What is Neural Manipulation (NM)?
"Neural" refers to the nervous system of the body, which includes the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. This delicate system acts as a communication highway throughout the body, and when it is not operating properly, pain and loss of function can result. Neural Manipulation, or NM, identifies local nerve restrictions and fixations while examining their effects on the rest of the body. The application of the gentle NM techniques re-establishes communication in the body, and improves its ability to adapt and restore itself to optimal health.
What Does it Feel Like?
NM is a soft hands on manual therapy. Underneath the pain or diagnosis is a compenstory pattern created in the body with the initial source of the dysfunction often being far from where the pain is felt. Because of this, the practitioner searches for this pattern and the source, and treats the related tissues. The treatment is a gentle compression, mobilization and elongation of the soft tissues, and most specifically the nerves. As the source of a problem is released, symptoms will start to decrease. Reaction and response time can vary with each Neural Manipulation treatment.
What is Nerve Fixation?
In the body, a nerve functions correctly only when it is able to move freely within its surroundings. Nerves can become "fixed", or dysfunctional, due to many reasons: physical trauma, surgeries, sedentary lifestyle, infections, pollution, bad diet, poor posture and pregnancy/delivery. When "fixed", a nerve cannot glide and/or stretch as we move our body, causing sensitivity, pain, and reduced optimal health.
Optimal health relies on a harmonious relationship between the different systems of the body - such as the nerves/nervous system, organs and their support tissues, and other structures. When nerve fixation occurs in one location, the body is forced to compensate elsewhere. This disharmony creates wider spread restriction, abnormal points of tension, and chronic irritation that over time can add up to functional and structural problems - musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urinary, respiratory and digestive, to name a few.
An NM therapist identifies specific nerve fixations and their global impacts on the body. Through application of the gentle and specific NM techniques, the patient's body becomes less bound by dysfunctional patterns allowing it to achieve a better state of optimal health.
Importance of Proper Nerve Function
Your body is made up of many interrelated components such as bones, muscles, internal organs (viscera), thin connective tissue (fascia), and nerves. The Nervous System is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and a network of peripheral nerves. It serves as a communication and information system throughout the body and between all of its tissues. More specifically, peripheral nerves connect all tissues and organs with the brain and spinal cord. Did you know that in a split second, peripheral nerves send messages to the brain from a billion stimuli? This information exchange enables the brain to react quickly and accurately. This is just one example highlighting the need for your nerves to function properly.
As with other tissues and systems in the body, when the Nervous System becomes dysfunctional it will cause the body to protect or compensate to help that area. Neural dysfunction also diminishes the Nervous System's responsiveness to dysfunction in all other tissues, hindering the body's ability to utilize its own innate self-corrective capabilities. This makes the body's constant search for equilibrium more difficult.
A nerve only functions correctly when it is able to move freely within its surrounding structures. Neural Manipulation therapy can facilitate proper nerve conductivity and functionality with manual techniques. NM therapy identifies and releases dysfunctional tensions and pressures in the body, thus allowing the body to make a focused, healing response that in turn results in positive changes throughout the entire body.
In essence, NM therapy improves communication within the body thereby alleviating pain related to a dysfunction.
Neural Manipulation Benefits:
Lower Back Pain
Headaches & Migraines
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Post-operative Scar Tissue Pain
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Neuralgia & Neuritis
Sprains & Traumatic Lesions
How did Neural Manipulation Begin?
Jean-Pierre Barral is an Osteopath and Registered Physical Therapist from France. He initially developed Visceral Manipulation, a manual therapy focusing on the internal organs of the body, which he began teaching in the United States in 1985. In addition, Jean-Pierre Barral and Alain Croibier, also an Osteopath from France, began to further study trauma and the consequences of trauma on tissues of the body. They discovered that any trauma to the body impacts and elicits a reaction from the entire Nervous System.
As a result, they developed therapy techniques specific to the Nervous System, which led to "Neural Manipulation" being taught in the United States beginning in 1999.
Since then, Barral and Croibier have trained practitioners around the world in their Neural Manipulation techniques. They have also authored numerous textbooks on this subject for healthcare professionals, including Manual Therapy for the Peripheral Nerves, Manual Therapy for the Cranial Nerves and Visceral Vascular Manipulation.
Jean-Pierre Barral has also authored a book for the general public, Understanding the Messages of Your Body, which discusses the important link between our organs, emotion and health.