Massage & Bodywork

May/June 2013

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positioning. A DNM practitioner may also develop novel applications to fit the needs of the moment, or use therapy tape to increase functional and pain-relieving benefits. 1. When a leg muscle spasms, place one or both hands on the skin around that part of the leg. 2. Get a soft but secure grip; do not press into the affected muscle(s). 3. Gently twist the skin around that portion of the leg as if sliding it around the spasm. 4. Feel for a rapid decrease in the muscle spasm. If this does not occur within a few seconds, gently twist the skin in the opposite direction around the leg. 5. Feel for a rapid decrease in the muscle spasm. When it seems to have passed, continue holding the skin for another 30–60 seconds. 6. Gently release the skin. Move and stretch the affected area. The examples provided here are easily incorporated into nearly any massage. Many more DNM applications exist for addressing pain and tension throughout the whole body. Some are performed with clients in a side-lying position; some incorporate bolsters, wedges, or more complex client DNM and Massage In my practice, DNM has revolutionized the way I work with clients suffering from chronic and/ or complex pain problems, sports performance concerns, and chronic tension patterns. Educating my pain clients helps them manage their symptoms. Educating athletes about the basic neurology of their performance concerns is an important step toward improvement. Educating my chronic-tension clients about how their central nervous system may respond well to lighter, targeted work makes it easier for them to understand that it really is possible to experience lasting change and long-term relief. When clients are new to DNM, I talk to them about the technique during the client intake. When I use DNM during a session (sometimes it is the only method used), clients usually remain aware and responsive, though many mention feeling a deep sense of relaxation. I may have clients verbally confirm the presence of tender points as I palpate, then give feedback once I have begun to stretch their skin. Most are surprised by how quickly pain and tension dissipate. Athletes are pleased when their flexibility and strength improve. Clients for whom traditional massage is contraindicated are happy to find a method that is safe and effective for them. However, DNM is not a magic method that miraculously works on everyone. For example, "wind-up pain" (in which spinal nerve roots become increasingly sensitive to stimuli) may contraindicate DNM (and most other methods of massage or manual therapies). DNM is not very effective for fibromyalgia, nor does it significantly reduce the pain of acute new injuries requiring medical treatment, such as tears or fractures. DNM may reduce the pain associated with conditions like arthritis and tendinitis, but those clients may also need other forms of therapy to achieve maximum results. DNM is a great fit for massage therapists who wish to improve their understanding of pain and tension patterns and conditions. Spaoriented massage therapists may find that DNM is a profoundly relaxing addition to their skill set, particularly for challenging clients. For those who specialize in orthopedic, sports, or other massage niche markets, DNM provides a powerful means of leveraging knowledge into real results, even with stubborn cases that previously failed to respond. Note 1. Anne E. Jacobs et al., eds., Stedman's Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing, 5th ed. (Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005), 673. Jason Erickson has practiced dermoneuromodulation since 2010. He is a certified massage therapist, personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, and an advanced Active Isolated Stretching practitioner. Erickson co-owns Keep In Touch Massage ( in Eagan, Minnesota. He can be reached at See what benefits await you. 97

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