Total Therapy Blog
Neurokinetic Therapy® from a Kinesiologist’s perspective.
As a kinesiologist, much of my day is spent working with my clients through the stages of muscle stabilization, strength, and endurance. If I were to stop my job description here, it would be like pressing “brew” on the coffee machine without adding the grinds, and we all know how poorly that turns out. Equally important, and possibly even more important to developing a program for my clients, is a proper assessment (adding the grinds!). By analyzing movement patterns and muscle activation I can create a better picture of the whole pattern taking place. This assessment part of my practice is where Neurokinetic Therapy® has come to have its influence.
Neurokinetic Therapy®, founded by David Weinstock, uses manual muscle testing to determine areas of muscle imbalance in the body. Through application of release techniques and corrective exercises, NKT reduces pain by restoring the body to functional, efficient movement. The technique addresses pain by targeting it at the source: the motor control center of the brain. Our motor control center stores movement patterns and is responsible for carrying them out through the spinal cord, nerves, and muscles. If we sustain an injury, the motor control center also helps us out by finding an alternate movement pattern that avoids further stressing the injured structure. I tip my hat to the intelligence of this system as it can help us avoid further damage in the short term. However, once the injured tissue has healed, it’s common for these alternate movement patterns to persist leading to dysfunction and pain. In this situation, NKT can be used to help retrain our motor control center and bring us back to proper, functional, and efficient movement patterns.
I often get people complaining to me of their chronically annoying, tight *insert muscle name here*. What they may not realize is that muscle tightness can act as a protective mechanism to provide more stability to a structure. By stretching out the muscle, you can take the stability out of the system and potentially increase the risk of injury. You might even find that after stretching out your tight muscle, it bounces back and becomes even tighter. And no, I’m not about to go on to tell you that stretching is bad. Stretching is a great way to release a muscle and as a hands off therapist it is my goto technique. However, if you take stability out of a system, you have to put it back in somewhere else. By application of NKT’s technique of release followed by corrective exercise, we simply move the stability through the system to where it provides the most efficient movement pattern. In this way, Neurokinetic Therapy® has become a very useful tool to help me to find and treat patterns of muscle imbalance.