Dermoneuromodulation: Beyond Muscles and Joints

Dermoneuromodulation (DNM) is an innovative manual therapy technique for addressing pain and movement impediment, born from an understanding of modern neurophysiology. Dermo refers to the skin, neuro refers to the nervous system, and modulation means change. In other words, using the skin to affect the nervous system to produce change. This method of handling the body is intelligent in that it places a high significance on how our bodies are organized in receiving, discerning, and evaluating information and also on which system is most responsible for orchestrating change. DNM recognizes the role of our nervous system, targets the vast array of touch-receptors in the skin (about 6 yards of nerve receptors per square inch of skin), and uses a specific type of input conducive to working with the brain to make changes.

DNM technique is not painful and generally involves light to moderate pressure applied either directly to the skin or through loose clothing to the targeted area for between 2 – 5 minutes. It is common to begin near the root of the nerve and work along its course to the area we want to affect. Positioning is also used to access certain nerves more effectively.

The client takes an active role in this treatment, guiding the therapist’s hands to find the right combination of positioning and application of skin stretch, as subtle changes can make profound differences.

Clients report a wide variety of sensations, often: warmth, softening, lengthening, movement, tingling, or relief, which tend to fluctuate as the stretch is applied. There is often a surprised remark about how such a seemingly small amount of bodywork can create such a significant difference. This is the elegance of DNM, utilizing neuroscience to work smarter, instead of harder.

Who can benefit most from DNM?

Dermoneuromodulation is an effective, non-invasive method of manual therapy suited for a wide variety of individuals. Because it uses light to moderate touch applied to the skin, this can be an ideal technique for individuals looking for pain relief who:

  • can not tolerate heavy pressure, due to:
    • personal preference
    • medical reasons, for example:
      • Osteoporosis
      • Cancer
      • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • are experiencing an issue in which the area is highly sensitive and may be easily aggravated, worsening symptoms, similar to those seen in:
    • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
    • Peripheral Neuropathy
    • Arthritic conditions
    • Post-surgical pain
  • have received other interventions and found relief to be
    • hit-and-miss
    • fleeting

It is worth noting that DNM is not intended to cure any of the above conditions, as they are all complex. This list highlights specific populations for whom this style of work may be optimal for symptom relief or as a part of a larger holistic and/or medical team providing treatment.

Our skin is one of the most under-appreciated organs of the body; it protects us from foreign invaders, helps regulate body temperature and possesses a profound amount of sensors, providing a highway to the brain. In DNM, we utilize the evolving knowledge base of neuroscience, effectively working smarter instead of harder to catalyze change.

Read more about DNM: (includes a directory of therapists around the world who have trained in this work)

This guest post contributed by Bryan Nocera, CMT, ANMT (Advanced Neuromuscular Massage Therapist) at Silicon Valley Massage Therapy Group. Bryan is available for DNM sessions in the SF Bay Area.