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NeuroKinetic Therapy: A Powerful Tool in Your Therapeutic Arsenal

By: | Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 | Comments 6

As a movement educator, I am always eager to learn about new modalities that will help me help my students and clients live better in their body. When I heard that the NeuroKinetic Therapy training would be offered in Dubai, where I live, I jumped at the opportunity to further my studies and gain a clearer understanding of assessing dysfunctional movement patterns and how to address them.

This practical, hands on training, runs over the course of two-days and is a fantastic complement to the work we do as Yoga Tune Up® teachers. In a nutshell, NKT relies on muscle testing – more accurately it is the function of the muscle that is being tested – to identify the root cause of a faulty movement pattern and correct it by reprogramming the motor control center located in the cerebellum.

Dubai-based NKT teacher trainer Keith Littlewood sums it up best, “NKT allows you understand which tissues are causing problems in specific patterns of movement. Instead of just going in and releasing tissue because it is problematic. NKT has evolved to ask questions of the body so that you apply a treatment to a specific tissue and pattern and not just generally, which is what many modalities often do.”

Over the two days, Keith demonstrated a variety of muscle tests, including the core, neck and upper and lower extremities. The aim of the tests is to find where a compensation exists – which muscle is facilitated and which is inhibited. Once the connection is made (and it’s not always easy to find it and sometimes requires serious investigative work and patience), the facilitated muscle is released and the inhibited muscle activated. The practitioner can then retest the relationship to see if the weak muscle now tests strong after treatment. If the change sticks – for example after asking the client to move around or challenging him with an exercise – then homework is given that includes a release and corrective exercise to be repeated several times daily to re-enforce the new movement pattern.

NKT forces you to think critically and to move away from cookie cutter explanations and solutions. As Rolfing founder Ida Rolf said: “where it is, it ain’t!” I experienced so many ah-ha moments during those two days and even had a hard time believing some of the results I witnessed. One of the course attendees who was suffering with plantar fasciitis walked up and down the room without any pain after a few minutes – really a few minutes! – of work on his lower leg. Another classmate who couldn’t squat properly did it wonderfully once her C-section scar was released. It was amazing and beautiful to see these people, both movement educators, achieve their full potential with movements that are so simple, but proved so difficult because of an existing dysfunction.


Yoga Tune Up® teachers work hard and play hard (by taking more training).

Our scope of practice as Yoga Tune Up® teachers fits very well with NKT. We can use the Roll Model therapy balls for release and YTU movements as corrective exercise. I am so excited that Yoga Tune Up® and NKT have decided to team up to offer a one day course on May 6 that’s opened to the NKT community only. The training, titled “Release Techniques for Non-Manual Practitioners: NKT Meets The Roll Model Method®,” will offer therapy ball techniques to work with facilitated and inhibited muscles as well as modifications in application of hands-off help.

I recently became a certified Level 1 NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) practitioner and I am looking forward to taking level 2 in Dubai in the fall. Until then I am practicing and learning. Sometimes I find a connection and am able to help my clients (and wow them at the same time, which is always nice), and other times, well, I investigate and investigate but I can’t quite put my finger on it! When that happens, I let my intuition take over, and it usually serves me well! As David Weinstock said in one of his trainings, using the NKT protocols doesn’t mean you can’t use your intuition!

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About This Author

Having contracted a major case of wanderlust, Emilie has traveled the world, working as journalist, and now lives Dubai. After a second surgery on her spine, Emilie followed a lengthy Pilates rehabilitation program and, amazed by the results in her own body, became a comprehensively trained Pilates instructor in 2008. Emilie has taught in Thailand, South Africa, Dubai and in San Francisco. Emilie is an E-RYT and has completed her trainings with YogaWorks and Yoga Tree San Francisco, before earning her Yoga Tune Up® certification from Jill Miller. She has also spent hundreds of hours assisting her mentor Harvey Deutch PT at RedHawk Physical Therapy clinic in San Francisco, in teacher trainings, and on retreats at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. She has also recently participated in a week-long cadaver dissection workshop with Gil Hedley of Integral Anatomy. Emilie is the Lifestyle Editor for Women's Health & Fitness Middle East where she contributes a variety of articles and columns ranging from fitness and wellness, inspirational stories and nutrition. Blending dynamic movement with therapeutic releases, Emilie’s classes will empower you to practice the activities you love with awareness and joy.

NeuroKinetic Therapy: A Powerful Tool in Your Therapeutic Arsenal

  1. Julie says:

    I do not really know very much about NeuroKinetic Therapy, but it certainly sounds very interesting. I like the idea of using testing to determine why the client/student is experiencing a faulty movement pattern. It’s also exciting to be able to incorporate the Yoga Tune Up balls to release the facilitated muscle, and the Yoga Tune Up movements to awaken the muscle the muscle that was being inhibited in order to address the faulty movement pattern, and create a new improved “normal”. Thanks for writing this article.

  2. Janelle Schiavi says:

    Thank you for sharing. I love how the instruction to use your intuition is brought to light. Following certain guidelines of course is mandatory but to really feel and investigate where the muscle connections are in your body. Let the body speak to you.

  3. Sally says:

    Very interesting blog article and very thought provoking. I am new to Yoga Tune Up, and come with an open mind to discovering tools and techniques to help identify sources of dysfunctional movement and improve or correct them. NKT sounds fascinating and full of synergies with YTU. I will probably explore it as an expansion to the YTU training over time. Thanks very much for sharing!

  4. Mimi says:

    Thank you Emily for this article. It just confirm even more that i made the right choice to do my NKT level in few weeks ! I am soo much looking forward to this!

  5. Yvonne says:

    Emilie, I absolutely loved your blog. I have not heard of NKT but after reading your article, I will certainly delve deeper. YTU and NKT appear to be a match made in heaven.Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  6. Martine Kerr says:

    I am fortunate that YTU brought Emilie and I together – as we both live in Dubai. And I’ve also experienced some of the NKT magic from Keith Littlewood, my ‘voodoo’ guy. I love the idea of targeting my self-care work. As an active Strength coach, I do ask a lot of my body…sometime too much as my tissues periodically respond with a vengeance. The whole NKT approach to scanning for imbalances in sometimes unexpected couples is a great way to keep things in check. Find, release and activate. I’m looking forward to taking the course myself!

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