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Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) Seminar

This weekend I attended my first Neuromuscular Therapy seminar, focusing on the torso and pelvis. There are 4 courses (upper extremity, lower extremity, pelvis/torso, cervical/cranium) that need to be taken before one can test to become NMT certified.

The courses are conducted by the NMT Center (aka NMT American Version) and are based on the teachings of Judith DeLany. Those who have read things that I have written elsewhere may recognize that name as I have recommended two books that she co-authored with Leon Chaitow, Clinical Application of Neuromuscular Techniques Volume 1, Upper Extremity and Volume 2, Lower Extremity. Both books are a MUST HAVE if you are in this industry.

Neuromuscular therapy is a type of massage/manual therapy, which addresses the causes of neuromuscular pain patterns. It is a very specific type of massage and is centered around six factors that may create pain:

1. Ischemia
2. Trigger Points
3. Nerve Entrapment/Compression
4. Postural Distortions
5. Nutrition
6. Emotional Well Being

This weekend we focused on the muscles of the pelvis and torso (specifically those muscles which attach to the axial skeleton). Teacher Don Kelley was excellent. He had a lot of education and experience and it came through in his lectures, demonstrations and instruction of how to properly treat the body’s soft tissue. There were two things that Don said that I felt were incredibly professional and honest. The first was the fact that “There are lots of different types of soft tissue treatment and ALL of them are effective. NMT is one tool but it is not the only tool.” I felt that was important because often when I attend seminars (and I have attended a ton), no matter what field (massage, strength and conditioning, or nutrition) the speakers will often times speak as if what there are presenting is the ONLY way to do things. The speakers can be very dogmatic and very defensive of the way they do things, failing to acknowledge that there is more than one way to skin a cat. The second thing that Don said that struck me was when he told us, “I don’t tell you stories about people that I have helped to make you think that I am some great therapist that can help anyone. I tell them simply to show you how powerful this type of work can be. In all honesty, there are a percentage of people that I help, a percentage of people that I can manage their pain better than other health care professionals, and a percentage of people that I can’t help at all.” I really appreciated the honesty in that statement as again, when attending seminars, lecturers will go out of their way to talk about and tell you stories about those that they have helped or “cured”, and they fail to give you the honest truth and say “While I can get some really great results, it doesn’t work all the time.”

This type of work is highly specific and is incredibly valuable for anyone who works in a rehabilitation setting, with people who have pain or faulty movement/posture. This work is also extremely helpful if you are working in a sports performance setting as athletes beat their bodies down like no one else and need this sort of specific soft tissue work to address their issues.

Whether you are a massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor or doctor, if you are serious about helping people, I highly recommend the courses from the NMT Center as part of your continuing education.


Well, after 2 weeks of continuing education (Friday-Sunday this weekend and Thursday-Sunday last weekend) and being totally sleep deprived from staying up to watch all the Olympic action, I realize I have not had much time to post regular blog entries. This week I hope to get back on track and post some information on movement training (based on some things I have been doing with a few teenaged girls soccer teams I have been working with) and reporting on some research on interval training for karate athletes (since everyone seems to be so into mixed martial arts these days). As always, I welcome reader’s questions, so feel free to send them in!