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Neuromuscular Therapy

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a very specialized form of manual therapy. A therapist trained in NMT is educated in the physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal systems. The Neuromuscular Therapist also is educated in kinesiology and biomechanics and how to work in a clinical or medical environment.

By definition, Neuromuscular Therapy is the utilization of static pressure on specific Myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement, function and thought) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural distortion or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction. It is therefore necessary to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.

Neuromuscular Therapy will be used to address five elements that cause pain:

1. Ischemia: Lack of blood supply to soft tissues which causes hypersensitivity to touch
2. Trigger Points:Highly irritated points in muscles which refer pain to other parts of the body
3. Nerve Compression or Entrapment:Pressure on a nerve by soft tissue, cartilage or bone
4. Postural Distortion: Imbalance of the muscular system resulting from the movement of the body off the longitudinal and horizontal planes
5. Biomechanical Dysfunction: Imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns (i.e., poor lifting habits, bad mechanics in a golf swing of tennis stroke, computer keyboarding)

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral – Cranio refers to the cranium, which is the bony part of the head. Sacral refers to the bony bottom of the spine called the sacrum. In the 1900s Dr. William Sutherland, an osteopathic physician, discovered cranio movement. In the 1970s Dr. John Upledger, an osteopathic doctor, helped to further Sutherland’s discovery as both an evaluative tool and a corrective one. Craniosacral therapy is a light touch manipulation of the head and bottom of the spine to restore optimal cerebrospinal fluid movement. It can be especially useful in treating headaches, eye and ear problems, jaw problems, whiplash and back pain.

Craniosacral therapy is a holistic healing practice that uses very light touching to balance the craniosacral system in the body, which includes the bones, nerves, fluids, and connective tissues of the cranium and spinal area.

According to Dr. John Upledger, Craniosacral therapy is ideally suited for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, headaches, chronic middle ear infection, pain, and general health maintenance. It is recommended for autism, fibromyalgia, heart disease, osteoarthritis, pneumonia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic sinus infections, and gastroenteritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach or small intestine). It is also used with other therapies to treat chronic fatigue syndrome, back pain, and menstrual irregularity. In addition, other Craniosacral practitioners have reported benefits for eye dysfunction, dyslexia, depression, motor coordination difficulties, temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD), hyperactivity, colic, asthma in babies, floppy baby syndrome, whiplash, cerebral palsy, certain birth defects, and other central nervous system disorders.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep Tissue Massage focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue and connective tissue (fascia) within the body. This type of massage is used to release chronic muscle tension in the body, using slower strokes and deep pressure applied directly to areas that are contracted or tight. It can also be used to break up scar tissue, thereby increasing movement and mobility.

Deep tissue massage usually focuses on specific areas of the body rather than an all-over massage. It is especially helpful for chronic aches and pain such as a stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.

When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement.

In a study by Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs. Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.

Deep tissue massage may result in muscle soreness or tenderness during or immediately after the massage. However, if the massage is done correctly, you should feel better than ever within a day or two. Your massage therapist may recommend icing any painful areas. Because many toxins are released during the massage, it’s important to drink plenty of water after a deep-tissue session to help eliminate these toxins from the body.

Sports Massage

Sports Massage is a special form of massage and is typically used before, during, and after athletic events. The purpose of the massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries.

Purpose of Sports Massage
The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. The massage will help prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. Sports massage can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether a person is an athlete or a once a week jogger.

Benefits of Sports Massage
Sports massage has many benefits. In addition to feeling good, sports massage reduces the heart rate and blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, reduces muscle tension, improves flexibility, and relieves pain. Each sport and athletic event uses muscle groups in a different way.

Sports Massage can also include pre-event, post-event and maintenance techniques that promote greater athletic endurance and performance lessen chances of injury and reduce recovery time.

Active Isolated Stretching: This stretching modality incorporates a process called reciprocal inhibition to stretch the muscle as well as increase kinesthetic awareness of the body.

Benefits of stretching

Most aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause your muscles to contract and flex. That’s why regular stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program. Consider this:

  • Stretching increases flexibility. Flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring.
  • Stretching improves range of motion of your joints. Good range of motion keeps you in better balance, which will help keep you mobile and less prone to falls ? and the related injuries ? especially as you age.
  • Stretching improves circulation. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles. Improved circulation can speed recovery after muscle injuries.
  • Stretching can relieve stress. Stretching relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress.

Prenatal Massage

Prenatal massage, or massage given during pregnancy, is designed to help relax tense muscles, ease pain, and improve circulation and mobility. According to the American Pregnancy Association, prenatal massage can help improve overall prenatal health.

Studies have shown that prenatal massage not only helps ease muscle aches and joint pain, but can also decrease symptoms of depression, reduce anxiety, regulate hormones, and even improve labor outcomes and the health of your newborn baby.

Prenatal massage can also help decrease the edema, or swelling, that some women experience during pregnancy, and can help relieve sciatic nerve pain common in late pregnancy.

Prenatal massage should only be done by a trained, certified massage therapist, and should be tailored to specifically address the discomfort you may feel as your body changes with pregnancy.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release is a type of hands-on, full-body therapy that uses deep, sustained pressure to gently release areas of connective tissue called fascia. This very specialized treatment method that looks at treating your entire body, helping to restore balance and relieve pain.

The body has an entire network of fascia that connects and surrounds every muscle, organ, cell and system in your body. When the fascia becomes constricted or tight, it can cause pain, decreased range of motion, decreased circulation, and other physical symptoms.

By releasing the restrictions in the fascia throughout the body, myofascial release therapy helps improve your health down to the cellular level by increasing function, improving blood flow and nutrition to the muscles, and decreasing or eliminating pain.


Reflexology is a hands-on therapy that applies pressure and other small movements to specific points on the feet. The therapy is based on the principle that the foot, divided in reflex zones, is a mirror image of the body. Each reflex zone corresponds to a part of the body. Specific manipulation and pressure of these zones reduces and eliminates blockages in corresponding glands, organs and other parts of the body.

Reflexology involves kneading the soft ball of the foot, pulling on the toes, pushing deep into the arch, and other small, intense movements. These treatments help break up crystal-like deposits around the reflex points, promoting optimal organ function and relaxation of the body, while promoting a wonderful overall state of being.

Reflexology can be very relaxing. It is also thought to promote a number of health benefits:

Improves blood circulation and activates lymph drainage
Assists in elimination of toxins
Strengthens the immune system and harmonizes vital functions
Enables a deep state of relaxation and wellbeing
Decreases stress and tension
In addition, reflexology can help patients who are suffering with pain from ankle injuries, plantar fasciitis, and everyday muscle aches and strains. This ancient form of therapy is known to promote the body’s own healing powers, and is suitable for any age group, from babies to senior citizens.

Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.  We are located in Duluth, GA, and serve the surrounding areas including:  Lawrenceville, Suwanee, John’s Creek, Alpharetta, Norcross, and the Atlanta Metro Area.

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Pernille Stephens, CNMT/, CST-D/, LMT
Duluth Neuromuscular Therapy
(Johns Creek Chiropractic and Wellness)

6385 McGinnis Ferry Rd, Suite 201
Johns Creek, GA 30005

Phone: 678.591.8848