Your body can get stuck in patterns of pain and dysfunction. David Weinstock, who has practiced and taught manual therapy techniques since 1973, created NeuroKinetic Therapy to help his patients get out of chronic pain when nothing else was working for them.

NeuroKinetic Therapy® was developed in part due to my frustration with the impermanent results obtained by my clients. I found I was treating symptoms, not causes. Although my clients loved my work and got relief, some of them came back virtually the same. Clearly something was missing. That component turned out to be motor control therapy.

I incorporated manual muscle testing into my work in the early 1980s. Jocelyn Oliver later introduced me to her concept of muscle compensation. By testing and retesting muscles in specific relation to each other, I learned that muscles become chronically tight to brace for weaker or inhibited muscles. Now, I was getting closer to understanding the cause of these unresolved conditions.

A student suggested a book by Vernon Brooks titled The Neural Basis of Motor Control, and I learned about the hierarchy of motor control. Here’s an example that demonstrates the process.

Let’s say I want to get a cookie (albeit healthy) off the top shelf. Before my hand can reach up there and grasp it, many things have to happen in a chain of command. First, the limbic system demands, “Fill my needs.” Next, the cerebral cortex says, “Take this route.” Then the motor control center, where all movement patterns are coordinated, says, “Do it this way now.”

That message is sent to the spine, whose command is, “Do it!” Finally, all of this neural information arrives at the muscles, where “doing it” actually occurs.

The NeuroKinetic Therapy corrective movement system is based on the premise that when an injury has occurred, certain muscles shut down or become inhibited, forcing other muscles to become overworked. By applying light pressure that the client then resists, the practitioner can evaluate the strength or weakness of each muscle, revealing the sources of injury and retraining the client’s body to remove the compensation patterns.

Changing You Movement Patterns

NeuroKinetic Therapy is a technique that not only recognizes the importance of motor control theory, it utilizes it to make significant changes in movement patterns.

One example is when a baby is learning to stand. Through many attempts and failures the baby finally achieves success. But how? The failures are important. With each failure, the motor control center in the brain is “lit up” for new learning. The motor control center, organizes all body movement and patterns. With each attempt, some aspect of success is achieved and assimilated. Finally, the baby learns to stand. The successful information is now programmed in the motor control center.

Now let's look at another example. When one is injured, dysfunctional patterns get stored. For example, in whiplash the neck extensor muscles become extremely tight and painful. Massage, stretching, etc., may have little or no effect. This pattern can endure forever unless there is some intervention.

Why? The motor control center has now stored in its memory the fact that the neck flexors are weak and vulnerable. How is it going to keep the head upright? It chooses to keep the neck extensors tight to support the weight of the head. The neck extensors will remain locked until the pattern is cleared using the NeuroKinetic Therapy or a similar protocol.

Adapted from: NeuroKinetic Therapy®: An Innovative Approach to Manual Muscle Testing by David Weinstock. © 2010 by David Weinstock.

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