The place to find holistic information about your health

What Exactly is Neurokinetic Therapy?

Chiropractor Dr. Emily Kiberd practicing NKT

Neurokinetic Therapy (NKT), is an advanced therapeutic system to help your body heal by teaching it to unlearn movements and muscle functions it’s become attached to. Created by massage therapist David Weinstock, this muscle testing technique uses touch and pressure to retrain movement patterns and muscle memory stored in the brain. It is a good holistic therapy alternative for pain relief.

A system of precise muscle tests helps us identify where in a movement pattern the root cause of pain is located. It can reveal faulty muscle and movement memories your brain has stored away in the Motor Control Center (MCC) of your cerebellum. The MCC coordinates all the movement patterns in your body. And just like we humans, it learns through failure.
What exactly does that mean?

Neurokinetic Therapy can “reprogram” your brain. And more often than not, when other treatments have failed and your pain is “mysterious,” NKT is the missing link to bring you pain relief. Not convinced?

How does Neurokinetic Therapy work?

Neurokinetic Therapy is based on the following premise: When an injury occurs, certain muscles shut down or weaken, forcing other muscles to overwork and overcompensate. This can cause tightness and pain in the body.

NKT is all about hands-on muscle testing, which allows us to quickly diagnose the causes of your over-compensations. We test your body’s reactions to different movements, stances, and pressure. A practitioner will apply light pressure and ask you to resist, in order to evaluate the strength or weakness of each muscle and see where an injury comes from.
When a muscle is weak, the MCC understands this as a failure and opens up to new learning. The question is, will your MCC learn a new pattern to heal you, or end up causing you more pain?

Think about it: After an injury, your MCC chooses the path of least resistance (your most successful repeat attempts at optimal movement). The most effective learning-by-repetition happens when you fail. Like a baby learning to walk but falling down over and over, so the MCC learns and adapts to your compensation pattern and holds it in its memory forever and ever—unless it can be convinced to change. That’s where we come in.

The great news is this: old dogs can learn new tricks. This “failure” is the perfect opportunity for the Neurokinetic Therapy protocol to reprogram you at the neural level. Correcting these dysfunctional patterns is fundamental to successful healing.

What is a Neurokinetic Therapy session like?

We ask you to breathe out and meet the resistance as we gently push on your leg. For the first half-second, the muscles your body remembers how to use meet our light touch. It may seem weird at first but we only ask your body to respond in ways it knows how.

As you lay there with your heels pressing down on the table, we check just one of your deep core muscles, yet you may feel all the muscles in your neck begin to fire. This tells us your neck muscles are overworking because your core isn’t firing as efficiently as it should. This may be due to hunching at your desk all day, jutting your chin, and using your accessory neck muscles to breathe instead of your diaphragm.

Whatever the reason, we’re not trying to find weaknesses to make you feel down about yourself, but rather to find compensations, retrain them, and get your body firing in all the right places. These compensations can lay dormant for years and raise their ugly head as they transform into chronic pain brought on by an injury, trauma, or overuse.

The body moves in patterns and we use these muscle tests to tell us where to look for the root cause of your pain. We review your present and past injuries, delve deep into your movement patterns, discover the weak points knocking you off-balance, and reveal the real causes of your pain. You can expect a set of integrative exercises personalized to your unique needs.

And—because stretching and massaging gets all the glamour while essential strengthening and stabilizing is often neglected, we take it to the next level, fully integrating your treatment with practical functional movements (a deadlift can do wonders, friends)!

A UWC Case Study

We see so many hard-working New Yorkers at the clinic. You know, the fast-paced, closing big deals, climbing the corporate ladder types who are sitting in their desk chairs for nearly 12 hours a day? As much as we enjoy reaching personal and professional goals, it can come at a price and that price is our health.

We recently saw a patient come in with paperwork that was marked with dull and achy pain all along the upper back, shoulders and neck. The intake revealed that headaches were experienced daily and that work was being done between a laptop and two large desktop monitors. Twelve-hour workdays, lack of movement throughout the day, and constantly looking at the computer screens was putting stress on this individual in so many ways.

During the intake, this gentleman was sitting with shoulders hunched forward, a rounded upper back and his neck protruding outward. This posture is known as Upper Cross Syndrome (aka, desk neck or student’s neck). As a way to drive treatment that is specific to this individual, NKT testing was performed.

The suboccipital muscles, a group of small muscles that sit at the base of the skull and connect our head and neck, were found to be overworking for the deep core muscles that help us breathe. The upper trapezius muscle overworking for the middle trapezius muscle on both sides, as seen with his shoulders being pulled forward and feeling very tight. We also found the Pectoralis muscles overworking for the latissimus dorsi, which came from reaching forward and leaning into the keyboard.

All of the overworking muscles were tight and tender to the touch. In this case, they were weak and tight and needed to be released. The muscles they were tested against needed to be strengthened. For example, we used Active Release Technique for the suboccipital muscles at the neck, which was also the driving force for the daily headaches, and began training core breath using DNS, which would ultimately lead to a stronger core and better posture overall.

After just 2 visits, there was a reduction in headaches, less pain and tenderness into the shoulders and upper back at the end of the workday, and overall improvement to daily energy and sleep.

Although desk jobs that require long hours of work are not uncommon, NKT can help find the specific compensating muscles in the body and help us drive a specific treatment plan for you. What’s more, Urban Wellness Clinic is one of the very few clinics with Level 3 Neurokinetic Therapy practitioners in NYC, so you can expect the very best from us!

Tried everything but old injuries still nagging? Get assessed! We’re here to help. Call us at 212-355-0445 or send over an email

Best in health,

Dr Emily Kiberd