NMT/Myofascial Massage




Myo, NMT, Trigger Point and Deep Tissue Massage

“You feel it as a sharp pain in your back or your neck, your hips or your legs, anywhere overstressed muscle can contract,” says Heidi Johnson, owner of Thrive Massage and Bodywork, one of Ann Arbor’s leading centers for trigger point therapy, myofascial release, ischemia relief and deep tissues massage.


“It may have come from hard physical training for your sport, but it is just as likely to be caused by long hours sitting in front of a computer. It may come while mowing the lawn or bending down to pick up your car keys or a backpack,” the Ann Arbor massage therapist continues.

“Even with pain relievers, the pain may persist,” she says. “And sometimes there are the unbearable headaches that may be caused by a trigger point muscle spasm.

“It is time for Neuromuscular Therapy from a highly trained NMT therapist.”

We recommend NMT/Myofascial Massage for: 

·      Low back pain

·      Limited mobility

·      Recovery from injuries (e.g. whiplash, falls)

·      Repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome

·      Postural problems

Your pain probably is being caused by a movement trauma in your muscles, tendons and connective tissue from at least one of these five causes.

  1. Ischemia:a sustained spasm causing a lack of blood supply to soft tissues with hypersensitivity at its touch point.
  2. Trigger Points:Highly irritated muscle tissue that is driving referred pain to other parts of the body. This may include headaches.
  3. Nerve Compression or Entrapment:Soft tissue, cartilage or bone causing sustained pressure and pain.
  4. Postural Distortion:Odd body movement off the longitudinal and horizontal planes that distorts the balance of your muscular system. This may be caused by a moment of inattention as you move, or a peculiar job task, or worn shoes, an aging joint, missing a step or stepping in a hole, or careless movement habits.
  5. Biomechanical Dysfunction:poor lifting habits during chores or at the gym, bad mechanics in a golf swing, tennis stroke or other athletic movement, sustained tension from playing certain musical instruments, or sustained computer keyboarding. Any of these can cause an imbalance of the musculoskeletal system.

How do we treat this at Thrive Massage and Bodywork?

“As a Neuromuscular Therapist, I am educated in the physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal systems while also mastering kinesiology and biomechanics and the functioning of the human nervous system,” the owner of Thrive Massage and Bodywork of Ann Arbor continues.

“We apply levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm using our fingers, fists, or elbow,” Heidi says. “Consistency is key: the pressure should not vary for ten to thirty seconds.

“NMT is a very specialized form of manual massage education to identify the pain source. Muscles in spasm will be sensitive to the touch because the muscle is lacking proper blood flow and oxygen, usually due to the muscle spasm. This oxygen restriction causes the muscle to produce higher levels of lactic acid during physical activity, and this is the pain you are feeling,” says the Ann Arbor NMNT massage therapist.

“By relaxing the muscle through massage, the affected muscle will begin to receive normal blood and oxygen flow and release the built up lactic acid,” Heidi continues. “If you have never experienced Neuromuscular Therapy, the massage will be unfamiliar at first. But we vare very sensitive to the pain in your afflicted muscle and work to alleviate the muscle spasm and its resulting pain while keeping you as comfortable as possible.

“As we perform this therapy, we will be talking with you about the afflicted area. Is the pressure too much or too little, is it getting better or worse? By adjusting our therapy to your experience, we are able to bring real relief not just to the symptoms of your pain but target the cause,” the Ann Arbor massage therapist says. “The goal is to eliminate pain and restore your normal strength and flexibility, whether you are a golfer, dancer, runner, swimmer, college athlete or weekend warrior, office worker or a mom,” says the massage therapist who is a mother of two and a business owner who also trains at the gym.

“Any soreness you experience should fade twenty-four to thirty-six hours after NMT,” Heidi reports. “Tight muscles are now noticeably more relaxed, depending on stress, activity level, and severity of back pain prior to beginning massage therapy, and this relief should last four to fourteen days.”

The Massage Therapists at Thrive have other deep tissue massage skills in their extensive toolboxes.

“Myofascial release, sometimes called ‘Myo’, is a different form of massage to treat muscle tension and pain,” explains the owner of Thrive Massage and Bodywork. “A thin, tough, elastic type of connective tissue called Fascia wraps around muscles. Overuse or overtraining, or conversely inactivity, can cause this tissue to become restricted and reduce blood flow. You experience muscle tension and pain,” continues the Ann Arbor massage therapist.

“Physicians and trainers tell you to get sufficient exercise, but how much is right for you? As you are recovering from your fitness experiments, we can help. We will perform Myo directly on your skin without oils or creams, enabling us to find your constrictions and apply just the right amount of sustained pressure to achieve a fascial release.

Read the Mayo Clinic write-up on myofascial release as an effective treatment for back pain.

“Clients seeking slow and steady massage for their painful areas appreciate the calmness of the Myo procedure with broad massage strokes from our forearms and elbows to bring soothing relief to those irritated and painful parts of your body,” Heidi continues.

“Returning to everything you enjoy and being able to perform the tasks you have to do is our goal for your massage therapy. Contact us at Thrive Massage Ann Arbor for your next massage!”