A technique that applies pressure to specific points, facilitating a release of the surrounding muscle tissue. More…
Neuromuscular therapy, or NMT (sometimes called trigger point therapy), is based on the work of Janet Travell, M.D., who first discovered and mapped out common trigger points around the body with her patients. Trigger points are tight nodes of bunched up tissue within a muscle (or “knots”). A trigger point generally has referral pain in the surrounding area. Often, however, the pain will refer to seemingly unrelated areas. For instance, a trigger point in the tissue on the top of the shoulder where it meets the neck will often refer pain up into the eye socket causing tension headaches.
In neuromuscular therapy, the therapist applies pressure directly to a trigger point, generally for about 30-60 seconds. The point will slowly shift and release. The client may feel the referred pain from the point more intensely at first, and then it lessens, and often disappears completely as the point releases. The entire muscle, which has been contracted to keep pressure off of the trigger point, then has a chance to relax.
Clients generally report an “ah-ha” or a “yes! right there!” reaction to having a therapist find and release a trigger point. A therapist who is very familiar with common trigger points, and the areas that these points refer pain to, can often provide a client with immediate relief to chronic pain by knowing just where to focus pressure.