The St. John Method of Neuromuscular Therapy was developed by Paul St. John. It is based on research about identifying the fundamental causes of pain. The techniques are supported by scientific, neurological laws that explain how the central nervous system initiates pain responses in the body. By understanding how pain originates and by being able to locate the source of pain in the body, St. John Neuromuscular Therapists treat the cause of pain (primarily musculoskeletal dysfunction), not only providing relief but also allowing the body to return to balance.
The St. John Method of NMT identifies five sources of pain. These are the five principles to NMT:
Postural Distortion, or muscular contraction, occurs when there is an imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting from movement of the body off the coronal, midsagital, or horizontal planes. When the body tries to compensate in an effort to maintain structural balance, muscle contraction, body distortion, and pain result. For example, lower limb-length inequality can cause a tilted pelvis, which usually results in a compensatory scoliosis that is maintained by sustained muscular effort.
Biomechanical Dysfunction is an imbalance of the musculoskeletal system resulting in faulty movement patterns. Repetitive strain of certain soft tissue results in adapted movement patterns that become muscular "habits", and must be reeducated.
Trigger Points occur when nerves fire impulses at a rapid speed into an area of the body other than the site of trauma. Because of trigger points, the cause of serious pain may often be far from the actual site of the pain. This, in turn, inhibits proper blood flow, which causes ischemia and often leads to more pain and discomfort.
Nerve Compression and Entrapment are pressure on a nerve by bone, cartilage, or soft tissue. The role of the soft tissues in nerve compression is vital. Failure to treat the associated soft tissue often treats the symptom without eliminating the cause of the pain. Nerve entrapment is the most common type of pain and always causes ischemia. Ignored, it can produce associated trigger points.
Ischemia is a lack of blood supply to the soft tissues, which causes them to be very sensitive touch.