Our students learn a diverse array of effective techniques throughout their massage therapy education. Popular techniques such as Swedish massage and lymphatic drainage are developed, as well as another important technique: neuromuscular massage. Each modality offers different benefits to patients and are used for specific purposes. Lymphatic drainage, for example, is used to help stimulate lymph vessels and drain the lymph system of built up waste. Neuromuscular massage, on the other hand, is a precise and thorough treatment of the body's soft tissues, muscles and ligaments, integrating an understanding of the body's nervous system to work on painful areas without causing further pain.
What exactly is neuromuscular massage and how does it help patients? Read on to find out.
The word neuromuscular can be broken down into two components: neuro – meaning nerves, and muscular – muscles. Neuromuscular therapy is the “science by which homeostasis is brought about between the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system”. In application, it addresses trigger points, ischemia, nerve compression/entrapment, postural distortion and biomechanical dysfunction to enhance balanced function of the body.
Trigger points are highly irritated points in a patients' muscles that trigger pain in other parts of the body. They may occur due to:
These problems can cause muscle tissues to contract and tighten into painful “knots” while the rest of the muscle is stretched thin. These knots are highly sensitive to touch and can be very painful for patients.
Another key feature of trigger points is that they can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in another area of the body – known as referral pain. Different trigger points can cause pain in different areas. The trapezius muscle, for example, can cause headaches and pain along the temples.
Neuromuscular massage requires identifying underlying causes of pain and addressing them at their source. Therefore, when a patient mentions pain in one area of the body, professionals with massage therapy certification know to check for trigger points that might be causing referral pain.
Massage therapists use the communication skills they acquired in their therapeutic massage program to make sure that patients feel at ease. They encourage their patient to provide feedback throughout the massage so that they know if their patient is feeling too much discomfort or if they would like more pressure applied to a trigger point.
Anyone can develop a trigger point if they overexert a muscle by not lifting a heavy object properly or if they do a repetitive action like a golf swing incorrectly.
In addition, patients with bad posture might benefit from neuromuscular massage, as chronic stress to one area of their body might eventually cause their muscles to tighten painfully.
Are you interested in learning more about neuromuscular massage? Why not visit our website to see if the OVCMT massage therapist diploma program is the right fit for you!