What is it?
The Neil Asher Technique (NAT) is a scientifically proven treatment to help drastically reduce the duration of frozen shoulder. It was established in 1999 by osteopath Simeon Niel-Asher who pioneered this highly specialised course of treatment through many years of experience and fine-tuning based on an expert knowledge of anatomy, physiology and neurology.
How does it work?
NAT involves the use of deep strokes and compression techniques on specific trigger points which are highly painful spots of fibrotic tissue within the muscle. Stimulation of these inputs into the nervous system helps to achieve a desensitisation. The technique itself involves following a very specific sequence and the process is repeated consecutively within the appointment to achieve the desired effect.
NAT was developed to treat frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis. In patients with frozen shoulder it has been found that every single person presents with the same distribution of trigger points. By manipulating these trigger points in a sequence, it was discovered that patients’ long-standing frozen shoulder would rapidly ‘defrost’ thanks to a neurological reflex process.
Research into this was conducted at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge (Weis et al. 2003). The results concluded that patients with long-standing shoulder pain and weakness treated with NAT showed a significant improvement in active range of motion, strength and power; this in comparison with both standard physical therapy and a hands-on placebo, even though no exercises were prescribed in the NAT group.
Further Use of NAT
Whilst frozen shoulder is where NAT is most commonly deployed, this is not the only area of the body or condition it can be helpful for. The technique can be used to reinvigorate and release protective joint postures or spasms around certain joints such as:
- an arthritic hip
- the lower back
- the pelvis
- plus a wide range of other musculoskeletal conditions
During the 2012 London Olympics, NAT was successfully used by physical therapists for members of the Australian and Canadian teams. Now over 40,000 therapists use NAT worldwide, including myself.
There are two pricing options when booking the NAT:
- You can either book on an individual pay-as-you-go basis. Or…
- You can bulk book five, ten or twenty sessions for a discounted rate. Included in the price, you will receive a free tube of Biofreeze pain relieving gel – 118mL (RRP £10) and a free frozen shoulder exercise programme booklet derived from the NAT experts (worth £23).
Everyone presents at a slightly different stage of the condition, whether it’s the ‘pre-freezing, freezing, frozen or defrosting’ stage so it is difficult to gauge exactly how long the recovery will be and how many sessions are required, but here is a rough idea of what to expect, depending what stage you are at:
|Pre-Freezing (0-4 weeks)||1-5 Sessions|
|Freezing (1-8 months)||7-13 Sessions|
|Frozen (9-16 months)||5-8 Sessions|
|Thawing (12-40 months)||4-7 Sessions|
As you can see, frozen shoulder has no quick fix but the NAT can help to accelerate the condition through its process.