Neuromuscular Massage vs Deep Tissue – What’s the Difference?

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Dealing with chronic pain, muscle tightness, or restricted range of motion? There is something that can help, and it’s not a pill. Most know the benefits of massage therapy. But you may not be familiar with a particular method—neuromuscular massage. 


Neuromuscular massage is a specialized technique that targets the connections between the nervous system and muscular system. In this blog post, we’ll explain what neuromuscular massage is, who can benefit from it, and how it differs from other massage therapies.

What is Neuromuscular Massage?


Neuromuscular massage is a type of deep tissue massage that focuses on individual muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. The goal is to improve the function of nerves and muscles by applying targeted pressure to release knots and tension.


Unlike regular massage, neuromuscular massage requires advanced training, skill, and certification. Therapists must have an in-depth knowledge of physiology to understand the relationship between muscles, nerves, and movement. Proper body mechanics and precise hand placement are critical for targeting the intended tissues without causing further pain or injury.


A certified massage therapist performing neuromuscular massage will first do an assessment beforehand to identify problem areas. They will then use their fingers, thumbs, elbows, and forearms to apply concentrated pressure to contracted areas and release myofascial restrictions. Slow, measured strokes are used to relax the soft tissues and stretch the muscle fibers.

Benefits of Neuromuscular Massage Therapy

Neuromuscular massage offers numerous benefits beyond general relaxation. Some of the key advantages include:

  • Pain reduction – By releasing contracted muscle fibers and restoring normal nerve activity, neuromuscular massage can alleviate chronic aches and pains. It’s especially helpful for back, neck, and shoulder pain.

  • Improved posture – When muscles shorten due to trigger points and spasms, it can pull the body out of alignment. Neuromuscular massage elongates the tissues to improve posture.

  • Increased flexibility – The firm pressure and stretching applied during a neuromuscular massage increases range of motion. This enhanced flexibility reduces injury risk.

  • Enhanced healing – The increased blood flow and reduced spasms brought on by neuromuscular massage therapy promotes healing after an injury.

  • Preventing injury – By identifying muscle imbalances and restrictions, neuromuscular massage can prevent overuse injuries in athletes. It also helps rehabilitate existing injuries.

Regular neuromuscular massage can keep your muscular and nervous systems functioning optimally. The targeted nature of this treatment means results are often achieved much faster than with generic massage techniques.

Neuromuscular Massage vs. Deep Tissue Massage


While neuromuscular massage is a type of deep tissue massage, important distinctions exist between the two. Deep tissue massage applies firm pressure across large areas of muscle. It works to relieve general tension, but lacks the precision of neuromuscular techniques.



Neuromuscular massage is tailored to individual problem areas and dysfunctions. The therapist applies focused pressure to specific tender and knotted spots to restore muscle balance. Their advanced knowledge of physiology and kinesiology allows them to treat issues at the root.



It’s crucial to seek out a properly trained neuromuscular therapist. Only therapists certified in neuromuscular therapy have the skills to identify restrictions and treat them without causing further damage. Attempting these specialized techniques without proper training can result in ineffective treatment or even injury.

Book a Neuromuscular Massage Today

If pain or tightness is limiting your mobility, neuromuscular massage may be the solution. The targeted nature of this technique eliminates trigger points, eases muscle tension, and gets to the root of soft tissue dysfunction. By restoring normal nerve signaling and muscle movements, neuromuscular therapy can provide lasting relief from chronic issues.


Ron Jarvis is a certified neuromuscular massage therapist and works with athletes, those suffering from chronic pain, and more. He will conduct an assessment and design a customized treatment plan to help you regain your quality of life. Contact First Coast Neuromuscular Massage today to book your session.