Neuromuscular therapy

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Neuromuscular therapy (NMT) is an approach to soft tissue manual therapy in which quasi-static pressure is applied to soft tissue to stimulate skeletal striated muscle.[clarification needed][citation needed] Often these areas of muscle are myofascial trigger points. NMT practitioners claim to balance the central nervous system (brain, spinal column and nerves) with the structure and form of the musculoskeletal system.[vague][citation needed]

Through applied knowledge of trigger points, neuromuscular therapy addresses postural distortion (poor posture), biomechanical dysfunction, nerve compression syndrome, and ischemia.

In NMT, one must apply manual pressure perpendicular to the skin surface if muscle is to be stimulated.[1]


During the last several decades, neuromuscular therapy (NMT) has emerged as a significant methodology for assessing, treating and preventing soft tissue injuries and chronic pain. NMT, a series of manual treatment protocols based on the practitioner's skill, anatomy knowledge and precise palpatory application, has found its home, not only in the treatment rooms of massage therapy, but also in occupational and physical therapy, nursing, naturopathic, chiropractic, osteopathic and physical medicine clinics worldwide, as well as in many forward-looking Primary Care practices.

Between the mid-1930s and early 1940s, European-style neuromuscular techniques (as NMT is called in Europe) first emerged, was developed by Stanley Lief and Boris Chaitow. These cousins, trained in osteopathy and naturopathy, studied with teachers like Dewanchand Varma and Bernarr Macfadden and integrated assessment and treatment steps for soft tissue dysfunction. Their practice of NMT was set in Lief's health resort, Champneys, at Tring in Hertfordshire, England where they were presented with a wide variety of conditions on which to test their theories and methods. Many osteopaths and naturopaths, including Peter Lief, Brian Youngs, Terry Moule, Leon Chaitow and others, have taken part in the evolution and development of European neuromuscular techniques. NMT, now taught widely in osteopathic and sports massage settings in Britain, forms an elective module on the Bachelor of Science (BSc(Hons)) degree courses in Complementary Health Sciences at the University of Westminster, London, a program developed (in part) by Leon Chaitow, DO.

In 1996, a landmark event for American NMT occurred when NMT American version was overviewed in Leon Chaitow's Modern Neuromuscular Techniques, as contributed by Judith DeLany. This significant text was the first to offer both the European and American methods within the same volume. Chaitow and DeLany have since published three definitive texts integrating the American and European versions of NMT. Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques, Vols. 1 & 2, with accompanying Case Study Exercises, which aims to standardize the training of NMT techniques.


  1. ^ Bereznick DE, Ross JK, McGill SM (2002). "The frictional properties at the thoracic skin-fascia interface: implications in spine manipulation.". Clin Biomech 17 (4): 297–303. doi:10.1016/S0021-9290(02)00014-3. PMID 12034123.