Neuromuscular massage therapy is a specialized form of manual massage in which digital pressure and friction are used to releases areas of strain in a muscle. Strain areas are called tender or trigger points, and they tend to be the cause of ongoing muscular pain symptoms. These trigger points are small areas of the muscle in which there is a contracture of tissue, and the lack of blood and nutrients in that area causes an inability for that muscle to relax. The area is hypersensitive and can cause pain, fatigue and weakness in the muscle. Trigger points can lead to referral pain, which refers to a phenomenon in which areas far away from the trigger point experience sensations of pain, tingling or numbness.
Neuromuscular massage therapy involves applying alternating levels of concentrated pressure to the trigger point – usually using the fingers, knuckles or elbow. Once applied, the pressure should not not vary for 10 to 30 seconds.
Neuromuscular Massage vs. Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage is a form of massage that is generally used to address muscle aches and pains associated with daily stress. Deep tissue massage is usually administered on an on-off basis whenever a client decides they need a bit of extra relaxation and rest.
Neuromuscular massage techniques, on the other hand, are medical in nature. The manual therapy techniques are highly-specialized and are designed to correct pain and movement dysfunction by treating trigger points, muscle adhesions and connective tissue patterns. The problems are normally caused by a specific trauma, repetitive movements or even bad posture. Neuromuscular massage is considered an ongoing treatment – not just something a person does whenever they feel a bit achy.
What Does Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Treat?
Some of the medical issues for which neuromuscular massage can be an appropriate treatment include:
- Low back pain
- Upper back pain
- Carpal tunnel-like symptoms
- Sciatica-like symptoms
- Calf cramps
- Plantar fasciitis
- Knee pain
- Jaw pain
- Tempomandibular joint pain (TMJ disorders)
- Hip pain
- Iliotibial band friction syndrome
What Are The Neuromuscular Therapy Massage Benefits?
In general, patients who undergo neuromuscular massage therapy can experience the following benefits:
- Reduced or complete elimination of pain
- Higher levels of flexibility and strength
- Increased ease and efficiency of movement
- Better posture
- Balanced musculoskeletal and nervous systems
- Improved blood circulation
- Lower levels of body toxins
- Higher levels of energy and vitality
Why Pursue a Career in Neuromuscular Massage Therapy?
Although helping patients be the best versions of themselves is a rewarding prospect, but there has to be something in it for you as well. Luckily, a career in massage therapy and obtaining a neuromuscular massage certification can be very rewarding and enjoyable. Here are just a few benefits you can keep in mind:
Flexible scheduling. One of the best things about pursuing a career in massage therapy is the opportunity to create your own schedule. You can have your own business, choose to work with someone else, or do a combination of both. It’s entirely up to you.
Opportunity to travel. As a massage therapist, especially one certified in neuromuscular massage, you can work in a variety of different states and health settings. Spas, resorts, cruise ships and other settings are just some of the exciting places a career in massage therapy can take you.
Improved atmosphere. Working in a hospital or clinical setting with a traditional medical job is very different from working in a massage clinic setting. You can be your own boss and not have to deal with as much bureaucracy. Additionally, working in a massage clinic is general more pleasant and less rigid than a traditional clinical setting.
Be your own boss. This point cannot be stressed enough – you have a world of opportunity as a massage therapist. You have the opportunity to start your own practice and choose your own path in this career.
An expedited career path. Becoming a traditional medical doctor can take many years – four in medical school and then between three and seven years in residency. Becoming a Massage Therapist takes just 12 months.
Obtaining a Neuromuscular Massage Certification
The American Institute of Alternative Medicine (AIAM) has been offering training and holistic skills for 20 years – making the program one of the longest-running massage programs in the Midwest. Prospective employers look for a neuromuscular massage specialization when hiring new therapists, and AIAM instructors focus on this specialty. You can also expect to learn key business skills and professionalism through the program, which sets you up for a rewarding, long-lasting career as a licensed massage therapist.