At times, pressure is applied with the help of a small device called t-bar. Originated in England, this soft tissue massage technique aids in stabilizing Central Nervous System (CNS), to treat various health problems. The terms neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) and trigger point myotherapy are used interchangeably.
Neuromuscular Massage Therapy
According to the proponents, this massage therapy is effective in treating unusual tingling and numbness of limbs, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, and repetitive motion injury. A well-trained therapist works on the localized trigger points to stimulate blood circulation in the ischemic tissues, thereby releasing pain and spasms.
Pain in a muscle is due to spasm in a particular portion (not the entire muscle), which then propagates to other areas, leading to pain. The blood circulation to this affected muscle is decreased, causing lack of oxygen supply, and buildup of lactic acid overtime. The lactic acid deposition causes muscle spasms and soreness. This massage is aimed at alleviating muscle stress, and facilitating healing by applying concentrated pressure.
The certified therapist first warms up the soft tissues that require treatment, by employing regular massage techniques. It is an essential step before proceeding to the actual massage. He/she then finds out the affected tissue or the trigger point, from which the pain is originating. In some patients, locating trigger points take time, especially if they experience pain in other areas that are unrelated to the source of muscle pain.
In case of muscle spasms that affect the adjacent nerves, associated symptoms such as tingling and numbness are observed. The therapist tries to feel the intensity of numbing sensations manifested in other muscles. Following this, the therapist will apply gentle, yet concentrated pressure lasting for about 30 seconds over that particular area. The lactic acid buildup at the trigger point is dispersed, which restores the normal blood and oxygen supply to the tissues.
During the session, the patient may experience pain during the first few minutes, which will subside gradually. Muscle pain and soreness are neutralized by recurrent application of concentrated pressure over the trigger points. With this, blood flow to the affected area is restored and the tissues start functioning normally. Other notable benefits are trouble-free body movements or increased flexibility, restoration of correct body posture, and higher stamina.
These massages cure muscle spasms by giving increased pressure in specialized areas, which are missed out by general massage. It follows the holistic approach, whereby the affected body tissues are stimulated to heal on their own. Although some patients get relief from pain after a single massage session, others may need to go for repeated sessions in order to get the required benefits.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.