What is Neurokinetic Therapy?
This modality works really well with physio in Ottawa
Why Consider Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT)?
This type of therapy is natural, and it is often described as a powerful healing methodology. The purpose is to get to the root of acute and chronic muscular pain and tightness and then working with the brain’s motor control center to relieve it. One of the principle founders known as David Weinstock says that it is a treatment that is cost effective and quick for permanently rehabilitating certain injuries.
This method may help you get results concerning correcting poor posture or misalignment, enhancing athletic performance, and preventing future injury. Unlike many medical treatments, NKT does not treat the symptoms, but the actual cause of the dysfunctional movement. It addresses the patterns of dysfunctional movement in the brain so that any discomfort, pain and compensation are healed. It also works to restore functional movement.
This therapy is often used by Chiropractors in Ottawa and various massage techniques as a healing bodywork modality. It is becoming more popular in various types of rehabilitative settings for treating chronic pain and injuries. It is a highly precise and targeted approach that is able to identify the offending muscle so that the proper area of the body is treated.
People around the world are taking advantage of NKT for a number of issues that are common, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and various running injuries. Dysfunctional muscle compensations often make these problems even worse, making it more difficult for you to continue on with everyday tasks and your favorite activities. The muscle compensations may be triggered by many factors, such as using improper form when you exercise, trauma, or compensating when you are lifting something or doing day to day activities.
Uses and Benefits
People of all ages may benefit from neurokinetic therapy. This includes people who are very active and those who are sedentary. This therapy may be used as part of a treatment regimen for a number of conditions and injuries, such as:
• Impact or trauma injuries, such as motor vehicle accidents
• Jaw and neck pain, such as with TMJ or whiplash
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Plantar fasciitis
• Pain associated with using improper form when exercising
• Low back pain
• Injuries, such as tears, strains and pulls of the muscles and other soft tissues of the body
• Tendinitis and bursitis
There are multiple benefits using this therapy. It is able to reduce tension and pain associated with overworked muscles. Overuse can result in compensation patterns. Following a trauma, it is common to guard an injured area while recovering. This too results in compensation patterns and NKT is able to alleviate these by retraining the muscles after they heal.
Athletes may turn to NKT to aid with correcting poor form, inefficiency, and improving performance. For example, when a runner is using compensation patterns, they are at a higher risk for several conditions, such as heel spurs, mechanical hip pain, pre-arthritic pain and plantar fasciitis. When athletes utilize NKT, they can reduce the risk of activity-related injuries as well as:
• Improve posture, balance and coordination
• Increase strength, stamina and range of motion
• Reduced muscle spasms
• Less muscle fatigue with faster muscle recovery
When a muscle is injured, a cascade of events is initiated. These events can lead to the pain and other symptoms that often accompany muscle injuries. The events include an inflammatory response, where cytosolic enzymes appear in the serum, free radical damage occurs, and phagocytosis takes place within the damaged muscle sarcomeres. This technique seeks out to identify the injured muscle so that you and the practitioner can be sure that the source of your problems is targeted.
This therapy is considered to be both a rehabilitative technique and an assessment tool. It begins with sessions where the practitioner works to test your muscles. This is important because to know which underlying muscle functions are contributing to your discomfort, your practitioner needs to pinpoint them using localized muscle testing.
Therapy localization, or manual muscle testing, is done to evaluate muscle strength. There is a very specific protocol to identify which body part is contributing to injury or pain. In many cases, it is the muscle relationship that is problematic. This is because when a muscle is inhibited, the corresponding or opposite muscle has to work harder.
The testing phase can be difficult because the practitioner needs to differentiate between a muscle being actually strong and it just appearing strong because it is compensating for a weak muscle. They will start by testing the muscle they suspect is causing the problems due to weakness and then they will test the muscle suspected to be strong.
The overall goal of testing is to find the precise, localized area where compensation is happening. From here, the practitioner will be able to reset the weak muscle, release the tight muscle and reprogram the relationship between both muscles.
Once the proper muscle is identified, deep tissue release is used. This technique is able to reach the deeper layers of fascia and muscle via slow strokes and firm pressure. There are two primary techniques:
• Friction: This helps to realign muscle fibers and release adhesions by applying pressure across a muscle’s grain.
• Stripping: This technique goes along a muscle fiber’s length using gliding, deep pressure with the elbow, knuckles, forearm or thumbs.
This is widely used for muscular ailments and injuries. It is one of the most common complementary techniques for low back pain, osteoarthritis and neck pain. It may also benefit fibromyalgia, headaches and relaxation.
Origins and Basis
In the mid-1980s, David Weinstock introduced neurokinetic therapy. The basis of this therapy is a combination of the touch for health approach and applied kinesiology. When utilizing applied kinesiology, the practitioner will use generalized muscle testing as a way to see how your body reacts to various ideas, substances, etc. One common test is to have you hold your arm out in front of your body where your shoulder, elbow and wrist are in line with each other. He or she will then try to push your arm down to test your strength.
Weinstock, through his research and testing, discovered that when using a generalized test where clients tested strong, certain specific and individual muscle tests would still show weakness. When the client had discomfort or pain, or when they had experienced trauma, the weakness was observed more often than not. He also discovered that some muscles that initially tested as strong would test weak right after the client used another muscle. The weaknesses were present even long after the client’s body had healed from past trauma.
All of this information led Weinstock to theorize that the cerebellum area of the brain was storing these compensation patterns. This brain area is responsible for your motor skills, as it holds all of the information needed for your muscles and body movements. For example, when you go to take a drink of water from a cup, you do not have to consciously control your arm to do this. It just knows to grab the glass and bring it to your mouth.
When you are injured, you may alter your movements to protect yourself and reduce pain and discomfort. As you continue to do these altered movements, your cerebellum can store this information and essentially view it as how you are supposed to move. These are how compensation patterns develop. After the injury heals, your cerebellum is still telling your muscles to move in this compensation pattern. These patterns might be used by your body to avoid pain, as a response to trauma or to assist fatigued muscles.
Compensation patterns are not normal and once your body no longer needs them as a protective measure, they can do more harm than good. The involved muscles are inhibited, and this can lead to weakening over time. With NKT, the practitioner will identify the muscles involved in compensation patterns. Once this is done, they are able to help you to correct it.
There are two steps involved in the process of alleviating a compensation pattern. First, the muscle testing is done and every time you fail a test, the body is being alerted to the fact that there is a problem. Your cerebellum then essentially goes into learning mode so that it is able to relearn how to tell that muscle how to properly move.
The next step is using stretching and massage to relax the affected muscle. With time and regular NKT, the weak muscle reestablishes a working and uninhibited connection to your cerebellum. It will cleanly fire the right signals and you will pass the muscle test since the muscle will be restored to normal function.