Naturopathic Manipulative Therapy

IMA newsletter article

Naturopathic Manipulative Therapy or NMT, is a distinctive method of touch used to re-establish balance in the neuromuscular and skeletal systems. NMT (probably more aptly named “neuromuscular therapy”) is based on the idea that dysfunction must be alleviated in both the joints and muscles of the body in order for long lasting benefits to be attained. This means that if a joint in the low back is not moving properly, we correct that joint dysfunction, but also ensure that the surrounding support musculature is working correctly. NMT uses a combination of techniques including, but not limited to, manipulation of dysfunctional joints, massage, physical therapy techniques, muscular re-education, home exercise programs, and certain physiotherapy modalities (i.e., ultrasound, interferential current, hot/cold, etc.). This method of therapy is practiced by many different practitioners including ND?s, MD?s, D.O.?s, and D.C.?s (although semantically it may be called different things with various practitioners due to the laws surrounding licensure).

Who Can Benefit From NMT? Nearly every form of musculoskeletal dysfunction can benefit from NMT (barring significant traumatic injury). Anyone with joint or muscle aches/pains (for whatever reason), headaches, specific Sports/Fitness needs may benefit from this therapy. People who simply want ideas for prevention (i.e., preventing bone loss, maintaining core strength and preventing injury, flexibility etc.), or for those simply interested in therapeutic touch, could benefit from NMT. I have been passionate about physical medicine since my first rotation in medical school.

What I found is that this technique is very effective at giving patients relief from their pain, and the results tend to be long-lasting (with the correct education before they leave the office). One of my specialities is in the Sports Medicine arena, but I also treat the other areas listed above. Check with your specific insurance plans about coverage (Be sure to check about Naturopathic Medicine), as this technique usually gets grouped with physical therapy or chiropractic benefits.

—Christopher M. Valley ND

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