Neurokinetic Therapy: What is it and why it’s changing the way we muscle test.

logo-nkt-singleI recently had the pleasure of going down to Melbourne to undertake the level one course for Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT). My interest in this type of assessment and treatment began when I started to take more of an interest in the biomechanics of physiotherapy rather than just the manual therapy approaches we are mainly taught in our university degrees.

NKT is a way of manual muscle testing and is used with a specific 7 step protocol specifically designed to stimulate the body-mind complex to resolve injury and pain. Unlike other therapeutic approaches that treat only the symptoms, NKT aims to go to the source of the problem by reprogramming dysfunctional movement patterns. The protocol also looks for compensatory patterns or muscular imbalances that your brain may have learned in order to complete everyday tasks.

The muscle testing does not look at the ‘strength’ of a muscle but more the neurological ‘availability’ of the muscle. In other words – I’m asking your body to turn a certain muscle on without the help of others and without using other compensation patterns. This is very different to the more traditional way in which physios are taught to test for muscle strength. The more traditional ways can give the patient opportunities to cheat and ‘pass’ a test by using other muscles, breath holding, jaw clenching etc.

To stretch or strengthen a muscle? : Do you have muscles in your body that no matter how many times you stretch them, they just keep tightening up again? The NKT protocol aims to highlight how sometimes these muscles actually need to be strengthened rather than stretched. Perhaps this persistent tightness is actually the muscle asking for some stability and by continually stretching it you are actually making the problem worse. A good example of this is the upper traps (office workers I’m looking at you!) and the hamstrings. But – as my favourite NKT quote goes – “Don’t just guess, test!”. No two bodies are the same and if we use a ‘recipe’ formula, people will fall through the cracks.

My KNT journey has only just begun and I’m looking at becoming certified for level 1 in the next few months. What I love about NKT is the ability to solve peoples long standing injuries/aches and pains. So, if this sounds like something that interests you come in and get assessed!