Big Nerdy Words?!?!
Updated: Sep 24, 2019
Compensations, Neural Connectivity, Facilitation, Inhibition, Functional Movement!
What in the world are you talking about? This is the thought running through some people's mind as I begin to explain Neurokinetic Therapy. I am going to start referring to it as Gold Standard Therapy, because I am scheduled out for more continuing education classes in the next year that will bring in new additions to an already stellar line up with NKT, Orthopedic Massage; soft tissue joint work and Primal Movement; stimulating global movement abilities (think icing on the cake that makes your brain happy with all of it's decadence).
When I first opened up my massage business over 6 years ago, I knew from the start that I wanted to provide my client's with a resolution to their pain. I wanted to offer the best possible therapy that I could find. Not just for a select few individuals but a therapy for the people, hardworking people that want to have their issues addressed in a non-invasive med free way. this therapy is not for everyone but it is for those that want to learn how to better care for their body and are willing to participate in their self care.
Now let's get back to those big words.
In my office I am a problem solver. I listen to what kind of pain my client is and has been experiencing. I ask a lot of questions about their history. Our history of injuries, trauma/stressful life events, car accidents, surgeries, major falls, health and back alley knife fights (ok that one is a long stretch, but when I hear that story, just know my eyes might bulge out of my head like Roger Rabbit).
To start solving the pain puzzle I use a series of movement assessments and then manual muscle testing in specific regions. Yes it is different from massage because you are active. I am looking for how the brain is interacting with the muscles and which ones are the primary players in it's compensation pattern.
Did you know that movements happen because a series of muscles are orchestrated into action using a pattern known as a kinetic chain? I like to think of kinetic chains like an electrical circuit, when a segment in the circuit is missing or not connected correctly the light bulb does not turn on. Well in a kinetic chain when the brain fails to neurally connect and activate a muscle, the movement still happens but it happens because it has created a compensation. At this point one muscle is neurally inhibited (under-working missing link) while another muscle is facilitated (overworking picking up the slack).
Compensations have nothing to do with how strong we are, in fact the neural response is best found with a small light force of movement and light pressure from the therapist. The bonus to this is it shows the client how effortless brain engagement should be to make a movement happen. Finding a compensation is all about seeing the quality of the neural connectivity (think electric circuit).
Compensations are not bad things, we move in and out of them on a regular basis. Think back to your last all out leg day, you know the one that made you question whether or not going to the bathroom was a high priority. The workouts that force you to lower your body down while holding on to the wall or sink because your thighs are crying out, at this moment you are in a state of compensation, leaving other muscles to pick up the slack for those burning crying slabs of meat. If you keep repeating the same work out, the repetition can be the glitch in the system that makes the compensation stick. There are many reasons our body creates compensations. Our brain is merely trying to keep us mobile a structurally safe.
The compensations can be corrected once they are found using the NKT protocol. Home self care is vital to a successful correction. The corrections take just a few minutes to complete. Knowing that you have the ability to quite the pain signalling may change your outlook on pain. I know several of my clients have report confidence and change in understanding their bodies. Pain really should be seen as a teaching moment to care for our bodies.
You can read more about NKT here: