A Brief History of Precision Neuromuscular Therapy (PNMT)

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) goes back far into the history of manual therapy, originating from several pioneers in both Europe and the United States. In Europe, there was Johan H. Kellgren, M.D., a physician who first discovered that trigger points (TrP’s) have common referral patterns using injection techniques. He injected non-symptomatic patients and found that the majority felt the same referral patterns. His work was largely ignored until Janet G. Travell, M.D., a physician in the U.S., read about it years later. She then researched the concept of TrP’s being a cause of referred musculoskeletal pain. Also in the U.S., was Raymond L. Nimmo, D.C., a chiropractor who developed a treatment technique called the Receptor-Tonus (RT) technique. However, rather than focusing specifically on NMT and the beginning in both countries, my primary goal here is to give a brief history of Precision Neuromuscular Therapy (PNMT), which is the field of medical massage that I am certified in.

PNMT’s roots, founded by Douglas Nelson, stem from the works of Paul St. John, Raymond Nimmo, Janet Travell, and Johan Kellgren; each built on the work from the person before. Doug started working as a massage therapist in 1978. He studied with and over time taught for Paul St. John; eventually leaving his teaching career so he could focus his attention on the growth of his clinic and to continue working with professional sports teams. Over time, his longing to teach again was fueled by numerous requests, but he knew he wanted to take a different approach. Specifically, “One that was much more grounded in science and could stand up to critical investigation by other professions.” With that, he coined PNMT… An approach to NMT that is more precise; hence the term Precision Neuromuscular Therapy.

He added various forms of orthopedic testing and verification tests to help massage therapists narrow exactly the cause of pain. Much more emphasis was put on red flags—areas not to treat—that would be better dealt with by another medical professional. In Doug’s words, “PNMT is now much less a modality than it is an approach to treatment of musculoskeletal pain. Rather than be tied to a certain treatment technique, PNMT is committed only to the end result. We measure accurately, treat precisely, and aim for stellar results. If the results are less than remarkable, we switch strategies rather than doing the same technique harder or longer than the first time.”

PNMT is the real deal. Not only have I been able to help hundreds of people become pain-free again (check out some of my testimonials here), but it also helped me to become pain-free—via the hands of Bill Neff—a little over six years ago after having suffered from low back pain for over ten years.

Stay tuned for more information on this non-invasive technique that has helped so many!

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me