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My Journey to Becoming a NKT Practitioner

My Journey to becoming a “NKT” Practitioner

 

Recently, I have been concentrating my treatments with patients around this technique. Over the past 8 months, I have been learning a specific technique called “NKT”, or NeuroKinetic Therapy. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical of this technique when seeing it performed briefly at a RockTape seminar while in chiropractic school.  I then came across it again through social media about 9 months ago from another chiropractors Instagram post. I decided to look more into it and see what it was all about. As a practitioner, I think it is important evaluate any foreign or new technique or modality critically. But also keep an open mind, as we never have all the answers and the only thing a closed mind will do is limit ourselves to possibilities or modalities that may benefit our practice and our patients. Fortunately for me, the intrigue I had from doing some brief research of NKT led me to attend the introduction course in Philadelphia last fall.

 

What is Neurokinetic Therapy?

 

Neurokinetic Therapy was developed by David Weinstock, an expert Bodyworker who has been practicing Bodywork for over 35 years. He developed NKT while attempting to solve the age old question that many of us as patients (and wellness professionals) may eventually end up asking ourselves at some point: “Why do I come in with pain, go through a treatment session, leave pain-free or with significant improvement, and then return the next week with the same symptoms (often times over and over again)?”

 

In a nutshell, NKT is a technique that primarily looks at compensation/dysfunctional movement patterns from a motor control perspective. The Motor Control Center (MCC) of the brain is located in the cerebellum. This part of the brain stores our movement patterns. The motor control center stores these patterns and directs their completion through the spinal cord and the muscles. Our brains learn movement from the day we are born. Most of these primary patterns are learned within our first year of life.

 

An example of this MCC center in action is when a baby is learning to stand. Each time the baby tries to stand and falls (ie. “fail”) the motor control center learns the successful aspects of each attempt. When that program contains enough “correct” information, the baby is finally able to stand.

Throughout our lifetime, most of us have experienced some type of injury. We may have broken an arm, sprained an ankle, have a scar from getting cut, a car accident, etc. Also, throughout life we tend to have repeated habits and activities (aka sitting at work!) All of these events lead to the creation, or learning of a faulty movement pattern. You probably don’t even know you have them! Most of us don’t become conscious of these issues until there is pain involved.  

Movement occurs when multiple muscles work together. But what happens when one muscle (or multiple muscles) do not have a solid connection to your brain? Compensation! Dysfunction! This usually presents itself as pain and tightness.  What if your lower back muscles were tight, but actually were “weak”. Would you want to stretch and release them?? You may feel some short term relief. But I bet you the pain or tightness keeps coming back!

 

NKT utilizes manual muscle testing to identify and address compensation patterns in which muscles may test weak (or inhibited) and as a result of that “weakness”, other muscles are forced to work harder and become overactive (or facilitated).  These muscle tests are not really testing “strength.” It is testing the ability to react as a neurologic response. It is testing how well you connect to your brain. Think about using your cell phone in a remote area where you only have poor reception. Obviously, you wouldn’t throw away your iPhone X! You would just move to another area for better reception. We are testing the “reception” aspect of your nervous system.

 

The manual muscle testing in NKT can be looked at as the key to “retrain” the MCC to elicit lasting change in movement patterns. The MCC is open to learning most effectively by failure. This happens when we discover a muscle test that results as “weak.” This “weak” muscle may or may not be where your pain is located. It may not even hurt at all. NKT practitioners live by these words: “Don’t chase pain!”.

 

The result of the NKT protocol is to “turn off” the muscle that is overworking by a stretch or soft tissue and to “turn on” the muscle that is underworking by activating it through an exercise.

If we have discovered the right relationship, you should immediately notice a difference in a reduction of pain, less tightness, more range of motion, etc. However, part of this process does require some extra “homework”. With any new movement, it needs to be repeated in order to become fully engrained.

 

NeuroKinetic Therapy has become a game changer for myself as a practitioner. I have found tremendous success with this new technique in a very short period of time. However, there is still much to learn and practice with this protocol. It takes time to master the intuitive skill of muscle palpation and manual muscle testing. Finally, it should be stated that NKT does not solve everything.  It does have its limits. At the same time, NKT can be extremely useful in solving many lingering issues that may keep returning time and time again. Come see me and find out what NKT can do for you!

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